My Reactions to the 2017 Tony Award Nominations.

It seemed like just yesterday that the big question about the Tony nominations was how many Hamilton was going to get.

That’s right, my dear readers, a year has already come and gone, and just yesterday the 2017 Tony Award nominations were announced.  (And I wouldn’t have been surprised if Hamilton had sneaked one in this year, somehow – Best Ridiculous Amount of Gross Box Off Receipts perhaps?)

So what did I think of the nominations this year?

Well, as a co-producer of Groundhog Day, I was pretty pleased. 🙂

The first thing I do when I study the nominations as a whole is see who got the most.  And that award went to Natasha, Pierre this year, which I’d expect will give this show a nice boost at the box office, even though it may not be the show people think will take home the big prize

Why will it get the boost?  Well, because whenever a show gets the greatest number of nominations, it appears in the headline in stories like this NY Times article.  And that sells tickets.

And if you remember, we studied two very different musicals a few years ago, Gentleman’s Guide and Beautiful and we graphed what happened to their grosses right after the nominations came out (see those fascinating case study results here).

I was also super-psyched to see four American writers up for the best play prize.  While plays may be having a tough time attracting big business this year amidst all the musicals, there is no question that the American Play is alive and kicking (and screaming, and punching, and laughing, too).

The next thing that stood out to me this year about the Tony nominations, wasn’t any of the nominations itself, it was the depth of choices in the categories, especially for Best Musical.

And, I know I’ve said this before, but I couldn’t help but wonder if we’d see an expansion of that specific category to include five musicals instead of four.  I don’t know of any year where I’ve seen so many shows (and successful ones) left out, including Anastasia, A Bronx Tale, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, War Paint, Bandstand, and Amelie.

Now, I know, the Tonys should be about excellence, if the nominating committee doesn’t feel like there are five shows worthy of the artistic nod, then so be it.  But here’s the thing, there is a mechanism in place to allow for five nominees . . . but in order to expand there has to be a minimum number of shows eligible (9) and there has to be 3 or fewer votes separating the 4th and 5th choice.

I’m a proponent of eliminating the 3 or fewer votes restriction (or at least increasing), and allowing the category to be expanded solely based on if there are more eligible shows.  Because, yes, while we do always want to maintain the artistic standards of the Tony Award, this is just the nominations, which I believe also should represent the depth and diversity of the Broadway season.

That said, this may be the first year where shows defiantly prove that they don’t need a nomination to survive and thrive.  Anastasia, Charlie, and A Bronx Tale have been doing quite well at the box office . . . so don’t expect them to disappear just because they didn’t get a nom for the big prize.  And when they get a performance slot on the show (and they will), they could sell more tickets than some of the nominees!

Whatever you thought about the noms, you can’t deny that this was an incredible Broadway season, with two totally original musicals amidst the four nominees, American plays and American actors crushing categories, and, well . . . unlike last year . . . just about every category could be a photo finish.

What did you think about the nominations this year? (For a full list, click here)

And if you think you can pick the winners, stay tuned, because we’ll be announcing our annual Tony Award pool this year!

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What did you think about the 2016 Tony Awards? Survey says . . .

I’m channeling my inner Richard Dawson today (or my inner Steve Harvey for those youngins out there) and revealing the results of our annual Tony Awards survey.

In case you missed it (and if you were subscribed to this blog you wouldn’t have – so take a moment and do that now), the morning after this year’s Tonys, I posted my usual recap of my Top 5 Favorite Tony Moments, and then put some questions to all of you.  Did you watch? How did this year’s compare to last year’s?  Et cetera, et cetera . . . as the King of Siam would say.

And now, I’m ready to reveal the results (along with some thoughts from me).

So, and this one’s for you Richard Dawson . . . “Survey says!”

