What did you think about the 2019 Tony Award Telecast? Survey says . . .

Hey, all you Tony Awards viewers!

There has been a lot of chatter about this year’s Tony Award telecast, and I was super curious about what you, the people who read The Producer’s Perspective, (you know, the only people who really matter!), thought of this year’s show.

So, we did what my 5th-grade math teacher taught me to do when I had a question that I didn’t know the answer to . . . ASK.

We sent out a survey on my Top 5 Moments from the Telecast blog and also posted it on my Instagram, and now, here are the results.

Are you ready?

The results of the survey of this are:

On a scale of 1 to 10, here’s how you rated the Tony Awards Telecast:

6.33% gave it a 10

6.33% gave it a 9

29.11% gave it an 8

17.72% gave it a 7

6.33% gave it a 6

3.80% gave it a 5

5.06% gave it a 4

2.53% gave it a 3

1.27% gave it a 2

21.52% gave it a 1

Compared to last year’s telecast:

15.19% said it was much better

35.44% said it was better

32.91% said it was the same

13.92% said it was worse

2.53% said it was much worse

Your favorite overall part of the telecast (ranked from highest to lowest) was:

Production numbers – 50.63%

The opening number – 20.25%

Acceptance speeches – 13.92%

Finding out who won – 8.86%

The host – 5.06%

Other – 1% (Seeing friends & coworkers on stage and on TV at the same time!)

The presenters – 0%

Your favorite musical number was . . .

Hadestown – 21.52%

The Prom – 18.99%

Kiss Me, Kate – 12.66%

Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations – 11.39%

Beetlejuice – 11.39%

Oklahoma – 11.39%

Choir Boy – 7.59%

Tootsie – 5.06%

Cher – 0%

Your favorite moment from the telecast was . . . 

Rachel Chavkin, Andre DeShields, and Ali Stroker’s acceptance speeches.

Hadestown win.

Michael in the Bathroom parody.

Stephanie J. Block winning her Tony.

Your least favorite part of the telecast was . . .

Not seeing a lot of the acceptance speeches or awards.

The playwrights speaking.

Too many commercials.

Not giving Be More Chill credit for the parody.

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:

“Televise more winners and speeches!”

“Show scenes from plays as well!”

“Do more unplanned bits (like Billy Porter)!”

If you missed the survey, but want to chime in, throw your thoughts in the comments below!

Why you should Produce/Write/Perform what you DON’T know.

There’s an old adage that doing “what you know” is the fastest way to success.

And I believe it.

If you have knowledge of a certain area, a certain character, or even a certain culture, working within that box is where you’re the most comfortable and therefore where you’ll be the most naturally effective.

But that may not be the fastest way to grow as an artist.

That’s why I encourage myself and others to produce what they don’t know.  Write what they don’t know.  Perform what they don’t know nuthin’ about.

It’s working within new genres, with different people, and with subjects that make you uncomfortable — or that you’re just naive about — that will teach you the most, and make you a more powerful theater maker and more well-rounded human in the process.

In other words, work outside your culture zone.

That’s why Deaf West’s Spring Awakening was one of the most incredible personal and professional experiences of my career.  If I hadn’t produced that show, I would never have had a conversation with a deaf person.  And that has changed my life.  And I will treat others differently as a result.

That’s why Once on This Island with its diverse cast had such an impact on my life.

That’s why I’m producing the revival of the unfortunately-still-timely Pulitzer Prize-winning The Great White Hope (hopefully on Broadway next season – with a little help from the Theater Availability Gods).

That’s why this khaki-pants and blue-blazer wearin’ New England boy is producing a musical based on the life of Entertainer and Activist Harry Belafonte.  And why I will be announcing a new musical about the Jewish experience in the next few weeks.

Honestly, I never set out to produce this way.  I’ve just been drawn to great stories.  But as I walked by the show posters on my wall the other day, I realized that the greatest experiences I’ve had . . . and will have . . . are the ones I knew nothing about.

So it’s now become a new mission.  To do what I don’t have a clue about . . . so I can learn.

It’s scary.  It’s uncomfortable.  And it doesn’t always make money.

But it’s also the most rewarding way to work live.

Broadway Grosses w/e 6/9/2019: Winners Claim Prize Money

The following are the Broadway grosses for the week ending June 9, 2019. The Broadway grosses are courtesy of The Broadway League.

