Estelle Parsons earned her fifth Tony Award nomination yesterday. Her reward? Unemployment. Parsons, who is 86 and made her Broadway debut in 1957, is the star of The Velocity Of Autumn, in which she plays a youngster of a mere 79 years who has outfitted her Brooklyn brownstone with Molotov cocktails should anyone try to move her into a home. Despite sterling reviews for the indomitable actress, the play got middling reviews. The producers posted a closing notice of this Sunday. It will have played 22 previews and 16 regular performances at the Booth Theatre.
The closing, along with several weird Tony nominations in a season ripe with them, has consequences beyond just the Velocity company. Why? Because Velocity is one of six shows that received Tony nominations but closed before, or will close immediately in the wake of, yesterday’s announcement of the nominees. So many of the 800-plus Tony voters, most of them producers scattered around the U.S., will not have seen the nominated shows. That means they’re not supposed to vote in any category that includes a show they haven’t seen. And since those producers are thinking about prospective ticket sales (OK, and quality), they’re also not likely to cast a vote in favor of a show unlikely to make money at their box offices.