An Opinion Piece: Tony Predictions 2016

As we say, it’s only one person’s opinion, and a few categories are going to take each other to task, but there are still some things that we can probably say for certain.

Hamilton broke records left and right this season, including the 16 nominations it got from the award committee. I think the show will definitely dominate the majority of categories, but I’m not sure if it will go for a clean sweep like I’ve seen a lot of people say.

As far as shows with multiple nominees in the same categories, I feel Hamilton may surprise us and see Leslie Odom Jr. go home with the Best Leading Actor award, and Best Featured Actor is a toss up.

Noises Off I think will see the Best Featured Actress award go home with Megan Hilty, as Andrea Martin is still a newcomer and Hilty has been a favorite in recent years.

A View From The Bridge might pull off all tech awards it was nominated for, and The Crucible may pull in an acting nod for Sophie Okonedo, but A View will win more out of the two of them.

I predict Eclipsed getting a lot of attention as well, for both technical and acting, although I’m unsure about whether or not Liesl Tommy will come home with the Best Direction award. Both A View From The Bridge and Long Day’s Journey Into Night have been reviewed really favorably in that direction.



I get the feeling that the opening number is going to feature riffs on James Corden shows and will most definitely poke fun at the Into The Woods movie. Host Neil Patrick Harris hadn’t starred in Hedwig by the time that he hosted, and last year saw ribbing of Kristin Chenoweth’s time in Wicked, so I think his roles are also fair game. The ceremony did the same with the Les Miserables movie a few years ago, and as someone who didn’t care for the Into The Woods movie, I’m looking forward to some laughs.

With the American Theatre Wing’s push for the recognition of diversity this season, I think onversations on the red carpet and off are going to focus heavily on diversity across all spectrums, though some conversation about “Tony can you hear me” may come up as another year passes without the sound awards.


Best: Eclipsed
Best Revival: Long Day’s Journey Into Night
Best Actor Leading: Mark Strong (A View From The Bridge)
Best Actor Feature: Reed Birney (The Humans)
Best Actress Leading: Jessica Lange (Long Day’s Journey Into Night)
Best Actress Feature: Pascale Armand (Eclipsed)
Best Direction: Liesl Tommy (Eclipsed)
Best Scenic Design: Jan Versweyveld (A View From The Bridge)
Best Lighting Design: Jan Versweyveld (The Crucible)
Best Costume Design: Clint Ramos (Eclipsed)



Best: Hamilton
Best Revival: The Color Purple
Best Actor Leading: Leslie Odom Jr.
Best Actor Feature: Daveed Diggs (Hamilton)
Best Actress Leading: Jessie Meuller (Waitress)
Best Actress Feature: Danielle Brooks (The Color Purple)
Best Direction: Michael Arden (Spring Awakening)
Best Book: Shuffle Along (George C. Wolfe)
Best Original Score: Hamilton (Lin-Manuel Miranda)
Best Scenic Design: Es Devlin and Finn Ross (American Psycho)
Best Lighting Design: Howell Binkley (Hamilton)
Best Costume Design: Ann Roth (Shuffle Along)
Best Choreography: Savion Glover (Shuffle Along)
Best Orchestrations: Alex Lacamoire (Hamilton)


Tony Awards Rules Round-up

With the Tony Nominations Ceremony just around the corner (broadcast tomorrow!), it’s now time to dive into how it becomes possible for a show to be nominated. Ever wondered what classifies a show as “being on Broadway”? How about what qualifies a person to be on the voting committee? We’ve got it covered here.



Rules: New Play or Musical

For this award, a new play or musical is considered one that hasn’t previously been produced on Broadway and isn’t determined to be “classic” (in the historical repertoire). This decision is made by the Tony Admin. Committee, who were discussed in our previous post. proj-shufflealongThe “classics” rule was decided on in 2002, and says that shows transferred from Off-Broadway or the West End are eligible as “new”, as are productions based closely on films or books. This is certainly the case this season, where many shows, including School of Rock, Misery, and Tuck Everlasting, are all based off of priorly published material.

This rule has been the subject of some controversy, as some feel that allowing plays and musicals that have been frequently produced to be eligible as “new” gives them an unfair advantage, because they are more familiar with the Tony voters. On this flip side of this in the current season is Shuffle Along, which although based on the 1921 show of the same name, features a plot about the production of the original show, as well the legacy the show had in the theatre world.



There are approximately 868 eligible Tony Award voters, which is a number that changes slightly from year to year.


Eligible Tony voters include the board of directors and designated members of the American Theatre Wing, members of the Actors’ Equity Association, the Dramatists Guild, the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers, United Scenic Artists, and the Association of Theatrical Press Agents and Managers. There are also members of the Theatrical Council of the Casting Society of America and voting members of The Broadway League.

