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Give The Tony's Back To Broadway

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MamasDoin'Fine
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Give The Tony's Back To Broadway#1
Posted: 6/23/10 at 9:17pm
Much has been said about the way the Tony Awards have been getting more and more commercialized in the last number of years and after this years fiasco it seems that maybe the tide may just be turning.

The first good news is that the Tony Awards wil not be staged at Radio City Music Hall next year and that a Broadway theatre is where they may well be staged again for the first time in 10 years.

In the 10 days since this year's Tony Awards ceremony, a revolt has been growing and getting stronger.

Established in 1947 to honor the best work on Broadway, the awards are
vital to New York's billion-dollar theater industry. But the sense is
growing that the Tonys aren't going to the most deserving artists, but
simply to those who generate the most cash.

This year, in a way never witnessed before, the surest ways to win a Tony Award were to be a big Hollywood "name" and/or be in a commercial hit. These same complaints voiced over and over, at parties, at theatrical hangouts, on social networking and theater chat sites.

At the jazz club Birdland, Linda Lavin (a Tony nominee for her work in the play "Collected Stories") was invited up to do a number on the day after the awards show. Before singing, she vented at length about theTonys, bemoaning the way they're become big and commercial ("like the Grammys"), focusing on celebrity rather than artistic talent.

She may have a point. Denzel Washington won the Tony for "Best Actor in a Play" ("Fences"). But the Drama Desk Awards reflect the consensus of theater critics. And Washington not only didn't win for "Best Actor" (Liev Schreiber did, for "A View from the Bridge"), he wasn't even nominated.

So how did Washington wind up winning the Tony?
In the last year, the theater critics and journalists (about 100 in all) were removed from the 800-person pool of Tony voters. That gives more weight to producers,
road show presenters and publicists, who likely think more in terms of commercial success (or may have vested interests), rather than just artistic merit.

Which may help explain why Catherine Zeta-Jones, with her big name from films, won the Tony for "Best Actress in a Musical" (for "A Little Night Music") even though the Drama Desk voters gave it to both her and Montego Glover (for "Memphis").

And heaven help you if you gave a brilliant performance in a production that flopped. The Drama Desk Award , whose awards are given strictly for artistic merit, not box office success, honored Santino Fontana as "Best Actor in a Play," for his work in "Brighton Beach Memoirs." But the production closed after just nine performances, and he didn't get even a nomination for the Tony. Indeed, not a single Tony Award this year went to a performer in a flop.

Last Thursday, Broadway star Hunter Foster created a Facebook page called "Give the Tony's Back to Broadway." In just a few days, that page has already attracted 7,000 plus members. Broadway star Meredith Patterson wrote on the page that this year, for the first time ever, the Tonys left her feeling sad. Many felt the same way.

If they want to restore the Tonys' credibility, the American Theatre Wing and the Broadway League should go back to the old system thatworked well for decades, and restore the theater critics and journalists as Tony voters.


Updated On: 6/23/10 at 09:17 PM
Princeton2
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Give The Tony's Back To Broadway#2
Posted: 6/24/10 at 2:50am
Ugh this is a load of crap. Why should actors be pigeon holed into one art form or another, they are ACTORS, and from everything I can tell they deserve their awards. If Broadway actors suddenly broke Hollywood would they be complaining? (well probably yes seeing how Matthew Morrison is apparantely a 'sell out' for doing Glee). Work is work, and actors should want to do more than one medium. The thought that film actors should not do Broadway just because they are probably more famous, and awards should only go to people who stay on Broadway is ridiculous. Someone better go and grab Angela Lansburys tony from last year off her as she has done TV AND Hollywood dont you know! Shocking!!
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Give The Tony's Back To Broadway#2
Posted: 6/24/10 at 4:05am
i've argued this so much since this all came about, and nowhere have a i seen a more classy, intelligent response than from Scarlett Johanson herself...


"You know, I pounded the pavement for years and I know what it's like to struggle as an actor. A lot of it is luck and, certainly, a lot of it is opportunity - and the lack of that. So, I totally understand the frustration there. There's not much else that I can say about it, really…I mean, I am very sympathetic to that. I totally understand it. A lot of my friends who are struggling actors are going through the same thing. But, I can't apologize for it. I have worked my ass off to get to where I am so I understand that struggle. For me, it's more about hiring the right person for the job. You know, who fits that description. If somebody is cast because they are a name but they're not right for the job, well, it's very frustrating. I see that. As an actor, you're trying to get one foot in the door all the time. It's the most competitive and challenging, one of the most competitive, though, for sure…

