Stars of Broadway’s Matilda To Be Given Tony Honors for Excellence

Matilda Broadway MusicalThis past week the Tony Awards Administration Committee came together to determine various eligibility issues concerning shows from this Broadway season. One of the most anxiously awaited rulings was whether or not the four young performers who alternate in the title role of the musical Matilda will be eligible to share a Best Performance by an Actress in a Musical nomination. But though Billy Elliot had set a similar precedent when its three stars were nominated (and won), the committee decided not to allow Matilda‘s Milly Shapiro, Oona Laurence, Sophia Gennusa, and Bailey Ryon eligibility in the Best Actress category. Instead, the quartet will be given Tony Honors for Excellence in the Theatre because the committee felt that the young ladies deserved recognition for their “outstanding performances”. This makes the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) – Who developed the show – and Dodger Properties (The Producer of the show on Broadway) very happy as they can take this four-way Tony accolade all the way to the bank by squeezing the marketing juice out of this guaranteed honor pre and post Tony’s, making it unlike any other Tony award given this year.

Other decisions made by the committee included declaring Orphans eligible for Best Revival of a Play (even though it didn’t previously appear on Broadway), disallowing the Motown score award eligibility, and deciding that neither Manilow on Broadway nor The Rascals will be eligible for nomination. Most of the other decisions involved whether certain performers would be eligible in Leading or Featured acting nominations.

Sutton Foster and Jesse Tyler Ferguson To Announce Tony Nominees

Jesse Tyler Ferguson

Jesse Tyler Ferguson

The 2013 Tony Award nominations are set to be announced on April 30 at 8:30am. Two famous faces, known both on Broadway and on television, will make the announcements from the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center, located at Lincoln Center. The well-known performers in question are Tony winners Sutton Foster (Anything Goes, TV’s Bunheads) and Jesse Tyler Ferguson (The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee).

Other Broadway luminaries will be there along with Sutton Foster and Jesse Tyler Ferguson when the Tony Award nominees are announced. Noted Broadway costume designer and American Theatre Wing chairman William Ivey Long, American Theatre Wing executive director Heather Hitchens, Broadway League chairman Nick Scandalios, and Broadway League executive director Charlotte St. Martin will all be in attendance.

Once the Tony nominations are announced, it will be a little more than a month until the main event, the Tony Awards ceremony, is held on June 9. The Tonys will be broadcast live from Radio City Music Hall on the CBS network. Find more information at www.tonyawards.com.

A Broadway Show Has Got Have a Gimmick

Displaying a keen sense of humor, the infamous Broadway musical Spider-man Turn Off the Dark celebrated the Tony Awards last week by giving away free tickets to anyone named Tony (or with similar names such as Toni and Antonio). As a result, Spider-man was able to claim — with tongue firmly in cheek — that it had broken the record for most Tonys on Tony Sunday. It was a clever way for the musical, which only received nominations for Set and Costume design (it didn’t win in either category), to turn its general snubbing into a funny, press release-worthy news item.

Advertising and marketing gimmicks like this have a long history on Broadway, with producer David Merrick being one of the most notorious practitioners. Today, many of the gimmicks are internet-driven, such as the Instagram meet-up hosted by End of the Rainbow or Next To Normal‘s special live-tweet performance. The current Jesus Christ Superstar revival held a secret concert for fans, spreading the word through social media.

Some gimmicks, like Bonnie & Clyde‘s posting of “Wanted” posters around town, are designed to intrigue potential Broadway ticket buyers. Other gimmicks, like Dirty Rotten Scoundrels handing out free cast recording CDs to entire audiences, are done with the hopes of creating positive word-of-mouth and repeat business.

