What did you think about this year’s Tony Awards? “Survey says . . .”

Before I get to the results of my Tony Awards Telecast Satisfaction Survey, let’s start with a little data about the survey itself.  I’ve been doing these surveys for five years now, and this year, we had more than DOUBLE the entries of any other year.

So while the Tony ratings may have slipped this year, ours got twice as good.  🙂

Oh, and side note . . . for all you folks out there that are blaming the Tony Awards rating slippage on the fact that an NBA game was on, I got news for you.  Hold onto your b-balls because this one is a shocker.  The Tony Awards and the NBA don’t share the same audience.  I know, I know, that statement is as shocking as someone unexpected dying in the season finale of Game of Thrones, but it’s true.  A sports game is not stealing our audience.

Ok, moving on . . . let’s see how those that tuned into the telecast (who I’m sure couldn’t have cared less about who was even playing in the game or what sport was even being played) thought of the show!

  • 91.80% of Producer’s Perspective readers watched the Awards
    • NOTE FROM KEN:  Next year we’ll ask how you watched – online, on tv, on your phone – and also if you were on your computer as well, reading Facebook, watching people like me live tweet, etc.
    • ANOTHER NOTE FROM KEN:  I’m mad at the other 8.20% of you who didn’t watch.  Next year I’ll ask why you didn’t, and you best have a good excuse.  I’m talking your power went out and the President of the United Nations came over for some tea or something.
  • On a scale of 1 to 10, here’s how you rated the Tony Awards Telecast:
    • 6.05% gave it a 10
    • 12.90% gave it a 9
    • 27.02% gave it an 8
    • That’s a 45.97% “8 or better” rating, compared to last year’s “8 or better” rating of 50.82%
  • Compared to last year’s telecast:
    • 11.59% said it was much better
    • 34.50% said it was better
    • 24.39% said it was the same
    • 24.12% said it was worse
    • 5.39% said it was much worse
  • On a scale of 1 to 10, here’s how you rated the hosts:
    • 14.97% gave them a 10
    • 15.37% gave them a 9
    • 20.54% gave them an 8
  • Your favorite part of the telecast was:
    • The opening number – 3.08%
    • Production numbers – 46.05%
    • The hosts – 8.57%
    • Finding out who won – 20.48%
    • Acceptance speeches – 14.19%
    • The presenters – 1.20%
    • Other – 6.43%
  • Your least favorite part of the telecast was . . .
    • . . . not seeing the Creative Awards live.
  • Your favorite musical number was . . .
    • Fun Home – 37.27%
    • Something Rotten! – 28.15%
    • The King and I – 8.58%
    • An American in Paris – 6.70%
    • On The Town– 6.43%
    • It Shoulda Been You – 4.83%
    • Finding Neverland – 2.95%
    • On The Twentieth Century – 2.55%
    • The Visit – 1.34%
    • Jersey Boys – 0.67%
    • Gigi – 0.54%
      • NOTE FROM KEN:  This result shocked me.  The stand out favorite production number, Fun Home‘s “Keys”,  wasn’t a “production number” at all.
  • We asked what you would suggest to the Tony Producers to make it a more exciting evening.  Here are some quotes that represent the most common themes I heard:
    • “Include actual scenes from the Best Play and Best Play revival nominees.”
    • “Put the tech awards & special awards back on prime-time broadcast!”
    • “Bring NPH back!”

Since we have been studying your thoughts on the Tonys for half a decade now, I thought I’d pull some of this data together into a graph, and show you what the trend has been over the last five years.

Below is that graph – indicating what percentage of you have given the show an “8 or better” (which is what I call a “positive rating”) since 2011.

Let’s take a look!


Ok, so, you’d like to see things get a bit better.  Now here comes the hard part.  Give me your comments below on how to get that “8 or better” back up to the 90% it was in 2011 (that was NPH’s 2nd time hosting and the year that Book of Mormon won almost everything).  Because if you want something to get better, you gotta take an active part in the process.

So, as Coalhouse wails away in Ragtime, “Let them hear you!”  Enter your comments below.


