Allow me to rant for a few paragraphs, so many things to talk about.
With the announcement of the closing of 9 to 5 on Broadway David Cote brings up an interesting question and a valid point. He asks if the closing of this show and other failures of film adaptations will put a dent in the trend of adapting films to musicals. I am so bored with this question. Musicals are about telling stories, good stories can come from any source - from original ideas (are there really any of those still out there) to adaptations of all sorts of source material; films, plays, television series, poems, short stories, etc. The thing is, if the story is good and the people adapting the story elevate the material from 'page to stage', i.e. Billy Elliot, The Lion King, then the show will be successful. If those two elements don't come together, then the show wont last long. Don't be distressed by the use of good source material for a musical. Understand that as in any business, some shows (products) will not be good enough to succeed. That's capitalism.
On to the Tony Awards. So the Tony Awards will no longer allow critics to vote. This comes out to be about $225,000 in saving per show, according to my rudimentary math. That is a significant amount of savings for many shows. The complaints, so far, have been that this will eliminate the only truly impartial group voting for the Tony Awards. Unfortunately, impartiality is an oxymoron when it comes to Awards in general. Since voting is a subjective act in itself. So will this make the Tony's less valid in the public's eye? I highly doubt it, since most people don't know who is voting in any case.
But the Tony Awards themselves are busted and need fixing in a big way. The television show is slowly trying to become more relevant in today's world. They increased their viewership this past year and made the show a bit more entertaining, (and provided the world with some good viral video) and, a bit more embarassing. But I digress. The biggest issue is the nominating process. According to Ken Davenport, over the past 20 years, on the average, 65% of best play, musical and revivals in both categories nominees have been shows that opened in the Spring. Not surprising that the winners average is a bit higher at 70%. Similar numbers are present for the Best Actor/Actress categories.
Clearly nominators and voters have short memories. As well, it is difficult for a large number of Tony voters to attend some of the nominated shows in the first place, as they are from out-of-town. It is also impossible for those who missed limited run shows in the Fall/Winter to go back in time and see them to vote if they are nominated in the Spring.
Furthermore, in another blog post by Ken Davenport, he notes that on average, only 60% of Tony voters attend any one nominated show. Therefore 40% are voting without having seen a production. I have no data, but I imagine the numbers are similar in other awards shows as well. Something needs to be done to fix the system. Don't you agree?