Should our awards be spread out?

You can feel it . . . hit the middle of April, and everyone who is involved in a new show walks around with a thought bubble over their head, “When do the nominations come out again?”

And by “the nominations”, one could mean The Tonys, The Outer Critics, The Drama Desks, The Drama Leagues, The Lortels, The Obies, and a whole slew of others.

Why is it that they all happen at once?

Ok, stupid question, really.  They all happen at once because that’s the end of our “season”.

But they don’t happen at exactly the same time.  They can’t.  There are weeks between many of them, so some can’t even include all the shows from that season . . . so, why try?

In any cluttered environment, sometimes the best thing you can do to stand out is simply to do the opposite of what everyone else is doing.

So, might it be better for 1 or 2 of the big awards to be given out in . . . I don’t know . . . November?  And use a different season to determine the nominees?  A bit confusing, maybe, but not that much more so than we have now.

A November award would get more attention for the awards organization itself, because there would be fewer other awards around it.  The nominated shows would get more attention, because it would be news at a time when there might not be as much going on for them at that time.  Add that all up and the theater as an institution would get more attention as a result, and we all benefit from that.

Come on, one of you awards shows out there . . . take the plunge.

And if you don’t, maybe someone will come up with a new award to be given in the fall instead.

Hmmmm .  . .


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  • Gillien says:

    Just a slight correction: there are no nominations for the Obies. They are awarded for excellence in the theatre, however, they do not pit artists/shows/producing organizations against each other through a nominating procedure. They merely announce the award recipients at the yearly Obies ceremony.

  • Heather c says:

    The New York Innovative Theatre Awards happen in September (with nominations announced in July).

  • Walt Frasier says:

    I love that you always challenge the status quo. I remember when you first argued against the 8 show / week standard.

    Every year there is talk on TV about award fatigued leading into the Oscars. And theater comes after that.

    Perhaps it would be a great idea to shift all of our awards, if they must be together and around a set season to the Fall. We could be the Florida Primary of Award Shows.

    But I think if we consider the real reason for award shows – to promote the arts (or at least the best reason, take away all the ego and BS) – spreading out the shows would bring attention year round to great projects.

    Outside the theater community the only award that matters (to ticket sales and future recoup) is Best Musical Tony. So perhaps the question is moot.

  • Frayne McCarthy says:

    I also love how you challenge the industry.
    In Montreal, we have a very small awards “thing” called the MECCAS (the Montreal English Critics’ Circle Awards), which actually does not include all English-language critics, and which seems to be getting smaller and smaller each year. At one point, awards were presented at a gala evening anyone could attend, and now it’s an invitation-only little ceremony that goes unnoticed. We need someone like Ken Davenport to come into Montreal and shake everyone up! This is a World City that used to be Cultural Capital of Canada… now… well, we watch the Tonys on television. We seem to have so much to learn.

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