My Top 5 Moments from the 2019 Tony Awards!

I just realized something.

Last night was my 30th anniversary of watching the Tony Awards.  And over the last three decades, I’ve seen some pretty amazing things, from Jonathan Larson’s sister accepting his posthumous trophy in 1996, saying, “It took Johnny fifteen years of really hard work to become an overnight sensation,” to the drama students from Parkland delivering the same Jonathan Larson’s hopeful “Seasons of Love” at the 2018 Tonys in spite of the tragedy they had just lived through.

And last night’s telecast had a bunch of special moments of its own.  Here are my Top 5 that got me to laugh, applaud, and made my heart thump a little harder:

  1. 3 out of the 4 Big Prizes were produced by Women.  Women had a great night overall, starting with Rachel Chavkin expectedly grabbing the Director prize (and also delivering a passionate speech about gender equality). But what I think people glossed over was the fact that the Best Musical prize, the Best Revival Prize, and the Best Play prize were all Lead Produced by women (the creatively courageous Mara Isaacs, Eva Price, and Sonia Friedman, respectively).  I ran these numbers a year ago and discovered that only 28% of all plays and musicals were Lead Produced by women.  So seeing and hearing from those three ladies at that podium was another step in the right direction, especially since LPs have such a crucial voice in the assembling of creative teams.  Congrats to them all.
  2. A win for all those with “Super Abilities.”  I was lucky enough to work with Ali Stroker on Spring Awakening and knew in an instant that this lady wasn’t going to let her wheelchair get in the way of achieving anything and everything she wanted.  And her speech said it perfectly.  There are kids of all different super abilities all over the world right now that have proof . . . actual, hard, statistical proof that it doesn’t effin’ matter what “limitation” the world may think you have, you can get to wherever you want to be.
  3. Two words . . . James Corden.  Enough said.  Except, can we please have a lifetime contract with him?  Great.  Thanks.
  4. The Hints at Next Season.  Award shows are intended to recognize excellence in an industry, but honestly, they are mostly a marketing tool for that same industry.  And that’s why I loved the little hints we got at the big shows opening next season.  Whether it was the mention of Sutton Foster appearing in Music Man or hearing from Moulin Rouge actor Danny Burstein, or even Audra McD talking about the currently running Frankie and Johnny (I liked that one especially since I’m a co-pro on it), I couldn’t help but think that my sixteen-year-old self would have started planning when I could come in to see . . . all of them.  I know there is never enough time to celebrate all the shows running in the current season, never mind the next one.  But on Broadway’s biggest night, the more we can plug what’s coming, the better for the biz.
  5. Yes, those are all the Producers and more.  There was a scuttlebutt scandal a couple of years ago about Co-Producers not being allowed on stage if their show won one of the big prizes.  The edict was ignored, and now it’s been forgotten.  I love seeing all those Co-Pros on the stage (kudos for the aforementioned Sonia Friedman for giving them a shout-out) . . . as well as the full companies of actors, creative team members, and more.  Best Play and Best Musical awards aren’t about one person. They actually could be renamed Best Collaboration!  They are the result of what is so unique about the theater . . . it takes a village to create a show.  And what a wonderful village it is.

Those are my Top 5 moments from last night’s Tony Awards.  What are yours?

Fill out our survey here to let us know what you thought of the show compared to other telecasts, and we’ll reveal the results right here!

And for a list of complete winners click here.


The 2019 Broadway Tony Award Winners

Below are the winners for the 2019 Tony Awards:

Best Play

Choir Boy

***The Ferryman

Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus


What the Constitution Means to Me

Best Musical

Ain’t Too Proud — The Life and Times of the Temptations



The Prom


Best Revival of a Play

Arthur Miller’s All My Sons

***The Boys in the Band

Burn This

Torch Song

The Waverly Gallery

Best Revival of a Musical

Kiss Me, Kate

***Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!

Best Book of a Musical

Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations



The Prom


Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre

Be More Chill



The Prom

To Kill a Mockingbird


Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play

Paddy Considine, The Ferryman

***Bryan Cranston, Network

Jeff Daniels, To Kill a Mockingbird

Adam Driver, Burn This

Jeremy Pope, Choir Boy

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play

Annette Bening, Arthur Miller’s All My Sons

Laura Donnelly, The Ferryman

***Elaine May, The Waverly Gallery

Janet McTeer, Bernhardt/Hamlet

Laurie Metcalf, Hillary and Clinton

Heidi Schreck, What the Constitution Means to Me

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical

Brooks Ashmanskas, The Prom

Derrick Baskin, Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations

Alex Brightman, Beetlejuice

Damon Daunno, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!

