|67th Tony Awards|
Designed by Herman Rosse, 1949
|Awarded for||Excellence in Broadway theatre|
|Presented by||American Theatre Wing and The Broadway League|
The Antoinette Perry Award for Excellence in Theatre, more commonly known informally as the Tony Award, recognizes achievement in live Broadway theatre. The awards are presented by the American Theatre Wing and The Broadway League at an annual ceremony in New York City. The awards are given for Broadway productions and performances, and an award is given for regional theatre. Several discretionary non-competitive awards are also given, including a Special Tony Award, the Tony Honors for Excellence in Theatre, and the Isabelle Stevenson Award. The awards are named after Antoinette Perry, co-founder of the American Theatre Wing.
The rules for the Tony Awards are set forth in the official document "Rules and Regulations of The American Theatre Wing's Tony Awards", which applies for that season only. The Tony Awards are considered the highest U.S. theatre honor, the New York theatre industry's equivalent to the Academy Awards (Oscars) for motion pictures, the Grammy Awards for music and the Emmy Awards for television, and the Laurence Olivier Award for theatre in the UK and the Molière Award of France.
From 1997 to 2010, the Tony Awards ceremony was held at Radio City Music Hall in New York City in June and broadcast live on CBS television, except in 1999, when it was held at the Gershwin Theatre. In 2011 and 2012, the ceremony was held at the Beacon Theatre. The 67th Tony Awards will return to Radio City Music Hall on June 9, 2013.
As of 2011[update] there are 26 categories of awards, plus several special awards. Starting with 11 awards in 1947, the names and number of categories have changed over the years; a complete history of each award category was published in 2005.
A newly established non-competitive award, The Isabelle Stevenson Award, was given for the first time at the awards ceremony in 2009. The award is for an individual who has made a "substantial contribution of volunteered time and effort on behalf of one or more humanitarian, social service or charitable organizations."
The category of Special Theatrical Event was retired as of the 2009–2010 season.
- Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play
- Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play
- Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical
- Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical
- Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play
- Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Play
- Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical
- Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical
Show and technical categories
- Regional Theatre Tony Award
- Special Tony Award (includes Lifetime Achievement Award)
- Tony Honors for Excellence in Theatre
- Isabelle Stevenson Award
- Tony Award for Best Author
- Best Conductor and Musical Director
- Tony Award for Best Revival (replaced by separate musical and play awards)
- Tony Award for Best Stage Technician
- Best Special Theatrical Event
- Best Director (split into two categories: Best Direction of a Musical and Best Direction of a Play)
The award was founded in 1947 by a committee of the American Theatre Wing headed by Brock Pemberton. The award is named after Antoinette Perry, an actress, director, producer and co-founder of the American Theatre Wing, who died in 1946.
The first awards ceremony was held on April 6, 1947, at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York City. The first prizes were "a scroll, cigarette lighter and articles of jewelry such as 14-carat gold compacts and bracelets for the women, and money clips for the men." It was not until the third awards ceremony in 1949 that the first Tony medallion was given to award winners.
Awarded by a panel of approximately 700 judges from various areas of the entertainment industry and press, the Tony Award is generally regarded as the theatre's equivalent to the Oscars, for excellence in film; the Grammys for the music industry, and the Emmys for excellence in television. In British theatre, the equivalent of the Tony Award is the Laurence Olivier Award. A number of the world's longest-running and most successful shows, as well as some actors, directors, choreographers and designers, have received both Tony Awards and Olivier Awards.
Since 1967, the award ceremony has been broadcast on U.S. national television and includes songs from the nominated musicals, and occasionally has included video clips of, or presentations about, nominated plays. The American Theatre Wing and The Broadway League jointly present and administer the awards. Audience size for the telecast is generally well below that of the Academy Awards shows, but the program reaches an affluent audience, which is prized by advertisers. According to an article in The New York Times: "What the Tony broadcast does have, say CBS officials, is an all-important demographic: rich and smart. Jack Sussman, CBS's senior vice president in charge of specials, said the Tony show sold almost all its advertising slots shortly after CBS announced it would present the three hours. 'It draws upscale premium viewers who are attractive to upscale premium advertisers,' Mr. Sussman said..." The viewership has declined from the early years of its broadcast history (for example, the number of viewers in 1974 was 20,026,000, in 1999 9,155,000) but has settled into between six and eight million viewers for most of the decade of the 2000s. In contrast, the 2009 Oscar telecast had 36.3 million viewers.
