My Top 5 Favorite Moments of the 2017 Tony Awards.

Well, another Tony Awards is in the books!

And, I gotta say, when Michael Aronov won for Oslo at the top of the show over the beloved Danny DeVito, I thought we were in for a night of surprises (some of you who were following me live tweeting the show may have even caught my quickly deleted tweet congratulating Mr. Aronov, with a link to Danny DeVito’s Taxi clips!  Oops!  I had admittedly prepped the DeVito tweet before it was announced and forget to remove the link!  #TweetPas).

But after that, things settled down, and the odds makers earned their money, with most of the awards going as the pundits called them.  And while I’m disappointed that my Groundhog Day and even more so that my original Altar Boyz  cast member, Andy Karl, didn’t walk away with a hunk of metal for his mantelpiece, at least they were bested by a terrific show and a terrific talent.

So now . . . on to the telecast itself.  What did I think?

Well, without further adieu, here are my Top 5 Moments of the 2017 Tony Awards Telecast.

1. That Time When the Co-Producers Rushed The Stage.

It wasn’t written about too much, but there was quite a scandal brewing last week, when the Producers of nominated shows were told they could only have a total of six people on the stage.  This was an attempt to prevent the many Co-Producers out there from flooding the stage when their show won and making it look like it took the state of Delaware to produce a new play.

The problem is, there are more than six people in the hair department of most big Broadway musicals, so I’m not sure how this was expected to go down.  And it didn’t.  Jitney broke the ice, and then all the others, Mr. Rudin’s Hello, Dolly! most prominently, followed.  And, I can’t blame them.  Co-Producers are who we count on in this business to help us get these shows off the ground, especially the risky ones (my Spring Awakening never would have happened without my tenacious Co-Producers and I think we’re all better off for it).  So is keeping them off a stage the best way to distinguish between what Lead Producers do and what Co-Producers do?

2.  That Time When The Playwrights Were Given A Voice.

“So . . . how are we going to represent the plays?”

I feel like this is a question that gets asked every year at the first Tony Awards meeting.  And what I love, is that every year, they try something different . . . trying to find the magical combination of marketing and respect.  This year, they let the playwrights tell the audience directly what their play was about.  It was simple, honest, and confident.  We’re not pandering.  We’re playwrights.  We’ve written this.  See it.  Or don’t.  But we’re proud of it.  Will it sell tons of tickets?  Probably not.  But I loved seeing the faces of people we don’t see very often.  And hearing them speak.  And, oh, I also loved that it was the Broadway debut for all four of them.  And 50% of them were women.

3.  That Time Kevin Spacey Impersonated . . . Everyone.

The best award shows don’t force their hosts to do something.  They let them do whatever they do best.  And what we learned, is that Kevin Spacey can impersonate the @#$% out of a ton of people.  I mean, that Johnny Carson impersonation?   Wow.  If this acting thing doesn’t work out, Kevin has a career as a Las Vegas lounge act like tomorrow.  Move over Rich Little, Kevin Spacey is a comin’!

Overall, Kevin was funny, classy, charming, and even did a little hoofin’.  I’d be lying if I didn’t scroll through the list of roles in classic musicals he could play (comment below if you’ve got any good ideas and I’ll bring them to him!).

4.  That Time They Had An In Memoriam.

Remember that one time they didn’t have an In Memoriam section?  Yeah, well, thank G-d that’s over.  Because this one was a classic.  The cast, the song . . . the truth is, if we have time for The Rockettes, then we have time to honor the men and women who helped build the theater as we know it.  Honor what has gone before us, so they’ll look out for us as we go forward into the future . . . that’s what I say.  Well done, Tonys.   Well done.

5.  That Time Bette Midler Gave A Speech.

Ok, so the WHOLE speech wasn’t one of my Top 5 moments, because after a while, it got a wee bit awkward, didn’t it?  At least they stopped playing the music and didn’t cut her off and cut to commercial like they did to Elaine Stritch years ago.  But still . . . whew . . . it went on a little long.

