Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Tonys on TV Bring Broadway Home Slew of Well-Known Actors Host Theater's Big Award Show

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Tonys on TV Bring Broadway Home Slew of Well-Known Actors Host Theater's Big Award Show

Article excerpt

Broadway has burst its New York boundaries: Of the record 26.5 million people who saw Broadway shows during the 1998-99 season, the majority, almost 15 million, did so through touring productions.

Indeed, there's enough national interest that the 1999 Antoinette Perry Awards (the Tonys) will be televised Sunday night. The first hour of the awards ceremony will be broadcast on PBS (June 6, 8 p.m.) and then picked up by CBS (9-11 p.m.).

Along with recognition for excellence, commercial viability may be on the line. A passel of Tonys for "Parade," the acclaimed but defunct musical with nine nominations, might help it to be revived. Many observers say they believe that a Tony kept the "Titanic" from sinking, while others note it did nothing to keep "Passion" alive. A 1997 Tony Award for Best Musical reversed the course for Maury Yeston and Peter Stone's "Titanic," drawing larger audiences to the troubled project, which ran for another two years and now is touring. But a 1994 Tony for "Passion," by James Lapine and Stephen Sondheim, failed to fan interest, and the show closed shortly after. "When we survey audiences about what makes them choose to attend a particular show, they mention winning a Tony Award as fourth on their list, behind other considerations, such as whether the show has a star and if they're familiar with the story," says Jed Bernstein, of the League of American Theaters and Producers, which co-produces the Tony ceremonies with the American Theater Wing. Still, the Tonys are to Broadway what the Oscars are to Hollywood. They are more than just a "who's hot, who's not" test because they add an important measure of visibility to winners. Instead of a single host, as in past years, a series of actors who have Broadway credentials will preside. Heading the list are Kevin Spacey and Jason Robards, each of whom has tackled the powerful, challenging lead in Eugene O'Neill's four-hour masterpiece The Iceman Cometh. Spacey is playing the role on Broadway now and has earned a Tony nomination. Nominees are chosen by a committee of 30 artists, educators, and theater professionals from shows that opened during the season, which ended April 28. This year 17 plays and 14 musicals were eligible. Then more than 800 voters, drawn from every sector of the theater community, see the nominated shows and cast their ballots. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.