The Last 20 Years of Best Play Tony Award Winners: A By The Numbers Infographic.

One of my most popular posts of the last couple years is a post with just a few words and a whole lot of numbers.

In 2014, we dove into the deep end of the data pool and put together an infographic based on the trends associated with the last twenty years of Best Musical Tony Award Winners.

But for some reason, we never did plays.

I guess I’ve got some deep rooted prejudices against our non-musical productions that I didn’t even know about.  So, as part of my therapy to rid myself of whatever deep rooted issues I have that prevent me from treating plays as equally as I treat musicals, today I present to you an infographic:  20 Years of Best Play Tony Award Winners.

As with all of our infographics, there are some things that will make you go, “Duh, of course that’s the way it is,” and some others that will make you go, “Holy @#$%.”

And that’s why we look at this stuff.  To help us learn what has worked to better our chances of success . . . and to learn what we want to change.

Enjoy the numbers!

20-years-of-best-play-winners (2)


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  • Brian says:

    The History Bots? There are so few jobs for actors already please don’t encourage bots taking roles. It would be interesting to see where the plays originated. Did most start off-Broadway or at a regional?

  • Frank says:

    Your bias against plays is pretty simple to place. You’re a producers and producing is about making money. More money to be had and lost in musicals.

  • Carvanpool says:

    Sorry, this “info” serves no point or purpose. Nothing useful here, just number salad.

  • Rich Mc says:

    I find it interesting that per Ken’s ” Last 20 Years Of Tony Winning Musicals” (10/14) seventy-five percent (15 musicals) of the winners announced recoupment of their investment vs. only fifty-five percent of corresponding Tony Winning Plays announced recoupment, per this analysis. Not fully sure what to make of this except the seemingly obvious observation that the Tony Awards Committee has less of a clue about what constitutes true quality than ‘Play’ attending audiences. The respective marketing value of winning a Tony, as applied to Plays vs Musicals, requires greater drill-down analysis.

  • Howard Levitsky says:

    How about asking questions about the content of the plays, such as:

    How many of the plays were based in a historical time/place?
    How many involved actual historical people?
    How many took place in the present day?
    How many involved LGBT issues/themes?
    How many had themes involving the fine or performing arts?

  • Phyllis Buchalter says:

    My husband and I were looking over your Tony winner list and found out that we had seen 17 out of the twenty Tony winners and we saw them all prior to winning their respective Tonys. That is our motto – “Go early and often.”

  • gj says:

    Totally missed a lot of good plays since coming to NYC in 1999. I have seen a few, but your list has shamed me badly. I would like to see U do a “legit” show someday at The Davenport, if only for the prestige. 😉

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