The Tony Award medallion was designed by Art Director Herman Rosse and is a mix of mostly brass and a little bronze, with a nickel plating on the outside; a black acrylic glass base, and the nickel-plated pewter swivel. The face of the medallion portrays an adaptation of the comedy and tragedy masks. Originally, the reverse side had a relief profile of Antoinette Perry; today it contains the winner's name, award category, production and year. The medallion has been mounted on a black base since 1967.
A larger base was introduced in time for the 2010 award ceremony. The new base is slightly taller—5 inches (13 cm), up from 3 inches (8.3 cm)—and heavier— 1⁄43 pounds (1.6 kg), up from 1⁄21 pounds (680 grams). This change was implemented to make the award "feel more substantial" and easier to handle at the moment the award is presented to the winners. According to Howard Sherman, the executive director of the American Theatre Wing: 1⁄2
We know the physical scale of the Oscars, Emmys and Grammys. While we’re not attempting to keep up with the Joneses, we felt this is a significant award, and it could feel and look a bit more significant.
By adding height, now someone can grip the Tony, raise it over their head in triumph and not worry about keeping their grip. Believe me, you can tell the difference.
Details of the Tony Awards
Source: Tony Awards Official Site, Rules
Rules for a new play or musical
For the purposes of the award, a new play or musical is one that has not previously been produced on Broadway and is not "determined to be 'classic' or in the historical or popular repertoire", as determined by the Administration Committee, (per Section (2g)of the Rules and Regulations). This phrase has been the subject of some controversy, as some shows have been ruled ineligible for the new categories, meaning that their authors did not have a chance to win the marquee awards of Best Play or Best Musical (or Best Score or Best Book for musicals). On the other hand, some people[who?] feel that allowing plays and musicals that have been frequently produced to be eligible as new gives them an unfair advantage, because they will have benefited from additional development time as well as additional familiarity with the Tony voters. Shows recently transferred from Off-Broadway or the West End are eligible as new, as are productions based closely on movies.
Committees and voters
The Administration Committee has 24 members: 10 designated by the American Wing, 10 by The Broadway League, and one each by the Dramatists Guild, Actors' Equity Association, United Scenic Artists and the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers. This committee, among other duties, determines eligibility for nominations in all awards categories.
The Nominating Committee makes the nominations for the various categories. This rotating group of theatre professionals is selected by the Tony Awards Administration Committee. Nominators serve three-year terms and are asked to see every new Broadway production. The Nominating Committee for the 2012-13 Broadway season (named in June 2012) has 42 members.
There are approximately 700 eligible Tony Award voters, a number that changes slightly from year to year and was decreased in 2009 when the first-night critics were excluded as voters. These include the board of directors and designated members of the advisory committee of the American Theatre Wing; members of the governing boards of Actors' Equity Association, the Dramatists Guild, the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers, United Scenic Artists, and the Association of Theatrical Press Agents and Managers; members of the Theatrical Council of the Casting Society of America; and voting members of The Broadway League.
Eligibility date (Season)
To be eligible for Tony Award consideration, a production must have officially opened on Broadway by the eligibility date that the Management Committee establishes each year. For example, the cut-off date for eligibility the 2011–12 season was April 26, 2012. The season for Tony Award eligibility is defined in the Rules and Regulations.
A Broadway theatre is defined as having 500 or more seats, among other requirements. While the Rules define a Broadway theatre in terms of its size, not its geographical location, the list of Broadway theatres is determined solely by the Tony Awards Administration Committee. As of the 2010–2011 season, the list consists solely of the 40 theaters located in the vicinity of Times Square in New York City and Lincoln Center's Vivian Beaumont Theater.