That said, something she said at the beginning of her speech was one of my favorite moments of the telecast.  She said that performing in Hello, Dolly! was, “one of the greatest professional experiences of my life.”

Let me repeat that . . . it was “one of the greatest professional experiences of my entire life.”

Whenever a star of Bette’s magnitude says something like that, it’s like those famous EF Hutton Ads from the early 80s . . . everybody listens . . . especially other A+ list stars like Bette.

And then they come here.

And they bring new audiences.

And the theater grows.

Which is the most important thing of all.

Oh, and in case you missed it, Bette later tweeted that despite that lengthy speech, she forgot to thank someone. 🙂

BONUS . . . Here’s my 6TH favorite moment!

6.  Originality Wins. 

As I said, and you know, I was up for Best Musical with Groundhog Day.  And we didn’t win.  And that sucks.  But I’m a big boy (and also a Broadway blogger – so if I didn’t know we weren’t going to win then someone should take my WordPress away from me).

But I tell you something . . . if I’m going to lose, I love losing to one of the rarest things on this artistic planet . . . a totally new, original musical, not based on a movie, a book, or an anything.  And it’s a bonus when that idea is commercially successful.  Congrats to the entire Dear Evan Hansen team on a brilliant collaboration of art and commerce.

And let this open up a new era of originality on Broadway.


So those were my Top 5 6 Tony Award Moments of 2017.  What were yours?

And what did you think of the telecast?  (If you need to see a list of the winners, click here.)

WAIT!  Before you answer . . . click here to take our survey!  And I’ll pull all the answers together and report them right here on my blog.  That’s right, forget the real ratings, we’re going to take a look at the ratings that count . . . the ratings from my super smart, ProducersPerspective readers!

Click here to take our 2017 Tony Award Survey!

– – – – –

Want to learn how to get your show from the page to the stage? Join my community of theater professionals on TheProducersPerspectivePRO, plus get instant access to 30+ hours of training, monthly newsletters and networking opportunities, producer contact lists, and so much more! To join TheProducersPerspectivePROclick here!


Results Revealed: Who YOU think is going to win the Tony Awards.

Ok, just one more prediction post to make all the nominees just a wee bit more nervy before tomorrow’s big day.

But as I said yesterday in my “What Really Excites Me About This Year’s Tonys” post, I’m not making predictions this year.  So these picks ain’t mine.

They’re yours.

Say what?

Here’s how I got ’em . . . and no, I didn’t ask any Russian operatives to hack into your computers to tell me what you’ve been texting about.

A few weeks ago, I announced our annual Tony Pool, where the winner is going to get $500 worth of Broadway tix (stay tuned on Tuesday for the results).  So, I simply took the hundreds of entries (we had more entries than there are actual Tony voters!) and looked at who the majority of you think are going to win.

And, for the first time, I’m including the % of the votes each nominee received, so you can see the margin by which you think the winner will take it all, and what got a mandate and what didn’t.  (Wouldn’t it be great if the actual Tonys gave us some sort of spread so we could see how close these winners are?)

Are you ready?  Here is who YOU think is going to win tomorrow night’s trophies:

