Duh Alert: Road Voters Confirm Tour Potential as Voting Factor

by Robert Diamond


Our general inbox has been getting slammed today with copies of an article in today's The New York Times which talks about the success that not-entirely-successful Broadway shows like THE ADDAMS FAMILY are now having on the road, with that show for example earning $995,000 in Buffalo last week. 

In fact, that city is considered to have one of the highest margins for touring shows, the market for which is as large across the country as Broadway itself. 

The article delves into a thorny issue though, the long-held belief that road presenters, who make up at least 15 percent of Tony voters often vote with their wallets as well as their hearts. Here's what the article has to say:

Several of these road presenters said in interviews that touring potential was a factor in their Tony votes, but noted that they voted chiefly on artistic merit.

"I'm a human being, so to say how a show would play in Cleveland is not a factor in Tony voting would not be true," said Gina Vernaci, vice president of theatricals at Cleveland PlayhouseSquare, another prime destination for tours. "But Cleveland wants quality shows, artistically compelling shows, enjoyable shows, as much as New Yorkers."

Mr. Conte, a former banker in Buffalo and Shea's board member who became president of the theater in 2000, recalled admiring the Broadway show "Spring Awakening" but voted for "Mary Poppins" instead for best musical that year. He said "the tough love story," flashes of nudity, and dark themes of "Spring Awakening" were "not my thing," and he also did not envision the show as appealing to his subscribers. "Spring Awakening" went on to win the Tony for best musical; the show's national tour had a brief run at the University of Buffalo, but not at Shea's.

So, are they voting with their hearts, wallets, or both? Those interviewed for the article, seem to be striking as close to the right balance as possible -- what do you think about the rest?


The 2001 Syracuse University graduate (School of Information Studies) is also the owner of Wisdom Digital Media, an award-winning leading design company for entertainment and technology web sites. In his previous life, he held an executive position for the world's leading publisher of technology magazines, web sites and conferences and, as a result, was named among the "Top thirty magazine industry executives under the age of 30" by FOLIO Magazine. Robert Diamond founded BroadwayWorld.com in 2003, which has now become the largest theatre web site in the world. He also serves as the site's Editor-in-Chief, covering Broadway and beyond, with specific local coverage for 100 cities in the United States, 35 countries worldwide and 10 other related areas of entertainment - including dance, opera, concerts, comedy, films, television and more.