While the theatre-going public may consider the Tony Awards to be the Oscars of live theatre, critics have suggested that the Tony Awards are primarily a promotional vehicle for a small number of large production companies and theatre owners in New York City. Only shows playing in one of 40 large Broadway theatres designated by the Tony Awards Management Committee are eligible for the Tony Awards. Only a portion of the Broadway theatres feature a new production in any given season, and there are 27 award categories, so most new shows receive one or more nominations.
Producers say that the Tony Award is the only award that sells tickets. "Winning best musical or best play, they say, means money in the bank."
Some notable records and facts about the Tony Awards include the following:
- Wins: The most Tony Awards ever received by a single production was the musical The Producers (2001) with 12 awards, including best musical.
- Non-musical wins: The most Tonys ever received by a non-musical play was The Coast of Utopia (2007) with seven awards, including best play.
- Most nominated with fewer wins: The musical The Scottsboro Boys (2011) was nominated for 12 Tony Awards but did not win any. It also holds the record for most nominations for a closed show (having closed nearly six months before the Tony Awards).
- Three productions, all musicals, have won all "big six" awards for their category: South Pacific (1950 awards), Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (1979 awards) and Hairspray (2003 awards); each won the Best Musical, Best Score, Best Book, Best Performance by a Leading Actor, Best Performance by a Leading Actress and Best Direction awards.
- Acting Awards: Only one production, South Pacific (1950 awards), has won all four of the acting awards in a single year.
- Words and Music: Only four musicals have won the Tony Award for Best Musical when a person had (co-)written the Book (non-sung dialogue and storyline) and the Score (music and lyrics): 1958 winner The Music Man (Meredith Willson – award for Book and Score did not exist that year), 1986 winner The Mystery of Edwin Drood (Rupert Holmes – who also won for Book and Score), 1996 winner Rent (Jonathan Larson – who also won for Book and Score), and 2011 winner The Book of Mormon (Trey Parker, Robert Lopez, and Matt Stone also won for Book and Score).
- Design Awards: Eight shows have swept the design awards (original 3 of Best Scenic Design, Best Costume Design, Best Lighting Design – joined by Best Sound Design starting in 2008): Follies (1972), The Phantom of the Opera (1986), The Lion King (1998), The Producers (2001), The Light in the Piazza (2005), The Coast of Utopia (2007), the 2008 revival of South Pacific (first to sweep the expanded 4 awards for Creative Arts) and Peter and the Starcatcher (first straight play to sweep the expanded four awards for Creative Arts) (2012).
- Revivals: Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller in 1999 became the first show (play or musical) to win as Best Production in four different years, Best Play at the 1949 awards, Best Revival at the 1984 awards (before the Best Revival award was split into two categories for Play and Musical in 1994), and Best Revival of a Play at the 1999 and 2012 awards. La Cage aux Folles made history as the first musical to win as Best Production in three different years, Best Musical at the 1984 awards and Best Revival of a Musical at both the 2005 awards and the 2010 awards.
- Wins: Harold Prince has won 21 Tony Awards, more than anyone else, including eight for directing, eight for producing, two as producer of a year's Best Musical, and three special Tony Awards. Tommy Tune has won nine Tony Awards including three for direction, four for choreography, and two for performing. Stephen Sondheim has won more Tony Awards than any other composer, with eight. Bob Fosse has won the most Tonys for choreography, also eight. Oliver Smith has won a record eight scenic design Tony Awards. Jules Fisher has won the most lighting design awards, also eight. Julie Harris, Angela Lansbury, and Audra McDonald tie for the most performance Tony Awards with five each.
- Most nominations: Along with her record of five performance wins, Julie Harris also has been nominated more often than any other performer, a total of ten times.