Eligibility Season

To be eligible for Tony Award consideration and nominations, a show must have officially opened on Broadway by the eligibility date established by the Management Committee. Like the number of eligible voters, this date also changes from year to year. For the 2015-2016 season, the cut-off date for opening was April 28, 2016.

“Broadway” Theatre

rrogers_08A Broadway theatre is currently defined as having 500 or more seats, among other requirements. While the official rules define a Broadway theatre in terms of its size, not its geographical location, the list of Broadway theatres is determined only by the Tony Admin Committee. As of the 2015-2016 season, the list of eligible “Broadway” theatres consists of 40 theatres in the New York Met area, almost all in the Theatre District.

Meet The Staff Behind The Tony Broadcast

Everyone’s familiar with the face of the Tony Awards: the performers, the hosts, and the presenters. But what about the brains behind the operation? While the technical crew makes sure that the awards ceremony stays on track, runs smoothly, and gets broadcast to the world, what about those who get it up and running?



The Tony Awards Management Committee is the governing body behind the Tony Awards-the head of the table. Made up of representatives of the Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing, the committee oversees the Tonys and the broadcast.


The Management Committee:

Mark Abrahams                    Kristin Caskey                   Dale Cendali                    Ted Chapin

Sondra Gilman                      Heather Hitchens            William Ivey Long          Jordan Roth
Charlotte St. Martin            Scott Sanders                    Nick Scandalios              Howard Stringer
Tom Viertel                            Bob Wankel                        Barry Weissler                Pamela Zilly


The Tony Awards Administration Committee is made up of 24 members: 10 picked by “the Wing”, 10 by “the League”, and one each from the Dramatists Guild, the Actors’ Equity Association, United Scenic Artists, and the Society Directors and Choreographers.

This committee determines eligibility for nominations in all awards categories and reviews the rules governing the awards (which will be the subject of MITM’s next post). They also hold the authority to designate the non-competitive Tony Awards. These non-competitive awards are considered the Special Tony Awards. Currently there are three Special Tony Awards: the Regional Theatre Tony Award, the Isabelle Stevenson Award, and the Tony Honors for Excellence in the Theatre.

The Administration Committee:


Emanuel Azenberg                    Ted Chapin                    Michael David
Cecilia Friederichs                     Sue Frost                        Heather Hitchens
David Henry Hwang                  Natasha Katz                Paul Libin
William Ivey Long                      John Lyons                   Mary McColl
Kevin McCollum                         James Nederlander    Enid Nemy
Laura Penn                                  Michael Price                Judith O. Rubin
Charlotte St. Martin                 Peter Schneider           Thomas Schumacher
Ralph Sevush                              Philip Smith                 David Stone



Douglas Aibel: Artistic Director, The Vineyard Theatre

Adrian Bailey: Actor

Victoria Bailey: Executive Director, Theatre Development Fund

Ira Bernstein: Former producer/general manager/stage manager/casting director

Hope Clarke: Choreographer

Veronica Claypool: Arts Management Consultant, Full Circle Management Group/former GM

Paul Cremo: Dramaturg/Director of Opera Commissioning Program, The Metropolitan Opera

Trip Cullman: Director

Harvey Evans: Actor

Sean Patrick Flahaven: Writer/composer/orchestrator/conductor/producer

Paul Gallo: Lighting designer

Kent Gash: Director/Founding Director, NYU Tisch School of the Arts’ New Studio on Broadway

Jenny Gersten: Former Executive Director, Friends of the High Line

Daniel Goldfarb: Playwright/bookwriter

Sam Gonzalez: Director of Operations, Pfizer Medical/Board of Trustees, Playwrights Horizons

Adam Gwon: Composer/lyricist

Roy Harris: Production stage manager

Jack Hofsiss: Theatre/film/television director

Julie Hughes: Former casting director

Lou Jacob: Director/Chair of the MFA Directing Program, New School for Drama

Tom Kitt: Composer

Corby Kummer: Senior Editor, The Atlantic Magazine

Fran Kumin: Consultant – performing arts organizations/foundations/university theatre programs

Dick Latessa: Actor

Kate Levin: Cultural Assets Management Principal, Bloomberg Associates

Reynold Levy: Former President of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts

Sara Lukinson: Documentary film producer/television writer

Patricia Marx: American humorist and writer/former television writer

Marsha Mason: Actor/director

Jim McLaughlin: Former producer, CBS News/TV feature and documentary producer

Debra Monk: Actor

Roger Morgan: Lighting designer/theatre designer

Laurence O’Keefe: Composer/lyricist/bookwriter

Katherine Oliver: Media and Technology Principal, Bloomberg Associates

Christian Parker: Chair, Graduate Theatre Program, Columbia University

Paige Price: Actor/1st Vice President of AEA/Executive Artistic Director, Theatre Aspen

Ravi S. Rajan: Dean, School of the Arts, SUNY Purchase

Nigel Redden: General Director, Spoleto Festival USA/Director, Lincoln Center Festival

