I TOLDJA, didn’t I? that Broadway’s silly season would start as soon as the Tony nominations were announced, and here we are with today’s New York Times report that “producers” of shows nominated for best new and revived plays and musicals are in jeopardy of losing their right to drop $2,500 for a Tony medallion if their show wins. Primo Tony baloney, this is. Why? Because this has nothing to do with $2,500 baubles and everything to do with the fine romantic nuttiness that is the Tony Awards business. And business it is, with sales of Tonys adding $300,000 to the bottom line of the dysfunctional coalition that runs the awards (about which more later).
Start with the evolving concept of “producers.” There are 16 shows nominated in the top categories: Five for Best Play, four for Best Musical, four for Best Play Revival and three for Best Musical Revival. How many entities produced these 16 shows? 20, 50, 100, you say? How about 193? More, if you consider the fact that many of those entities are actually investor consortiums. These are people who know the meaning of the word agate and want no part of a below-the-title listing for their $50,000 stake. They want to say, to their friends and to the press, “I produced After Midnight!” (21 “producers”), and the actual producers accommodate because money talks and everyone walks to the podium on June 8, Tony Night, hosted by Hugh Jackman and telecast on CBS beginning at 8 PM, in case you didn’t know.
Topping the list: A Gentleman’s Guide To Love & Murder, 28 “producers,” and Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, 25. Carrying on the honored-in-the-breach tradition of one show/one producer: Cameron Mackintosh, the sole name above the title in the nominated revival of Les Miserables. Similarly, Tom Schumacher for Disney Theatrical Productions’ adaptation of Aladdin. And Manhattan Theatre Club’s joined-at-the-hip Lynne Meadow and Barry Grove, the sole producers of Best Play nominee Outside Mullingar.