What makes The Tony Awards different from all other Awards?

I got in a very interesting discussion with a reporter the other day about our beloved Tony Awards.  She hypothesized that the awards were mostly a marketing exercise for Broadway and the specific shows of that season.

“Sure,” I said, “But isn’t that what all awards shows are?  Aren’t they designed to recognize excellence, and then promote that excellence in whatever industry they are in?”

“Yes,” she said, “But it’s never life or death for the products in the other industries.”


She had a point.  And a good one.

While sure, the Grammys can sell a lot of albums . . . and maybe even propel a tour or two . . . but the make/break pressure isn’t as high, because there aren’t seats to sell the very next day that a show is hoping to fill by taking home a Tony or two.

And the same with the Oscars.  Yes, an Oscar can stretch out a film’s run, and increase DVD and foreign sales, but in the movie biz, they only care about the biz on opening weekend, so people aren’t sweating about whether they might lose their job, or whether their movie will recoup, the night before the Awards.

In the other entertainment industries, the awards come towards the end of their product cycle.  But for Broadway, for many, it’s just the beginning.

So yeah, The Tony Awards just may be more marketing focused than other Awards.

Because they have to be.


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  • Douglas Clayton says:

    In the same vein, they’re different from almost all the other national theatre awards, because most shows that aren’t on Broadway won’t ever run more than a few weeks or a few months anyway, so many/most theatre nominees are closed before the awards happen, losing the chance for the awards to drive specific show sales.

    Does this make the Tonys ‘better’ or ‘worse’? And do you think it has any impact on how the decisions are made by the Tony voters, who are, many of them, producers themselves?

  • elliott vizansky says:

    the american theatre wing has decided that LIFETIME members no longer need to actually be LIFETIME members / they can no longer keep their promises as they have no honor nor shame // now , we must renew our sponsorship ANNUALLY at the minimum of $ 2,500 // the only thing we actually used was the 2 dress rehearsal tix to the tony awards ( as they stopped most activities years ago ) // now , asking for that will cost us $ 2,500 per year

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