Bruce Springsteen Awarded Non-Competitive Honor
On June 10, 2018, the Tony Awards will take place at Radio City Music Hall, when many artists will be vying for honors from Best Musical to Best Play to Best Performance to Best Direction. In addition, there are a handful of non-competitive awards that are given out each year. This year, two Special Tony Awards will be given to Bruce Springsteen and John Leguizamo. Bruce Springsteen has been attracting an influx of revenue into the Broadway marketplace due to his unparalleled star power and fanbase of boundless devotion. Playing performance weeks of four to five shows with occasional breaks since last October, Springsteen on Broadway has been competing at the top of the box office charts alongside hit musicals that run for 8 shows per week. With over 120 performances to date at the Walter Kerr Theatre, Springsteen has brought in over $56 million in box office gross revenue, with an average paid ticket price of $502.71. That is an incredible achievement for any show, and the event-based nature of Springsteen’s concert with a memoir component has been a true infusion of lifeblood into the Broadway industry. While Springsteen was not eligible for any of the traditional competitive awards, such as Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical, the Tony committee nonetheless wanted to honor his contribution to the field. From 2001 to 2009, there was a competitive Tony Award for Best Special Theatrical Event, but as that award is no longer in existence, it was appropriate for the committee to honor Springsteen with this Special Tony Award.
In addition to Bruce Springsteen, John Leguizamo will be awarded the same, non-competitive Special Tony Award at this year’s ceremony. Unlike Springsteen, Leguizamo is eligible for the competitive awards, as his specialty is solo shows, which do fit into the Play category. As such, Leguizamo was also honored with a nomination for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play for his show from this season, Latin History for Morons. Leguizamo started his theatre career in the downtown scene, making his way up to Broadway through perseverance and pizzazz. Prior to Latin History for Morons, he has had several other one-man shows on Broadway, including Freak, Sexaholix… A Love Story, and Ghetto Klown, in addition to appearing in the 2008 production of David Mamet’s American Buffalo. In addition, his shows Mambo Mouth, Spic-O-Rama, Freak, and Ghetto Klown all went on to be filmed for presentation on HBO. Latin History for Morons played Studio 54 from October 19, 2017 to February 25, 2017, directed by Tony Taccone. The show crammed 3,000 years of Latino history in 90 minutes, highlighting Leguizamo’s preternatural ability to transform into multiple characters onstage. The show became the first play to recoup this season, followed by Farinelli and the King.
Additional Non-Competitive Tony Awards
In addition to the two so-called Special Tony Awards given to Bruce Springsteen and John Leguizamo, there will be several more non-competitive awards given out at the ceremony. There will be two Tony Awards for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre presented to Chita Rivera and Andrew Lloyd Webber. I addition, the Tony Honors for Excellence in Theatre will be awarded to photographer Sara Krulwich, costume beader Bessie Nelson, and Broadway dry cleaning service Ernest Winzer Clearners. Furthermore, the Isabelle Stevenson Award will be presented to Nick Scandalios, the Executive Vice President of the Nederlander Organization. Finally, the Regional Theatre Tony Award will be awarded to La MaMa E.T.C. (Experimental Theatre Club) of New York City, which comes with a monetary grant of $25,000.