(Got a comment? I love ‘em, so comment below! Email Subscribers, click here then scroll down to say what’s on your mind!)

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  • Art Fidler says:

    I have a couple of thoughts about the production number rating. Rating the Fun Home number after it won might not be the same as what was felt during the process of the show. But maybe it was just relief at a number that was simple, and easy to understand, delivered by a great kid and mostly in close-up.. I felt that way about Lisa Howard walking down to the front of the stage and belting her good solo from It Shoudda Been You.
    Secondly, the big production numbers seem to be often presented as medleys of big dance extravaganzas, and dance isn’t very exciting at least to me, on a small screen. I’m thinking in comparison to the old-time 11 o’clock numbers like Sit Down, You’re Rocking the Boat which really land on the small screen, and have an interesting central character with a big, distinctive voice surrounded by other interesting characters who are playing the song in tight, and not dancing all over the stage while presenting a song that works well outside the show it is from. The Rotten number came close to that, but having to reduce the actors in size and focus to put them in a straight line for the final A Chorus Line reference diminished the number on the screen, and the cameras seemed to mess it up anyway. So it didn’t quite set the hook right at the end, at least to me.

  • Iris says:

    First: I think what we’ve been missing in the last 2 years compared to NPH hosting was big a big production number as an Opening. What Kristin and Alan did was very cute and funny (and a big improvement to Hugh’s hopping last year… still, what?), and I enjoyed it a lot but I wish they would have incorporated ‘A Musical’, instead of doing their opening and then announcing the SR performance as a separate thing.
    Second: Like the survey already showed, people want the creative awards back on the telecast, so that would make it better right there. I know there is a limited amount of time for the telecast, so maybe cut down the time for the speeches some more to something like 30 seconds on stage (vs. counting the time to get up on stage as well, that’s just mean if you sit far back), and then give the winners the chance for a longer speech backstage before they head into the press room. These could be aired on the second screen (during commercial breaks) and be available to view later as well. Because let’s be real, the endless thank you speeches are the part most of the audience cares least about in any awards ceremony.

  • 1. I am appalled that they no longer show excerpts from the plays as they do from the musicals. Showing scenes from plays at the Tony’s is a great way for people to see things that they may want to see that they didn’t know they wanted to see! (Right off hand, I know that I went to see “Art” because of the scene that was performed at The Tony’s.
    2. Not giving ‘important’ (in quotations because everything is important) technical awards live and on camera.
    3. Cutting away from the speeches of the final best musical of the season for (yet another) rendition of a number from “Jersey Boys.”
    4. Worrying far more about the camera angles on the accompanying singer’s face than the in memorial tributes was insulting and offensive. And the names came and went so quickly – and were so far from the camera – they were difficult – if not impossible – to read. I would have preferred a prerecorded voice over musical tribute and a respectful memorial.
    5. It might help people make ticket choices if they knew what they were seeing was a truncated, abbreviated, not-as-seen-on-Broadway version of the shows. I know that the scene that was offered from “Finding Neverland” I found to be less than riveting. Yet, we already had tickets, and this past Sunday we gritted our teeth to watch what seemed to be the poor man’s Les Miz. Wow. What a mistake. The staging, scenery, lighting, performance, context – everything about it – changed completely. I’ve also seen “The King and I,” which – though not as exquisite as other Broadway productions is certainly more elaborate than the sketchy set on The Tony’s. Frankly, I can’t wait now to see the other nominees to find out why “Finding Neverland” wasn’t nominated. It has entered my top ten favorite musicals list…absolutely brilliant and creative staging – and superb musical theatre choreography (as opposed to the ballet based choreography in “On the Town.” I really believe mentioning that these are not direct-from-the-Broadway-houses would encourage people to see what they are really like.
    6. I know there are two camps: those that adore Kristen Chenowith and Alan Cumming and those who find her annoying and him distasteful. I fall in the former group. I just love them. And though some of their jokes were hoary old chestnuts, they did their absolute best with them (which is pretty damned good!) and they’re both too damn cute for words. I love Neil Patrick Harris, but if we can’t have him every year, these two are the next best thing, for sure!

