Saturday, June 18, 2016

Sour Note: Being Only a Tony Nominee Is Often Hazardous to the Health of Musicals

Ana VillafaƱe and company in "On Your Feet!" Photo by Matthew Murphy.


I admit it. I was wrong
Hamilton came on very strong

Not seven

Statuettes for lighting,
Orchestrations and fighting

Cast and Lin
All win

"Hamilton" - sixteen nods, eleven wins - trails
"The Producers& - winning twelve - still prevails

Its twelve wins no one has topped
But in ticket sales Ham can't be stopped

Try and get a ticket to see it, now - no!
That's OK, it'll be there when you do go ...

IT'S an annual ritual at The Wright Wreport. I flail, guessing who the winners will be at &The Tony Awards." I am often wrong, and occasionally right.(

Congratulations, for instance, to "She Loves Me"for best sets designed by David Rockwell.

But the business of Tony is a double-edged sword. The awards attracts audiences - "Hamilton," it might be pointed out, did not need the boost-:and those shows not getting an award are dubbed Tony losers. Of course, a Tony nominee is not a loser, but a loss ... well you know.

It is in the musical category that productions are particularly vulnerable. (Plays are on their own timetable; very rarely would one last even 500 performances, although it may find a revival every few years.)

Not every musical is as resilient as "Something Rotten!," which chugs along with only the one Tony winner, Christian Borle, in its cast. From this year's crop, "On Your Feet!, the Emilio and Gloria Estefan musical, has its own special appeal and is selling tickets through next April.

"American Psycho The Musical" succumbed before awards night. The luminous "Bright Star" closes on 26 June. "Shuffle Along, or the Making of the Broadway Sensation of 1921, and all that Followed" shutters soon, too.

Since I mentioned plays aka non-musical ones earlier, it is good to remember that "Eclipsed" might have had a longer run had it gotten more love from Tony. "The Father," which won a Tony for Frank Langella's star turn, closed on schedule on Father's Day.

"The Humans", this year's best play, will stay open at least through the end of the year.

What can the Tonys do to help Broadway more? Should we all ease up a little on thinking of a Tony win as the pinnacle of a production's success? In other, maybe Tony should matter less and the play be the thing ...

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