Time Square, New York, April 8, 2016, Times Square is a significant landmark of New York, vibrantly decorated with signboards and ads.
William Rodrigues dos Santos
Had this been a typical year, the Tony Awards would have happened in June and Broadway would be getting ready for its financially rewarding holiday. Instead, the Great White Way is anticipated to stay shuttered up until a minimum of May 30, 2021, and its yearly award event is being hosted this Sunday night.
The coronavirus pandemic too soon ended the 2019-2020 Broadway season, restricting the variety of qualified candidates and removing the 2020-2021 season completely. This led classifications like finest revival and finest initial rating to have no elections for Sunday’s Tonys and the very best star in a leading function classification to just have one candidate.
“If the pandemic had come two weeks later, we’d have seen a totally different Tonys,” stated Derek Miller, a theater teacher at Harvard University.
Setting the phase
The Tonys aren’t simply a time for Broadway to distribute awards and commemorate the previous season of programs. The event has actually ended up being a huge part of the market’s marketing and has actually affected how and when manufacturers release their programs.
“The Tonys have become so important that shows are now frontloaded in a season so they open right before the awards,” stated Miller. “So a huge number of Broadway shows open in late March and early April.”
Producers desire their programs to debut right prior to the Tonys so that efficiencies are fresh in citizens’ minds and to make sure that less of their cash is at threat. With this method, a program that debuts in March is just open for around 2 months prior to discovering if it will get an increase from a Tony election.
But this year, the pandemic triggered closures right as things were getting ready. Initially, reveals required to open by April 23 to be chosen for the 2020 awards. However, after closures were revealed, the date was amened to Feb. 19.
“This timing turned out to be horrible with the onset of the pandemic in the United States because it meant that theaters shut down right at the point where the last surge of shows set to open,” stated Miller.
“Six,” “Hangmen,” “Company,” “The Lehman Trilogy,” “Mrs. Doubtfire,” “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?,” “Sing Street” and “How I Learned to Drive” were getting ready for their launching, however never ever did.
Had the pandemic hit later on in the spring, these programs would have opened and there would have been a bigger slate of plays and musicals for the yearly award program.
Of course, there are exceptions to this method. “Moulin Rouge,” which was chosen for a handful of Tony Awards this year — consisting of the sole candidate for finest star in a musical — opened in July 2019, almost a complete year prior to the 2020 awards were set to happen.
“Tina,” likewise up for finest musical, opened in November and “Jagged Little Pill” debuted in December.
“Our Broadway community has been incredibly resilient during this difficult time, and we look forward to paying tribute to the performers and artists,” stated Heather Hitchens, president and CEO of the American Theatre Wing, and Charlotte St. Martin, president of the Broadway League, in a joint declaration in October.
The power of a Tony
Just being chosen for a Tony Award accentuates a program and can assist improve ticket sales. Winning, nevertheless, is where the real marketing power lies.
In June 2018, “The Band’s Visit” swept the leading classifications at the Tonys, taking house rewards for finest musical, finest book, finest rating, finest star in a musical, finest starlet in a musical and finest instructions of a musical.
In the week following those wins, the program took $1.1 million in ticket sales. The last time the musical hit the $1 million sales mark for one week of sales was the very first week of January 2018.
The 2019 finest musical winner “Hadestown” had actually been playing to offered out crowds even in the past striking it huge at the Tonys. In overall, the program took house 8 rewards and continued to offer out tickets up until it was required to shutter in March of this year. At that time, “Hadestown” was balancing $1.2 million in ticket sales every week.
For Tony winners this year, the award will have to do with status and the possibility of monetary gain for specific entertainers, directors and authors. Those that take house the reward might utilize it as a method to utilize future pay raises or greater cost for future jobs. But, the wins are not likely to do anything for the programs themselves.
Miller does not anticipate Broadway’s method to alter as soon as the pandemic is under control. He anticipates manufacturers going back to this formula due to the fact that of how financially rewarding it can be.
“People will, and frankly rightfully, see this as an extremely unusual event to have hit at exactly that right moment,” stated Miller.