    • Iris says:

      Just a little side note about Finding Neverland: I’ve seen all the musicals this season and I don’t get the hate some people have for Finding Neverland. While I can see that the book might have some flaws I thought it was magical evening of theater with a great score, great performers and fabulous sets and costumes. It was totally snubber

  • Dara Ely says:

    Count me among the people who were angered by:

    – Not airing book and score during the telecast. This is akin to not televising best screenplay at the Oscars
    – Cutting away from the Best Musical winner for a Jersey Boys performance that wasn’t even properly introduced

    I enjoy Kristin and Alan but thought their opening schtick was just okay – and I’m a theatre fan who understood the references. So much of it would fly right over the heads of viewers who don’t follow it as closely. I actually said at the time that the show had likely lost casual viewers in the first five minutes because they didn’t understand what was happening. They should have opened with Something Rotten and followed with the hosts’ banter.

  • Ken Scott says:

    I left early from the Tony part to go home and watch the NBA finals. had the Tonys on DVR and would skip back and forth during commercials. So there are a handful of us that watch both!

  • Jim Vivyan says:

    My biggest disappointment was the In Memoriam segment. While it was great to have it back, it was so poorly produced. Compared with the 2014 Emmy In Memoriam where Sara Bareilles sang Smile in a 4 min segment with 45 images shown full screen and using less than 1 min close up of her, compared to a 4:15 min segment on the Tony’s with 42 images shown far away in just 1min 30 sec, and over 2 min 30 sec for the singer/chorus closeups! Totally wrong priority on the Tonys! Take a lesson from the Emmys!

  • eva says:

    I always attend the Tonys as I want to see the whole Awards and it is disgraceful that they don’t. Also the special Tony Award winners don’t even get to go to the Tonys but have a “luncheon” which is also wrong. So I have no idea how it translated to television but watching from the seats it was so much fun. Especially when Alan Cumming got his hoop skirt caught on stage. Trouble with showing play scenes they never seem to know how to do it so that it works.
    I think they should get Tyrone to host next year with Laura Benanti.

  • Solange De Santis says:

    Here’s a revolutionary plan – tell all the nominees that if they make a heartfelt statement about their art and thank everyone in person later, they will get 45 seconds. If they start a long list of thank yous onstage, they will only get 30 seconds. It’s gotten worse and worse.

    Also, what’s with the huge crowds of people going onstage to accept some of the awards? For Best Play, I was yelling at the TV, “Where’s the guy who WROTE the thing?” Nope, sorry, designate two people from your group. Everyone else can fondle the Tony at the afterparty.

  • Delaney says:

    Guess what! My power actually DID go out during the Tony Awards. I was freaking out so much! When it finally came back on the weather channel interrupted the awards straight for the entire last 45 minutes of the ceremony! Did they really have to do that on the channel that happened to be hosting the most important awards ceremony of the year? IT WAS TORTURE!

  • Jeffrey Sweet says:

    Do you know how long it takes to write a good play or musical? Usually years. So the people who most often have worked the longest are pushed to the corner? There’s constant bitching and moaning about writers abandoning the stage to go to television. If the industry you worked so hard for treated you with such massive public disrespect, why on earth would you care to keep working in it? The producers run the awards show. If they want the good will of the people they need, they should show them courtesy.

  • kyle says:

    As a former three sport athlete, who also happened to end up becoming a musical theatre actor I was also one of the few percent that flipped back and forth between the two, and it was literally uber dramatic that the Best musical award announcement coincided with the final 2 minutes of the game (that ended up going in to Overtime) – so I was aggressively flipping back and forth… I’m in the same camp as everyone else who would’ve rather heard two more minutes of best musical speeches, than an immediate cutaway to (boresville) Jersey Boys, just because it was probably on the telecast schedule as “the closer”. Someone in the booth should’ve hit an audible (“sports ball” for the win!!) and just let Fun Home get those extra meaningful moments since they were clearly behind schedule anyway towards the end… Also, I’m done with the wrap it up music. If they’re gonna make the joke about having the tap dancers come on and whisk you away, let’s actually do it, like they used to do on Showtime at the Apollo, remember the Sandman who’d come out and sweep you off stage, HILARIOUS!!… oh, and let’s consider NPH as the Peyton Manning of awards shows – always reliable, always delivers, so let’s just give this dude a contract already that locks him in for a few years as the quarterback of the Tony’s!

