Magazine article Variety

'Hamilton' a Burr in Side of Musical Rivals

Magazine article Variety

'Hamilton' a Burr in Side of Musical Rivals

Article excerpt

WITH THE TONY AWARDS looming on June 12, it's campaign season on Broadway. But as "Hamilton" dominates the Zeitgeist and stands poised to land the top awards, campaigns look a little different this year.

"In another year, I would work very, very hard to let people know who were are and what we're doing," says producer Barry Weissler, whose new musical "Waitress," based on the 2007 Adrienne Shelly film, is competing with "Hamilton" for the top prize for new musical. "This year, we're doing what we can. But everyone votes for 'Hamilton.' That's not a secret."

In general, producers are shelling out less money on marketing during this campaign season than in prior years, according to one advertising insider.

"In terms of the campaign, we're certainly not spending as much money in the paper this year as we did with 'A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder,'" says producer Joey Pames. "Because it feels kind of obvious what's likely to happen."

Parnés is the lead producer of "Bright Star," another show in the running for the new musical title opposite "Hamilton." In 2014, he was the producer of "Gentleman's Guide," which concocted an elaborate Tony Awards push built around gleefully macabre nods to all its competition on Broadway. "Gentleman's Guide" emerged with four awards, including the trophy for new musical.

"In that kind of atmosphere, where there wasn't a clear frontrunner, it did push us to really create a thought-out campaign in terms of advertising and press, to get the word out not just to the general public but to that lovely group of Tony voters," Pames says. "This year, we're doing a lot more online stuff. And being on the Tony telecast might not hurt either."

Therein lies one of possible silver linings for the nominated shows caught in the long shadow of "Hamilton." With interest in the founding-fathers musical approaching stratospheric levels, there's a chance that the traditionally ratings-challenged Tony broadcast could get a boost.

"'Hamilton'is such a cultural phenomenon that people are going to tune in," says Ricky Kirshner, one half of the verterán executive producing team behind the Tony telecast. "Having heard of it, they'll think, 'What's this all about? …

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