I thought more about your question and would like to add that the actors we've seen this season that we recognize from film - Denzel Washington, Viola Davis, Liev Schreiber and Catherine Zeta-Jones, etc. - have not only made a huge impact on ticket sales but have given tour de force performances and all started their careers as stage actors, dedicating themselves to making an impression in the theater. This goes to show that actors are actors, whatever the outlet, and with perseverance and drive, can cross the boundaries of the medium. In VIEW, I had the privilege of working opposite Morgan Spector, a relatively unknown actor who gave a luminous, educated performance as 'Rodolpho'. Greg Mosher could've had his pick of recognizable film actors who would've jumped at the opportunity to fill the part, but he saw something worth pursuing in Morgan and our production was the better for it."
"Rock Of Ages is about as original as gay men at a clap clinic" - SANDM2
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Give The Tony's Back To Broadway#3
Posted: 6/24/10 at 5:51am
I've no problem with movie stars performing on Broadway and winning Tonys if their performances merit an award. But the issue of "giving the Tonys back to Broadway" is not about whether or not movie stars perform - it's about whether theatre critics etc should have their Tony voting rights restored. Surely to have a credible awards system the people voting should be drawn from the widest spectrum possible, not just producers etc. So Hunter Foster et al are perfectly right in their campaign to re-establish a more broad-based Tony voting panel. If a big movie star gives a stunning performance, they can still win an award.

Also, the Tonys should take a leaf from the Olivier award book, where a percentage of the voting panel is drawn from members of the theatre-going public.
THEATRE 2019: ASPECTS OF LOVE**** FRANKENSTEIN (Paris)**** AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE**** COMPANY***** [title of show]**** CAN CAN*** THE CEREAL CAFE**** BAD GIRLS**** RAGS***** LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE***** FOLLIES***** ROMANCE ROMANCE**** THE MARVELOUS WONDERETTES*** LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE***** QUEEN OF THE MIST**** SIX** THE PRICE***** MAGGIE MAY **** CALENDAR GIRLS** MAN OF LA MANCHA**** WAITRESS***** FANNY AND STELLA***
Updated On: 6/24/10 at 05:51 AM
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Give The Tony's Back To Broadway#4
Posted: 6/24/10 at 6:11am
Im on that facebook group fighting tooth and nail against the silly group. An actor is an actor no matter if you are on stage, TV and Film.

Everyone on there insults CZJ, Scarlett, Denzel etc. These actors walked away with rave reviews and have ALL done theatre before. Hunter Foster is an idiot who only started this whole group when his wife was told she could not walk the red carpet.

Check out my What's on Stage article about the whole silly thing and feel free to comment under it like some of the Broadway Board have x

http://www.whatsonstage.com/blog/theatre/northwest/E8831277137355/Give+Us+Back+The+Spotlight.html
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Give The Tony's Back To Broadway#5
Posted: 6/24/10 at 7:36am
I agree with what is written above, was it just fortuitous that the three best acting awards went to people who happen to be big on the silver screen and who's shows are still playing on Broadway or am I being cynical? If these people stood out as the best acting on Broadway for 2009-10 season well congratulations you deserve your Tony, however if there is self interest from producers to highlight these names, to put bums on seats that is a outrageous abuse of the voting system

However what I just typed I am not really qualified to answer, because I have not seen Denzel Washington, Viola Davis or Scarlett Johansson, however I was a little surprised but expected Catherine Zeta Jones, to scoopthe Tony, as I thought Montego Glover was pretty superb, but that is just a observation and not a grumble on my part.

SADM loved your article, surprised you typed the whole spread without saying American Idiot was robbed. lol x
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Give The Tony's Back To Broadway#6
Posted: 6/24/10 at 8:03am
I find it pretty awkward to comment. Obviously not seeing the performances makes me a knob if i try and sway the arguemnt either way. However i don't agree that just because they've acted in films their should be any ill feeling towards the results of the awards. I mean, no one would be mouthing off if Ian McKellan had won this year along with Judi Dench for example. Granted they are reknowned for their theatre skills but give these guys a chance. Remember Scarlet is only 24 and she has the potential to have a great career (personally i'm not fond of her but that doesn't deter from the point she has a talent!) Just because someone is from hollywood doesn't mean they can't act (unless it's a teen star but that's a whole different can of worms!)
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Give The Tony's Back To Broadway#7
Posted: 6/24/10 at 9:34am
There is much that is wrong with the Tony's at present. As of last year critics weren't
invited to nominate/vote thereby allowing the nominating committee to be made up almost exclusively of theatre owners/ producers. The bulk of this group represent the touring theatre houses so when it comes to "Best Production" or "Best Revival" they vote for the show they think will play best in their markets. Yes, there does seem to be nominating bias toward movie star names who sell seats irrespective of their performance over those that get critical acclaim.

This years awards show had to be the worst in years. I recorded it but haven't even re-viewed it. This could also be part of the reason that there is a "Give The Tony's Back To Broadway" movement. Poor ratings and a lousey show...someone has to be blamed. Based on the the Tony Awards Show I say YES, please give the Tonys back
to Broadway...by way of bringing back the critics/columnists to the nominating/voting committee.
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Give The Tony's Back To Broadway#8
Posted: 6/24/10 at 9:47am
I agree the critics getting shut out was silly

I think this years Tony's were pretty bad but i think much of that had to do with a lousy season more than anything else. I also dont like the fact so many awards are not given out on the telecast and that AGAIN the sound was horrid.