Best Play

Oslo: 52%

Best Musical

Dear Evan Hansen: 66%

Best Revival of a Play

August Wilson’s Jitney: 50%

Best Revival of a Musical

Hello, Dolly!: 88%

Best Book of a Musical

Dear Evan Hansen: 67%

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

Dear Evan Hansen/ Benj Pasek and Justin Paul: 74%

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

Kevin Kline, Present Laughter: 63%

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

Laurie Metcalf, A Doll’s House, Part 2: 55%

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

Ben Platt, Dear Evan Hansen: 79%

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

Bette Midler, Hello, Dolly!: 84%

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

Danny DeVito, Arthur Miller’s The Price: 84%

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

Cynthia Nixon, Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes: 57%

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

Gavin Creel, Hello, Dolly!: 44%

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

Rachel Bay Jones, Dear Evan Hansen: 38%

Best Scenic Design of a Play

Nigel Hook, The Play That Goes Wrong: 49%

Best Scenic Design of a Musical

Mimi Lien, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812: 81%

Best Costume Design of a Play

Jane Greenwood, Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes: 60%

Best Costume Design of a Musical

Paloma Young, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812: 35%

Best Lighting Design of a Play

Christopher Akerlind, Indecent: 38%

Best Lighting Design of a Musical

Bradley King, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812: 64%

Best Direction of a Play:

Bartlett Sher, Oslo: 50%

Best Direction of a Musical

Michael Greif, Dear Evan Hansen: 39%

Best Choreography

Andy Blankenbuehler, Bandstand: 41%

Best Orchestrations

Dave Malloy, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812: 41%


So that’s who YOU think is going to win.  And, well, I love you guys, but I think there will be a few surprises from this list tomorrow night.

Check in on Tuesday to see which one of you won the $500 in Broadway tickets AND to see how you all did!

Oh – and I’ll  be live tweetin’ The Tony Awards, so make sure follow me here.

– – – – –

Want to learn how to get your show from the page to the stage? Join my community of theater professionals on TheProducersPerspectivePRO, plus get instant access to 30+ hours of training, monthly newsletters and networking opportunities, producer contact lists, and so much more! To join TheProducersPerspectivePROclick here!


What really excites me about this year’s Tony Awards.

In 48 hours, the weeks, months, and years of anticipation for so many will be over.  (That’s right, I said years . . . because who doesn’t come up for an idea of a musical and think, “Maybe someday we’ll win a Tony Award!”)

And I’m more excited for this year’s Tony Awards than I’ve ever been.

Is it because I’m nominated for Groundhog Day?

Sure, that’s exciting, but that’s not what is really tickling my ivories this morning.

It actually has to do with a couple of the other nominees for Best Musical. That’s right, I’m excited about my competition.

I’ve already said it on Twitter and in interviews, but this is one of the most exciting years we’ve had on Broadway, thanks to the incredible array of unique material that went all the way from that light bulb moment one of our artist-repreneurs had years ago, to this Sunday’s Tony Awards.

But more specifically, as Michael Paulson said in his always suspenseful and fun “Who will win?” article published this AM, what has me excited about this year is that two of the musicals vying for the top prize, Dear Evan Hansen and Come From Away, are, in Michae’s words, “unlikely subjects for musical theater.”

He’s so right.  Although I would have actually said it a bit differently.

I would have said that both DEH and Come From Away are unlikely subjects for Broadway musical theater.

Before they opened, both had word-of-mouth long lines that would have had most commercial Producers doubling down on their Xanax prescriptions.

DEH was known as the teenage suicide musical.

Come From Away was known as the 9/11 musical.

Of course, once they opened they proved to be so much more than that.

And now, these two “unlikely subjects for musical theater” are in a super tight four way race for Best Freekin’ Musical.

But that’s STILL not what gets me all tingly in my special musical theater Producer place.

What has got me so excited about what the future holds for Broadway and for writers of the theater is that both . . . BOTH of these shows . . . are commercially successful.

Since opening, Dear Evan Hansen has grossed an average of $1,123,553 per week and Come From Away has grossed an average of $927,788 per week.


While neither show has announced recoupment (I’d suspect that DEH has gotten there on paper or is just about to), I’d put my money on both of them going in the “win” column commercially, both on Broadway and on the road.

See, there have been unlikely subjects for musical theater before . . . but two in one year, that are both nominated, and that are both are getting big audiences?

That’s awesome.

So why is this happening?

First, the shows are good

But it goes beyond that.

The success of both shows has to do with something I’m calling the Hamilton Halo Effect.