***Santino Fontana, Tootsie

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical

***Stephanie J. Block, The Cher Show

Caitlin Kinnunen, The Prom

Beth Leavel, The Prom

Eva Noblezada, Hadestown

Kelli O’Hara, Kiss Me, Kate

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play

***Bertie Carvel, Ink

Robin De Jesús, The Boys in the Band

Gideon Glick, To Kill a Mockingbird

Brandon Uranowitz, Burn This

Benjamin Walker, Arthur Miller’s All My Sons

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play

Fionnula Flanagan, The Ferryman

***Celia Keenan-Bolger, To Kill a Mockingbird

Kristine Nielsen, Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus

Julie White, Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus

Ruth Wilson, King Lear

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical

***André De Shields, Hadestown

Andy Grotelueschen, Tootsie

Patrick Page, Hadestown

Jeremy Pope, Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations

Ephraim Sykes, Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical 

Lilli Cooper, Tootsie

Amber Gray, Hadestown

Sarah Stiles, Tootsie

***Ali Stroker, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!

Mary Testa, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!

Best Scenic Design of a Play

Miriam Buether, To Kill a Mockingbird

Bunny Christie, Ink

***Rob Howell, The Ferryman

Santo Loquasto, Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus

Jan Versweyveld, Network

Best Scenic Design of a Musical

Robert Brill and Peter Nigrini, Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations

Peter England, King Kong

***Rachel Hauck, Hadestown

Laura Jellinek, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!

David Korins, Beetlejuice

Best Costume Design of a Play

***Rob Howell, The Ferryman

Toni-Leslie James, Bernhardt/Hamlet

Clint Ramos, Torch Song

Ann Roth, Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus

Ann Roth, To Kill a Mockingbird

Best Costume Design of a Musical

Michael Krass, Hadestown

William Ivey Long, Beetlejuice

William Ivey Long, Tootsie

***Bob Mackie, The Cher Show

Paul Tazewell, Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations

Best Lighting Design of a Play

***Neil Austin, Ink

Jules Fisher + Peggy Eisenhauer, Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus

Peter Mumford, The Ferryman

Jennifer Tipton, To Kill a Mockingbird

Jan Versweyveld and Tal Yarden, Network

Best Lighting Design of a Musical

Kevin Adams, The Cher Show

Howell Binkley, Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations

***Bradley King, Hadestown

Peter Mumford, King Kong

Kenneth Posner and Peter Nigrini, Beetlejuice

Best Sound Design of a Play

Adam Cork, Ink

Scott Lehrer, To Kill a Mockingbird

***Fitz Patton, Choir Boy

Nick Powell, The Ferryman

Eric Sleichim, Network

Best Sound Design of a Musical

Peter Hylenski, Beetlejuice

Peter Hylenski, King Kong

Steve Canyon Kennedy, Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations

Drew Levy, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!

***Nevin Steinberg and Jessica Paz, Hadestown

Best Direction of a Play

Rupert Goold, Ink

***Sam Mendes, The Ferryman

Bartlett Sher, To Kill a Mockingbird

Ivo van Hove, Network

George C. Wolfe, Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus

Best Direction of a Musical

***Rachel Chavkin, Hadestown

Scott Ellis, Tootsie

Daniel Fish, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!

Des McAnuff, Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations

Casey Nicholaw, The Prom

Best Choreography

Camille A. Brown, Choir Boy

Warren Carlyle, Kiss Me, Kate

Denis Jones, Tootsie

David Neumann, Hadestown

***Sergio Trujillo, Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations

Best Orchestrations

***Michael Chorney and Todd Sickafoose, Hadestown

Simon Hale, Tootsie

Larry Hochman, Kiss Me, Kate

Daniel Kluger, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!

Harold Wheeler, Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations

Special Tony Awards for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre
Rosemary Harris
Terrence McNally
Harold Wheeler

Special Tony Awards
Marin Mazzie
Sonny Tilders and Creature Technology Company
Jason Michael Webb

Regional Theatre Tony Award
TheatreWorks Silicon Valley, Palo Alto, CA

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