  • 99.31% of Producer’s Perspective readers watched the Tony Awards.
  • On a scale of 1 to 10, here’s how you rated the Tony Awards Telecast:
    • 36.64% gave it a 10
    • 39.31% gave it a 9
    • 19.85% gave it an 8
    • That’s a 95.80% “8 or better” rating.
      • NOTE FROM KEN:  Last year’s “8 or better” rating was only 45.97%.  Satisfaction with the awards more than doubled!
  • Compared to last year’s telecast:
    • 45.45% said it was much better
    • 48.48% said it was better
    • 4.55% said it was the same
    • 1.14% said it was worse
    • 5.39% said it was much worse
  • On a scale of 1 to 10, here’s how you rated James Corden as the host:
    • 57.59% gave him a 10
    • 25.68% gave him a 9
    • 14.01% gave him an 8
      • NOTE FROM KEN :  The lowest rating Mr. Corden received was a 7.
  • Your favorite part of the telecast, ranked from highest to lowest was):
    • Production numbers – 39.39%
    • The opening number – 25.76%
    • Acceptance speeches – 10.98%
    • Other – 10.98%
    • The host – 5.68%
    • The stage door performances – 3.79%
    • Finding out who won – 1.89%
    • The closing number – 1.52%
    • The presenters – 0%
      • NOTE FROM KEN:  For core theater people, presenters don’t matter . . . but they might for the casual Tony Awards watcher.
  • Your least favorite part of the telecast was . . .
    • The stage door performances
    • Not all the awards being televised
    • Replay of Carpool Karaoke
  • Your favorite musical number was . . .
    • Hamilton – 28.79%
    • The Color Purple – 20.83%
    • Spring Awakening– 11.74%
    • School of Rock – 10.61%
    • Waitress – 7.58%
    • Shuffle Along – 7.20%
    • Bright Star – 5.30%
    • On Your Feet – 3.79%
    • Fiddler on the Roof – 1.89%
      • NOTE FROM KEN:  Interesting correlation:  two of the bottom four shows have closed or will be closing.
  • 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:
    • “Sign James Corden to a long term contract.”
    • “Televise the design award winners and speeches!”
    • “Bring back the Best Sound Design awards!”
    • “Show actual video segments of the nominated plays.”


And there she blows!  According to you, this was the best Tony Awards we have had in a while.  And it’s no wonder that the ratings were the highest we’ve seen in 15 years.

Was that because of Hamilton?

We’ll find out next year . . . when we don’t have Hamilton.

Although, actually, something tells me it just may make an appearance or two.


(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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My Top 5 Favorite Moments of the 2016 Tony Awards.

And mic drop!

The 2016 Tony Awards is in the books!

Ironically, I think it was the most anticipated Tony Awards I’ve ever seen in my 23 years in the biz, even though we all knew who was going to win.  (I expect when we announce tomorrow’s Tony Pool winners, we’ll have some very high scores.)

But the Tonys are not only about giving out hunks of metal that allow agents to ask for more money for their clients.  The Tony Awards telecast is one giant long infomercial for what we all do here.  It’s the most important night of the year for the theater, as we get to show everyone what we’re about . . . and also why they should spend more time with us throughout the year.

So how did the show do this year?

Well, this just in . . . as I predicted, the early ratings numbers indicate that the Tony Awards delivered a 6.8, which is up 33% (!) from last year . . . and is the highest we’ve had in 15 years!

Mic drop #2!

And in my opinion, all those additional viewers (I wish we could find out how many were tuning into the Tonys for the first time ever) got one heck of a show, arguably one of the best I’ve seen.

And here were my Top 5 Moments of the Tony Awards that made this telecast extra special to me:

1.  The Host with the Most

Watching James Corden in One Man, Two Guvnors years ago, I remember thinking, “Oh my god, we have a new Broadway star!”  And then, months before he was to star in Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, late night TV stole him right out from under us.  I shed a tear inside when that happened.  But you know what?  If we had to lose James Corden to TV only so he could come back and host the Tonys, well it was worth it.  Now we just have to hope the Academy Awards don’t steal him away.

2.  The Word of the Day is . . .

If you were playing a drinking game while watching the Tonys and had to do a shot every time someone said “Diversity,” you would have been plastered before Hamilton got their first award.  But what was great about this year’s Tonys was that diversity wasn’t just a word.  It was living and breathing on that stage . . . in the performances, in the nominees, in the winners, everywhere.  We’ve still got work to do . . . but as an industry we should be proud of what we’ve done, and the telecast painted a beautiful picture of all of the people who make Broadway the unique place that it is.

3.  From a 99 seat theater to the Tonys . . . 

It was only two years ago that the cast of Spring Awakening was performing in a basement black box theater in downtown Los Angeles . . . and now here they were, performing for the world.  I couldn’t have been prouder of their historic performance, and the message they were sending to the millions of people around the world tuning in.  While we didn’t win the award, in my opinion, we won a much bigger battle.  And I couldn’t be more thankful to the almost 2,000 people who helped make that performance possible.  Because without every single one of those people, it never would have happened.

4.  What the theater was designed to do.

When I saw the CNN Breaking News alert about the tragedy in Orlando when I woke up on Tony Sunday, I wondered how this would affect the telecast.  And then I remembered that this is what theater is all about.  It brings people together.  It gets people in a room.  It tells people they are not alone.  It honors. It consoles.  And it also entertains, so that in the darkest of circumstances, we can see that there will be light again.  The speech that opened the Tonys was actually pre-taped because James Corden so wanted to make sure it was right (as he told those of us in the theater right before he recorded it), and when he spoke his inspired words, you could feel the temperature in the theater drop from the chills we all got.