Susan H. Schulman: Director/President, Stage Directors and Choreographers

Scott Schwartz: Director

Linda Shelton: Executive Director, Joyce Theater Foundation

Warner Shook: Director

Arlene Shuler: President & CEO, New York City Center

Edward Strong: Producer

Wynn Thomas: Production designer

Jennifer von Mayrhauser: Costume designer

Robin Wagner: Scenic designer

Tom Watson: Retired television advertising executive

Preston Whiteway: Executive Director, The Eugene O’Neill Theater Center

For more information on the Broadway League: “About the Broadway League”
For more information on the Tony Awards Staff: “Administration”

“Let’s start at the very beginning!”: A History of the Tony Awards

After all, the beginning is a very good place to start! Maybe you’re new to the Tony Awards this year, or maybe you’ve never had the time to research before, but either way, we’ve got a brief history of the Tony’s for you today.

The Beginning of A Name

In 1947, the American Theatre Wing had recently lost one of it’s co-founders, Antionette Perry. Perry, who’s nickname was indeed Tony, had been both an actress and a director in early 20th century America, as well as helping found the American Theatre Wing. PBDANPE CS001

Perry’s dedication to high standards of theatre sparked an idea from the members of the American Theatre Wing committee. An award in Perry’s honor for distinguished stage acting and technical achievement in theatre. At the time, no such award existed for the theatre community, though the Academy Awards had already been in operation since 1929.


The official first awards ceremony was held on April 6, 1947, at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York City, though through the years the ceremony would move both its date and location to be featured at Radio City Music Hall and the Beacon Theatre in June. The first “Tony Awards” were not Tony Awards in the sense that we know them. The prizes awarded were things such as “a scroll, cigarette lighter and articles of jewelry such as 14-carat gold compacts and bracelets for the women, and money clips for the men.” It was not until the third awards ceremony in 1949 that the first Tony medallion (pictured below) was handed out to award winners. Picturing the “comedy/tragedy” masks of Greek theatre tradition, all winners receive the same style of award.



The Public Broadcast

It wasn’t until 1967 that the Tony Awards started their television broadcasts. Before then, the ceremony was considered a closed event for those in the theatre community, however, with the growing mainstream popularity of both the stage and television, the American Theatre Wing decided to bring the ceremony to the American people as well.



Presenter Barbara Streisand with the winners of the 1967 Best Musical award, Cabaret. Librettist Joe Masteroff, composer John Kander, lyricist Fred Ebb, and producer Hal Prince.


The broadcast has remained much as we know it today, with from the nominated musicals, clips and presentations for the nominated plays, as well as celebrity announcers and skits.

Currently, The American Theatre Wing and The Broadway League administer the awards jointly as Tony Award Productions, but the ceremony is still billed as belonging to the American Theatre Wing.

In recent years, the viewing audience size for the broadcast is far below that of the Academy Awards broadcast, landing between six and eight million viewers on average.

To put the audience number in perspective, the 2009 Oscar broadcast netted 36.3 million viewers. However, if you’ve ever watched the broadcast before, you are aware of the dedication of those six to eight million viewers. Critics and professionals have likened the Tony Awards as being the “Oscar’s for the stage”, and the broadcast has come to be one of the theatre community’s biggest nights.


This Year’s Broadcast

In case you’ve missed it, the 2016 Tony’s are going to be broadcast on June 12 at 8 EST. Are you going to be joining the crowd of eight million watching the Sunday night broadcast? Or are you going to pick up the highlights following instead?



Quotes regarding original Tony Award ceremony:

Tony statistics:
Guess This Year’s ‘Tony Awards’ Viewership (Poll) + Ratings History

Oscar statistics:


A basic guide to the 2016 Tony Awards or “What was the name of that one guy hosting who was in that movie with Meryl Streep?”

When: June 12 at 8 EST

How To Watch: CBS Broadcast

Pre-Show: Red Carpet at 6 EST

Your Host: James Corden

Categories for awards:

The Big Four-

Best Play                                                           Best Musical

Best Book of a Musical                                 Best Original Score

Technical Awards-

Best Choreography                                        Best Orchestrations

Best Scenic Design of a Play                       Best Scenic Design of a Musical

Best Costume Design of a Play                  Best Costume Design of a Musical

Best Lighting Design of a Play                   Best Lighting Design of a Musical

Best Director of a Play                                  Best Director of a Musical

The Cast-

Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play

Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play

Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Play

Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play

Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical

Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical

Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical

Best Performance by a Features Actress in a Musical

Revivals Category-

Best Revival of a Play                                          Best Revival of a Musical

Special Awards-

Special Tony Award                                             Tony Honors for Excellence in Theatre

Regional Theatre Tony Award                          Isabelle Stevenson Award


What: Nomination Announcement Broadcast

When: May 3 at 8:30AM EST

How To Watch: CBS This Morning or

Your Hosts: Nikki M James and Andrew Rannells

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