Hunter's camapign this is beyond silly, when he first did it the night of the Tonys the description of the group was very different. He was p****d because he thought to many celebs were there. He went as far as insulting CZJ as did Chris Sieber and a few others on their facebook (she was accused of 'Buying' her Tony which is beyond stupid)

But yes the Tony awards do need re looking at, but celebs are not the problem.

Also Scarlett, Washington, Jones ALL have some history in theatre
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Give The Tony's Back To Broadway#9
Posted: 6/24/10 at 10:09am
But probably not what theatre critics would have voted for as the best performances of the season. You have to admit that her (CZJ's) Send In The Clowns was pretty dire. Not being on Facebook I'm not privy to just what has been said so I'm reading all these comments here.
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Give The Tony's Back To Broadway#10
Posted: 6/24/10 at 10:24am
I think her rendition of it on the Tony's was a mess, not in the actual show though.

I would not say she deserved it or she did not desevre it, to be honest it was a pretty weak line up of female performers this year.

I think people will always think that someone does not deserve an award they got, it happens every year, nearly every year i disagree with one award or another given out. I think though because its celebs that have won a lot this year people are making a bigger deal out of it than it should be.
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Give The Tony's Back To Broadway#11
Posted: 6/25/10 at 10:56am
I have joined the group in question and support it in the most. I have no problem with the award winners, if someone won, they obviously deserved it, my problem, and the reason I joined is the commercialisation of the evening. The awards are simply in place to attract good viewing figures, not to celebrate Broadway at its best! The thing that really pushed me to breaking was performances by Green Day, let there show's cast perform, but I dont wanna see a theatre awards ceremony turned into a "rock" concert... SORT IT OUT THEATRE WING!
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Give The Tony's Back To Broadway#12
Posted: 6/25/10 at 1:01pm
The cast of American Idiot did perform on their own AND with the band. The show got loads of coverage on the Tonys. Without some of the commercial aspects of the broadcast (which make up VERY little of the total broadcast), the networks may not pick it up at all. If the only representation of American Idiot had been the Green Day appearance, then I could understand the frustration, but that simply wasn't the case. If you if you count Green Day, who have a musical on Broadway, the total time devoted to the Tony broadcast, excluding commercials, of non-Broadway related personae is roughly 7%. Is that what is considered "taking the Tonys from Broadway"? Mountains and molehills, I think.
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Give The Tony's Back To Broadway#13
Posted: 6/25/10 at 1:43pm
Conairs

you are missing the point
You cant scream let the other shows perform when the shows that did not perform like Addams, Finians etc were all Asked and DECLINED.

greeday also gave the awards some publicity, the show dies a death on Americas CBS so if they try to do something to make it more commercial then good on them, after all the Tony Awards are pretty much all about getting people to Broadway, its one big advert.
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Give The Tony's Back To Broadway#14
Posted: 6/25/10 at 6:47pm
If only the Olivier Awards could be so guilty of commercialism and actually let the theatre paying public see the awards show on TV!!! There is certainly much to ciriticise about the Tonys but the fact that the show tries to advertise and "sell" Broadway shows via TV airtime is surely a plus. Anything that draws people into a theatre has to be a good thing, whatever its other faults may be.
THEATRE 2019: ASPECTS OF LOVE**** FRANKENSTEIN (Paris)**** AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE**** COMPANY***** [title of show]**** CAN CAN*** THE CEREAL CAFE**** BAD GIRLS**** RAGS***** LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE***** FOLLIES***** ROMANCE ROMANCE**** THE MARVELOUS WONDERETTES*** LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE***** QUEEN OF THE MIST**** SIX** THE PRICE***** MAGGIE MAY **** CALENDAR GIRLS** MAN OF LA MANCHA**** WAITRESS***** FANNY AND STELLA***
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Give The Tony's Back To Broadway#15
Posted: 6/25/10 at 7:41pm
The Olivier Awards, gave the majority of there awards to shows that have already closed, (no argument from me there) but how very bloody British, could you imagine The Tony going to Ragtime, Finians Rainbow, Steady Rain (inclusive of major A list stars), Superior Donuts and Wishful Drinking, course not, why promote a show, no matter how good it is, that aint going to make another dime!
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Give The Tony's Back To Broadway#16
Posted: 6/25/10 at 7:51pm
I think my problem, is I LOVE the Olivier Awards, I think it's fantastic we have an award which truly celebrates theatre and nothing else, I suppose deep down I just think the Tony Awards should be like that!
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Give The Tony's Back To Broadway#17
Posted: 6/25/10 at 10:04pm
^ 101% agree with that statement.

My only 2 issues with the Olivier Awards are;

1, It is not broadcast , even though we have many television channels.

2, The award structure of the Olivier's, prefer the Tony's in this respect, as Play and musical are divorced, as they should be as they are 2 separate genres.