5.  Children will listen . . .

From the “This could be you!” opening number, to Blair Underwood’s kiss on the forehead of the Educator of the Year, to the numerous thank yous to teachers in acceptance speeches, to Josh Groban’s video turn as Tevye in high school, there was a real reach out to the youth of the world.  I know if I was a 13 year old girl who was interested in theater, I would have watched and been inspired to work harder to hope that one day I’d be standing on that stage.  Heck, I’m a 43 year old man, and it inspired me!  We know that not only are people more likely to participate in the arts later in life if they are get involved when they are kids, but more importantly we also know that people are much more likely to attend the arts if they are involved at a young age.  By reaching out to those kids directly (and the parents who have to drag those kids to the theater), the Tonys helped inspire the next generation of artists and audiences.


And now, what did you think of the telecast?

Let us know by filling out the survey below.  And we’ll publish the results right here on the blog in a few days.

Click here to take our Tony Award Telecast Survey now!

And stay tuned . . . the winner of our Tony Pool will be announced tomorrow!  (And it wasn’t me or my cute but Tony-challenged dog, that’s for sure.)


(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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The Sunday Giveaway: Something FREE and everyone wins.

That’s right . . . everyone wins today’s Sunday Giveaway!  No entry required!  You know what it is that we’re giving away???

Well, to be honest, we’re not giving it away.

CBS is.

That’s right, Broadway Junkies . . . it’s the Tony Awards!!!

And it’s free for everyone.

A little inside scoop . . . I’ve gotten to peek at a few rehearsals and let me tell you, it looks like it’s going to be fan-freakin’-tastic.  And since James Corden could make people laugh at a funeral, expect it to be super funny too.  (Although, I did ask the powers-that-be if they were going to put the Best Musical Award at the top of the show instead of the end, since it’s such a done deal.)

So watch!  We’ve got a shot at the highest ratings the telecast has ever had . . . so tune in!

Tonight on CBS at 8 PM EDT.

Oh, and keep your fingers crossed for Spring Awakening!


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

– – – – –


– WEBINAR ALERT: “Enhance This: Regional Enhancement Deals Explained” Wednesday, June 15 at 7PM ET. Click here to register.  Or get it for FREE when you join Pro.

– Listen to podcast episode #75 with André Bishop, Artistic Director of Lincoln Center Theater!  Click here.

– Get everything you need to help get your show off the ground when you join TheProducersPerspectivePro for free.  Join the club today.

Win up to $1,000 in my Tony Awards “Powerball” Pool!

It’s time to pick your winners!!!

Every year I have a Tony Award Pool right here on my blog.  And this year is no different.

Actually that’s not true.  This year is different.  Because this year, the prize is bigger.

Here’s how:

The person who guesses the most of this year’s picks correctly will win . . . $500 in Broadway Theater Tickets through a Ticketmaster or Telecharge gift certificate.

But that person COULD win $1,000 . . . if the Powerball comes in.

What’s the Powerball?

Can you guess?

I will double the prize for the winner . . .  if Spring Awakening wins the Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical. 🙂

Now that’s whether or not the Best Picker chooses Spring or not.  If Spring comes in, the prize gets multiplied by 2.

It’s Tony Awards Pool . . . Powerball style!

Oh, and the Mega Bonus Powerball gets the prize multiplied by 200!!!  That’s right, we’ll give away $100,000 . . . if Daddy Long Legs wins Best Musical.  😉

So, you ready to play???

This may all seems like fun and powerballs, but picking Tony Award winners takes some real Producerial acumen.  You gotta understand the art and the industry . . . and also have a leprechaun on your shoulder because sometimes, who the @#$% knows in this biz, right?

So before you start your pickin’, here are the rules.  And read ’em closely because one infraction and boom, you’re out, faster than a flop . . . do not pass go, do not collect $500 $1,000.

The rules are . . .

  • All questions are weighted the same. It’s just like an 8th grade exam. The person with the highest percentage of correct answers wins!
  • There is a tie-breaker.
  • In order to validate entries, only email subscribers to my blog are eligible. Subscribe to the blog today by visiting and entering your email address in the box on the right (you can always cancel your email subscription after the contest is over).  If you score a perfect score, but are not a subscriber, no $ for you!  And that would suck.  Subscribe!
  • Only 1 entry per person. Duplicate entries from an individual will void ALL entries from that individual.  And if you don’t think we can tell?  Try us.  Go ahead.  But let me just say, I was that kid that used to play on TRS-80 computers at Radio Shack in 1981.  So I can figure the tech out.
  • Please pay special attention to the final “Verification Page” for further information and validation requirements. If you fail to fill out all the required information, your entry will be invalid.
  • Voting will officially close at 11:59PM on Thursday, June 9th.

Ok, so you ready?

First, click here to make sure you’re a subscriber to the blog.

Second, click here to enter my Tony Awards Powerball Pool.

And come on Spring!!!


(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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