Thursday, July 12, 2007

Let Me Entertain You

Have I ever discussed on this blog how working in a small industry is a double-edge sword? On the one hand, you know everyone and it's pretty easy to develop relationships. On the other hand, if you point out something to another industry person that person then goes and tells multiple other people that you know. So everything minor gets blown out of proportion. I hate that.

OK, I just had to get that off my chest. Moving on... This blog post was inspired by a Team Cara member (it's an elite group so they get to inspire blog posts). And the topic is... drum roll... Could the Encores! Gypsy be Tony eligible (without a transfer)?

Well... I have not heard that they are going to try for that, but let's break it down.

The production is a "legitimate theatrical production" (which is wording in the rulebook that I've never understood) and it is officially opening.

City Center is not currently on the list of Tony eligible theaters. However things at the theater used to be eligible. Doesn't everyone remember Bob Fosse playing Joey in Pal Joey at City Center in 1963? No? Maybe you, like me, weren't born yet... But it happened. I'm sure Ken Mandelbaum was there. And, most importantly for this discussion, Fosse was nominated for a Tony Award for that production. There are more examples as well, but I thought this one was fun. It would seem that what was once Tony eligible can be Tony eligible again. There is one sticking point--technically to be an eligible theater, the theater must "be used principally for the presentation of legitimate theatrical productions." City Center is home to a lot of dance--I'm not sure that dance events would be counted as "legitimate theatrical productions," but it's arguable. There is a discussion to be had there.

Tony eligible shows must perform on a "reasonably conventional playing schedule." This is very vague and there is some petitioning that can be done here. (Actually, I have always believed Patti's solo show at LCT may have been deemed eligible if LCT had petitioned, though my friend who worked at LCT at the time insisted they would have lost the fight due to the "Sunday and Monday only" playing schedule. I just felt at the time that the administration committee wouldn't have wanted to snub Patti, but, that's a whole different subject.) In the case of Gypsy, the show is playing eight performances a week, which is perfectly normal. The run is limited, but that shouldn't be a big problem.

Now, here is the key, they have to invite all Tony voters in a "timely manner." They haven't. And I doubt they could fit in all the Tony voters now. However, if a little time was added, I suppose it would be possible. (There is some sub-rule about the production having to give voters like eight performances to choose from or something, but I'm not an expert on that one.)

That's all the main points, I think. If you are a Tony expert out there and I'm missing something in my analysis, let me know. I like corrections/additions!


Seth Christenfeld said...

Somewhere in here (although I'm not certain where) fits a reference to the mini-scandal of a number of years ago when Rollin' on the T.O.B.A. was declared ineligible for Tonys, despite that Cabaret had been eligible in the same theatre. (Apparently--although there was no mention of it--neither was The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant, which also played the Henry Miller/Kit Kat Klub: neither that nor Rollin' is listed on IBDB.)

carajoy said...

Totally right, Seth. That Rollin' on the T.O.B.A. thing was such a shady thing. What actually happened there has always been a mystery to me.

At the time, I believe the argument was that the venue was not in fact generally Tony eligible but the committee made an exception for Cabaret. Then they suddenly didn't want to make an exception for T.O.B.A. basically, I believe, because they didn't like/care about the producers (but that is just my personal guess). There was also some statement from the Tony people that no one asked for the venue to be Tony eligible, which was another bizarre aspect of the drama. All of it sounded sort of like crap at the time and it hasn't gotten better with age.

Bitter Tears is less relevant because that is a case where they didn't want to be Broadway. I remember at first writing that the show was Broadway, based on the fact that it was at that venue, and actually being told to change my story. I would assume the idea there was that they wanted to keep costs down, but I don't actually know.

Anonymous said...

longtime reader and a big fan. the Ken Mandelbaum reference was priceless