You see last year along came one of the most original and unique shows that we’ve seen in a decades.  It was a subject matter that people didn’t think could be a musical (especially if you just tried to pick UP Ron Chernow’s tome of a book, never mind tried to read it), told in a musical style that traditional audiences actually turn AWAY from, and cast so non traditionally that on paper it was just plain confusing.

But when performed, it was literally historic.

And audiences so took to it, that their defenses came down about original material.  Their taste buds expanded.  And because of the Hamilton Halo Effect, they are now willing to give unique and original material a show . . . even if it seems like unlikely fare for Broadway musical theater.

So no matter who takes home the big prize on Sunday . . . we’re all winners as a result.  Because it’s common for the Awards committees to embrace “unlikely” fare . . . but when audiences do it, in encourages writers to push our theatrical comfort zones even more.

And that’s where the awesome stuff is.

Good luck to all on Sunday!

(Hear the Producers of Come From Away talk about their journey to Broadway on my podcast, and hear the Producer of Dear Evan Hansen discuss hers here and the authors here.  All are incredibly inspiring sessions with terrific lessons in the guts it takes to produce and create something original on Broadway.)

Oh, and P.S. you may be asking yourself, “Ken, where are your predictions this year?”  Yes, it’s true, every year I usually publicly predict who will win trophies on Tony Sunday.  But, as I find myself involved with more shows as a Producer, and with more shows as this guy’s representative, I found myself a little too conflicted, and I started to get a bit concerned I wouldn’t be 101% honest publicly or that people wouldn’t believe me to be.  And that’s so important to me.  So if you want to know who I think is going to win, you’re gonna have to bump into me in a dark alley somewhere.  🙂

– – – – –

Do you dream of being able to write, produce or direct full-time? Join my community of theater professionals on TheProducersPerspectivePRO who are all working to achieve their goals, plus get instant access to 30+ hours of training, monthly newsletters and networking opportunities, and so much more! Join TheProducersPerspectivePRO today!

Win up to $1,000 in my 2017 Tony Awards “Powerball” Pool!

Ok, all you Amazing Kreskins out there . . . it’s time to put those Tony-pickin’ mad skillz of yours to work.

I know you’ve all been whispering at the water cooler about who you think will win Tony Awards before the season even began, so now it’s time to put you to the test.

And a test it will certainly be, because this year has more hotly contested categories than I’ve seen in over a decade.

So are you ready?

This isn’t just for fun, kiddos. Oh no, not only do we give away $500 to the winner, but when you think about it, whoever can pick Tony winners, well you’ve got a career as a Producer in your future (since picking winners is a lot of what we try to do!)

And wait, did I say $500?  Scratch that. And double it!  Because this year, we’re also reviving our “Powerball” version of the awards, since I’ve got a horse in the race.

That’s right, the person who scores the highest in our pool will win . . . $500 in Broadway Theater Tickets through a Ticketmaster or Telecharge gift certificate.

But if the Powerball comes in, I’ll double the prize to $1,000.

What is the Powerball, you ask?

The Powerball is . . . my Powerball.

The prize pot gets doubled if Groundhog Day wins Best Musical!

If my ship comes in . . . so does yours.

So let’s play!

Here are the rules . . .

  • 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.  And face the disappointment.
  • 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 8th.

So come on Tony handicappers, lets see what you are made of.

Enter here!

– – – – –

Do you dream of being able to write, produce or direct full-time? Join my community of theater professionals on TheProducersPerspectivePRO who are all working to achieve their goals, plus get instant access to 30+ hours of training, monthly newsletters and networking opportunities, and so much more! Join TheProducersPerspectivePRO today!

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!

– – – – –

Want to learn how to get your show from the page to the stage? Join my community of theater professionals on TheProducersPerspectivePRO, plus get instant access to 30+ hours of training, monthly newsletters and networking opportunities, producer contact lists, and so much more! To join TheProducersPerspectivePROclick here!