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BWW Blog: 5 Tony Award Categories to Consider

Here are 5 new categories that I insist the American Theatre Wing must consider adding to the Tony Awards. 

The Tony Awards are a night of celebrating the American theatre industry. Despite this fact, many theatrical areas are overlooked and deserve nominations in a prestigious awards ceremony. It is a thrill to see stars get rewarded for their hard work, but what about the Broadway debuts, ensembles, and understudies? Having additional categories wouldn't even extend the running time of the Tony Awards since many awards are presented offscreen. There is simply no reason not to expand the list of awards. Here are 5 new categories that I insist the American Theatre Wing must consider adding to the Tony Awards.

1. Best Ensemble

What would a large scale Broadway musical be without an ensemble? Ensembles are essential to creating a choral sound, big dance numbers, and realistic scenes. Ensemble members work just as hard as performers in leading roles, and they are constantly singing and dancing without a break. Ensembles are just as important as leads, so it is time to reward them.

2. Best Swing

Undoubtedly, swings have the hardest roles in any show. They have multiple tracks and may not know which track they are performing on a given day until they get to the theatre. Being able to keep track of so many different vocal parts, dance numbers, and blocking notes can be a mental overload. I don't know how swings do it, but they must receive Tony Awards for their work.

3. Best Understudy or Standby

A performer may never take on the role they understudy, and a standby may never perform in a show during its entire run. However, if an actor in a leading role gets sick or injured, an understudy or standby swoops in to save the day. The show quite literally could not go on without understudies and standbys. If they are the heroes of theatre, then why do they not have a Tony category?

4. Best Song

Although there is an award for best original score, there is not one for best song. Some musicals have songs that become the show tune of the season, but their entire score is not nearly as strong as the one song. This category would provide an opportunity for musicians and composers to gain recognition which would increase the chance they are asked to work on another project.

5. Best Broadway Debut

Getting casted on Broadway once is hard enough, let alone getting casted again. Having a Tony Award for best Broadway debut would propel the careers of up and coming performers.

However, if a performer is nominated for another category, then they should not be nominated for this one too in order to ensure wider recognition of the theatre industry.

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