Friday, May 3, 2013

Another Potential Tony Voter Problem

In examining the dynamics of disinviting Tony Voters because a production receives no nominations, another situation could arise that may further erode the integrity of the Tony Awards voting methodology.

What if, at some time in the not too distant future, there was to come to pass a hugely successful, rock solid sold out, impossible to get tickets for, Broadway show that opened a week before the Tony nominations cut-off. Let's say that it starred the most sought after, popular and beloved star to ever appear on Broadway. A truly critic-proof show.

Well, the show opens to mixed reviews, some good, some less so, but it doesn't matter, because this limited run show is sold out clean to the walls. In a season full of worthy nominees, everyone waits to see the nominations.

In the days leading up to the announcement of the nominees, the producers of this mega-hit start to hear rumors that their show, the commercial hit of the season, may get squeezed out of the nominated slots because of an abundance of worthier competitors. This doesn't go down well with them and they decide to communicate the following message to the nominating committee:

"The Star of our show and the entire production team are grateful to be welcomed into the Broadway community. We've all waited a long time for this, and have spent a great deal of time and money to make all the stars align so that we could bring this wonderful show to Broadway, and we hope very much to find a way that we might extend our stay in New York. If that proves to be impossible, we'd all love to be back on Broadway again in the not too distant future. We don't put on shows for awards, but the Tony Award is a prestigious institution, and winning these awards is a wonderful way that the community expresses its appreciation for the hard work that is done by all concerned. Without that vital and necessary expression of love and approval, nothing else matters at all."

Behind closed doors, the nominating committee gets the message loud and clear. Quid pro quo is the order of the day.  Come across with the nominations, or risk being shut out of the Tony Voter tickets that many of the voters have promised to all their friends and families. Without access to these complimentary tickets, the prospect of full price or premium prices loom over their heads, if they can even get their hands on them at all. Demand has been so strong that there are no house seats available for this once a decade show/event.

What to do? Deliver the nominations at the expense of other, worthier and better competitors? Change the rules? Stand fast and risk the wrath of scorned producers and the potential loss of those luscious Tony Voter freebies?

I think I can guess what would happen.

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