  • Carol kelly says:

    I liked the Tonys I always like the Tonys but I want Hugh Jackman back no one did it better -everyone loves him he is missed!!!

  • Matt Cloran says:

    I’m probably the only gay man that does not want to see NPH back hosting. Overexposure (Oscars anyone, literally)! He’s unbelievably talented and he’s done an incredible job especially when the 2014 show opened with “Bigger.” After that, there’s no way to go up and again – he’s done too many hosting jobs and his schtick is getting tired (let the bashing begin). I did not think that Kristen Chenoweth and Alan Cummings worked – their energy didn’t really go together. Would love to see Nathan Lane come back – he’s so, so good! You can probably put him with anyone and he’ll make it work. Yup – Nathan Lane please.

  • Joe says:

    Any host(s) will make the show work depending on the writing. We’ve seen hosts on the Tonys, Oscars and other awards shows die slow painful deaths because of the cringe-inducing banter and jokes. I would love to see writing that treats the Tony’s as the crown jewel of awards shows-present them as such and the show will glimmer.
    I don’t remember Angela Lansbury having to mug and prattle when she hosted in the 80’s: she brought a quiet dignity to the proceedings. That being said, she “tore it up” with Bea Arthur on Bosom Buddies and brought down the house. Class outshines crass any day.
    Give the audience a great scene from the musical and let it win you over. Keys killed because of its simplicity and its honesty … and its awesomeness. So did Something Rotten. I was even somewhat taken with Finding Neverland. The other shows that offered medleys fell flat.
    I don’t need production numbers from older shows. Thank you Jersey Boys (or that cruise ship Hairspray…yikes) . Show me what’s new, and what kills each night in the theater.

  • Klay Rogers says:

    1) It needs to be funny. Alan Cumming is a fine actor but he is not so funny. Plus I had a hard time understanding him with his accent. Kristin was a fine choice. Alan was not. Also the repetitive CBS commercials and Josh Groban commercials were distractors.
    2) The shows need the human element offered in Dancing with the Stars. Perhaps the Tony’s can have lead up shows that tell the stories behind the story. You know, SMASH was a horrible representation of real Broadway. Glad it’s gone. Yet I think there’s an appetite for the real Broadway behind the scene stories. The Tony’s should be a show place of the industry and not just a quick one night award show. Let’s take it up a notch or two and do some real marketing for theater.
    3) Why are non-Broadway actors involved? There’s enough talent in theater that everything can stay in the family.
    Thanks for asking,

  • Jared W says:

    Some suggestions for next year:

    1) A host who isn’t also a nominee. I found Kristin Chenoweth and Alan Cumming to be incredibly awkward and under-rehearsed, probably because Chenoweth was busy doing 8 shows a week in an incredibly demanding role and didn’t have time to focus on Tony rehearsals. NPH wisely bowed out of hosting last year to focus on “Hedwig,” something I think all currently performing actors should consider.

    2) Televise the damn writing awards!

    3) Ban medleys. Even when they work they never work as well as single songs. If that means a particular star actor doesn’t get to perform, then find some other way for them to be involved (like when Jefferson Mays introduced last year’s stellar “Gentleman’s Guide” performance in character). It is very telling that the overwhelming majority of survey respondents listed “Fun Home” and “Something Rotten” as their favorite performances, two shows that picked a single song and really sold it.

    4) While we’re at it, cut back on the number of extraneous performances. I would have traded the “Gigi” or “It Shoulda Been You” performances for longer/more acceptance speeches, and neither one seems to have had a huge affect on ticket sales. And if your show isn’t from this season, you don’t get to perform. Period. (Sorry, “Jersey Boys.”)

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