Gimmicky Broadway merchandise can be a great way to get people talking about a new Broadway show.  This season saw such buzzworthy promotional items as Evita tissues (“Don’t Cry For Me, Argentina”) and Stick Fly fly swatters.  Promo items are often passed out at events like “Broadway on Broadway” and the Broadway Flea Market, where superfans receive them and then pass on the word to their friends.  And in the age of Facebook and Twitter, this kind of marketing is even more effective, since people can instantly upload photos to show their friends.  In this way, the fans themselves are transformed into advertisers, proving that it pays to have a good gimmick.

Once Takes Top Honors at the 2012 Tony Awards

Many Broadway shows were honored at the 2012 Tony Awards this past Sunday evening, but it was the musical Once, based on the Irish indie film of the same name, that received the most recognition, nabbing eight Tonys (including Best Musical and Best Leading Actor for Steve Kazee).

Little-show-that-could Peter and the Starcatcher won the second largest number of Tony Awards, taking a total of five Tonys, including Best Featured Actor in a Play for Christian Borle (now well-known to TV audiences for his role as a Broadway songwriter in the NBC series Smash).

Beloved Broadway actress Audra McDonald received her fifth Tony Award, this time for her acclaimed performance in The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess, which took the Best Musical Revival award.

The Best Play award went to the Pulitzer Prize-winning play Clybourne Park, while the Best Revival of a Play award went to the sell-out production of Arthur Miller’s classic Death of a Salesman (co-starring Andrew Garfield, star of the new Spider-man movie).

Newsies, the Disney film flop that has now become a popular Broadway show, won Best Score (for lyricist Jack Feldman and composer Alan Menken), as well as Best Choreography for Christopher Gattelli’s energetic dance moves.

Hosted by Neil Patrick Harris, this year’s Tony Awards ceremony not only featured the presentation of the awards to this season’s winners, but also several musical performances (including a special performance by the cruise ship cast of Hairspray on the high seas) and special awards like one given to Hugh Jackman in recognition of the money he raised for charity while performing his solo show.

Starry Line-Up To Host 2009 Tony Awards

The presenters for the 63rd Annual Tony Awards ceremony have been announced, and it’s quite a starry line-up, full of theater celebrities (many who are currently appearing in Broadway shows) and well-known personalities from film and TV too. The stars currently scheduled to present awards and introduce the evening’s performances on the telecast are: Will Ferrell, Nicole Kidman, Jane Fonda, Kristin Chenoweth, Anne Hathaway (upcoming Twelfth Night in Central Park), Angela Lansbury (Blithe Spirit), Kevin Spacey, Lauren Graham and Oliver Platt (Guys and Dolls), Jessica Lange, Audra McDonald, Susan Sarandon (Exit the King), Carrie Fisher (upcoming Wishful Drinking), Piper Perabo (Reasons To Be Pretty), Lucie Arnaz, Kate Burton, Edie Falco, Hallie Foote, Colin Hanks, Frank Langella, David Hyde Pierce (Accent on Youth), John Stamos, Chandra Wilson, James Gandolfini, Marcia Gay Harden, Jeff Daniels and Hope Davis (God of Carnage). Neil Patrick Harris will host the ceremony, which will air on June 7, broadcast live from Radio City Music Hall in New York City.

2008 Tony Award Nominations Announced Today

This morning the nominations for the 62nd Annual Tony Awards were announced by David Hyde Pierce (Broadway’s Curtains, TV’s Frasier) and Sara Ramirez (TV’s Grey’s Anatomy, Broadway’s Spamalot), and the musical In the Heights came out on top with an impressive 13 nominations. Other musicals that did well were Passing Strange and the Broadway revivals of South Pacific and Sunday in the Park with George; August: Osage County fared particularly well among the plays. Given that all of these shows were well-reviewed, their success was expected, and today’s Tony nods actually yielded very few surprises. However, they have set up some pretty exciting contests for Tony night on June 15, when we’ll find out which Broadway shows and performers reign supreme. If you want to judge for yourself, make sure you see as many of the noms as possible before then. To get discount tickets to see nominees like Passing Strange, August, and Sunday, click here.