The Tony Awards on CBS -- maybe the last year?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Michael Reuben, Jun 4, 2002.

  1. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    CBS broadcast the Tonies (the Broadway equivalent of the Oscars) on Sunday, June 2, and the ratings were the lowest ever. I wonder whether CBS will just give up in future years and turn the whole thing over to PBS, which already broadcasts the first hour of the three-hour show.
    Not that I can blame anyone for skipping the show. It's probably unreasonable to expect most viewers to care about New York theater when most of them aren't likely to get here to see the shows (and many wouldn't go even if they came). Still, I enjoyed seeing the turnout at Radio City Music Hall, particularly coming in a season when, for a time after 9/11, Broadway wasn't sure how it would survive.
    The show itself was somewhat rushed and breathless, because one of its main functions is to serve as an advertisement for the nominated musicals, each of which presents a big number. That barely leaves enough time for the awards presentations.
    For a complete list of winners (and links to the nominations), go here.
    M.
     
  2. Gerard Priori

    Gerard Priori Stunt Coordinator

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    I'd much rather see the whole thing on PBS than CBS. Perhaps without the frequent commercial interruption we could have heard Elaine Stritch's entire acceptance speech, which was the most interesting speech of the evening.

    Conversely, since the entire awards show is little more than a commercial for the musicals running on Broadway, perhaps the theatrical producers should pay for the whole network broadcast as an enormous two-hour advertisement. While I enjoyed this year's show more than last year's (which was nothing more than a commercial for THE PRODUCERS, a show I absolutely loathe), I'm not surprised in the least that it had the lowest ratings ever; I'm surprised that anyone outside of NY is interested in the show at all.

    Either way, without commercials there'd be more room for interesting acceptance speeches. I'd welcome the change.

    -Jerry
     
  3. Rich Malloy

    Rich Malloy Producer

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    Broadway = Irrelevance.

    Might as well have a glitzy awards show for those lame Vegas hotel/casino extravaganzas.
     
  4. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    You surprise me, Rich. Usually you know what you're talking about.
    Do you consider Ibsen, Strindberg, Turgenev, Albee and Arthur Miller irrelevant? And how many of the following shows with nominations have you seen?
    Hedda Gabler
    Dance of Death
    Fortune's Fool
    The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia?
    Elaine Stritch at Liberty
    Private Lives
    Morning's at Seven
    The Man Who Had All the Luck
    Topdog/Underdog (this year's Pulitzer Prize winner for drama; by Susan-Lori Parks)
     
  5. Rich Malloy

    Rich Malloy Producer

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  6. Gerard Priori

    Gerard Priori Stunt Coordinator

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    I wouldn't object to two numbers from each nominated musical. Though, I'd prefer one longer number from each--the INTO THE WOODS medley was interesting, but I would rather see one number presented in context (perhaps the entire opening number). And I'd have liked the OKLAHOMA! number better if it included the verses and not just the chorus and dance break.

    Perhaps I'm overly cynical, but even Broadway itself seems little more than commercials for the touring company. I enjoyed the WOODS revival, but I preferred the original production in nearly every aspect. This new version didn't rethink and reinterpret the material as much as it made it more literal and road-friendly for the tour (which they announced the same day that the revival opened).

    But then there's ELAINE STRITCH AT LIBERTY, which was pure magic; and THE GOAT, which demonstrates that there are still new and intelligent tickets to be had among the overproduced revivals. Too bad neither of those shows had scenes on the Tony Awards. I used to love when they would do dramatic excerpts.

    -Jerry
     
  7. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    I hesitate to say, show business being so notoriously fickle, but the fact remains that we had more and better non-musical theater on Broadway this year than in any year I can remember since the "event" musicals swept into Times Square in the 80s. Whether this turns out to be a trend or a fluke is anyone's guess.
    M.
    P.S. Jerry and I seldom agree on shows, so the fact that we both liked Elaine Stritch's tour de force and the Albee play, The Goat, should tell you something.
     
  8. Mark Pfeiffer

    Mark Pfeiffer Screenwriter

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    I won't even pretend to have any idea what I'm talking about in relation to current Broadway productions, but I was pleased to see that Williamstown Theatre Festival won the regional theater Tony. I happened to catch a show there last summer while on vacation and was quite impressed. It's one of the few professional performances I've seen, and it was very good.

    Still, for those of us in flyover country, getting to Williamstown or NYC is a pretty good hike. I wonder, do you think DVDs of Broadway productions would build interest outside of the couple huge plays everyone's dying to see? Let's say that the DVD isn't released until after a major cast change or, if need be, after its run concludes. This way box office is minimally affected (just a presumption). Obviously there is no replacement for being there and seeing a live performance, but for those who don't live in New York or can only get there so often, this might be a way of spurring more interest. Thoughts?
     
  9. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    We had an interesting thread about this in Software. DavidF summed up the problem nicely:
     
  10. Gerard Priori

    Gerard Priori Stunt Coordinator

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    Michael, not only do we agree about ELAINE STRITCH and THE GOAT, but we agree about NOISES OFF, too. It's the funniest play I've ever seen and the revival is wonderful. I was as pleased as I was surprised to see Kinneran take home the Tony; she was hysterical.

    -Jerry
     
  11. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    "Kinneran" = "Katie Finneran", right? (It's a pretty good shorthand; maybe she goes by it! [​IMG] )
    I became a devoted fan of her work at Roundabout, where she's done several Shaw plays and a number of readings. When the Times' review of Noises Off singled her out as the show's revelation, I was delighted -- but not surprised.
    M.
     
  12. Jefferson

    Jefferson Supporting Actor

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    Someone above called it irrelevant? I've never considered the arts irrelevant.
    I'm in the biz, so I'm biased, but I don't think CBS needs to broadcast this again, if we can see it all commercial free on PBS.
     

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