Is the Grammy Award for Best Show Album like a Student Election?

I was thrilled that Once won the Grammy for Best Musical Theater Album on Sunday night.  But it got me thinking . . . is it just a coincidence that the Tony Award winner for Best Musical also won Best Musical Theater Album?

Is this Grammy just like a Student Election?  Does the popular kid always win???

I put some crackerjack interns on the subject this AM to check the Grammy Award history books to see what we could find out.

Here’s what we discovered:

  • 7 of the last 10 Best Musical Tony Awards have won the Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album.  That’s 70%!

Amazing, isn’t it?  Or maybe not?  Maybe there should be that kind of obvious connection between the two awards. Or maybe, the Grammy committee responds to marketing just like a consumer does.

Consider this . . . the three Best Musical Tony Award winners that didn’t win the Grammy were Avenue Q (which lost to the more marketed and more “popular” Wicked), Memphis (which lost to American Idiot, composed by super punk group with a zillion fans, Green Day), and Billy Elliot (which lost to West Side Story).

We dug a bit deeper and looked at Grammy Award Winners compared to the Winners of the Best Score . . . and, well, I’ll let the stats speak for themselves:

  • Only 3 of the last 10 (30%) Best Score Tony Awards have won the Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album.

So what’s happening here?

I tried to find a definition of exactly what the Grammys were looking for, but I couldn’t.  However, given that the award is given to both the Producer of the Album and the Composer/Lyricists it seems to be about what is written and how that material is presented.

So why are the Best Musical Tony Winners running away with trophies and the Best Score folks aren’t?

Well, honestly, I think it’s the same reason why Jimmy O’Connor beat me for VP my Senior Year of High School.  He was just cooler than I was.

Bonus Takeaway Action Item:  Want a Grammy Award?  Write a show that wins a Tony for Best Musical.


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