- Performers in two categories: Four performers (all actresses) have been nominated in two acting categories in the same year: Amanda Plummer, Dana Ivey, Kate Burton, and Jan Maxwell. Plummer in 1982 was nominated for Best Actress in a Play for A Taste of Honey and Best Featured Actress in a Play for Agnes of God, for which she won. Ivey in 1984 was nominated as Best Featured Actress in Musical for Sunday in the Park with George and Best Featured Actress in a Play for Heartbreak House. In 2002, Burton was nominated for Best Actress in Play for Hedda Gabler and Best Featured Actress in a Play for The Elephant Man. Maxwell was nominated in 2010 for Best Actress in a Play for The Royal Family and Best Featured Actress in a Play for Lend Me a Tenor.
- Performers in all categories: Four performers have been nominated for all four performance awards for which a performer is eligible. Boyd Gaines was the first performer to be nominated for each of Best Featured Actor in a Play in 1989 for The Heidi Chronicles, Best Actor in a Musical in 1994 for She Loves Me, Best Featured Actor in a Musical in 2000 for Contact (and again in 2008 for Gypsy) and Best Actor in a Play in 2007 for Journey's End. Gaines won in three of the categories (and four of the five nominations), missing only for the performance in Journey's End. Raúl Esparza was the second performer to be nominated in all four categories (no wins), achieving this over a mere six seasons: Best Featured Actor in a Musical in 2004 for Taboo, Best Actor in a Musical in 2007 for Company, Best Featured Actor in a Play in 2008 for The Homecoming, and Best Actor in a Play in 2009 for Speed-the-Plow. Angela Lansbury was the third performer to be nominated for all four performance awards. She won Best Actress in a Musical for Mame (1966), Dear World (1969), Gypsy (1975), and Sweeney Todd (1979). She was nominated for Best Actress in a Play for Deuce in 2007. She won Best Featured Actress in a Play for Blithe Spirit in 2009. She was nominated for Featured Actress in a Musical for A Little Night Music in 2010. Jan Maxwell became the fourth performer to achieve this distinction by being nominated for Best Featured Actress in a Musical for Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (2005), Best Featured Actress in a Play for Coram Boy (2007) and Lend Me a Tenor (2010), Best Actress in a Play for The Royal Family (2010), and Best Actress in a Musical for Follies (2012).
- Performers Playing Opposite Sex: While several performers have won Tonys for roles that have involved cross dressing, only two have won for playing a character of the opposite sex: Mary Martin in the title role of Peter Pan (1955) and Harvey Fierstein as Edna Turnblad in Hairspray (2003). In 2000, Australian actor Barry Humphries won the Special Tony Award for a live theatrical event at the 55th Annual Tony Awards for Dame Edna: The Royal Tour, Dame Edna being his "Melbourne Housewife" alter-ego who was recently on Broadway in the show All About Me.
- Shared Performances: All three of the young actors who shared the duties of performing the lead character in Billy Elliot the Musical (2009 awards) — David Alvarez, Trent Kowalik and Kiril Kulish — also shared a single nomination, then shared the win, for Best Actor in a Musical. Previously, the only prior joint winners were John Kani and Winston Ntshona, who shared the Best Actor in a Play award in 1975 for Sizwe Banzi is Dead and The Island, two plays they co-wrote and co-starred in.
- First female to win Best Direction of a Musical: Julie Taymor for The Lion King in 1998.
- First female to win Best Direction of a Play: Garry Hynes for The Beauty Queen of Leenane in 1998.
- First female author to win Best Play: Frances Goodrich with her partner (and husband) Albert Hackett for The Diary of Anne Frank in 1956; Wendy Wasserstein for The Heidi Chronicles in 1989 was the first solo winner.
- First African-American author to win Best Play: Joseph A. Walker for The River Niger in 1974.
- First African-American to win Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play: Phylicia Rashad for A Raisin in the Sun in 2004.
- First African-American to win Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play: James Earl Jones for The Great White Hope in 1969.
- First African-American to win Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical: Cleavon Little for Purlie in 1970.
- First African-American to win Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical: Diahann Carroll for No Strings in 1962.
- The League of American Theatres and Producers was renamed "The Broadway League", Gans, Andrew."League of American Theatres and Producers Announces Name Change", Playbill, December 18, 2007
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