Q: Should I care about the TONY Awards?

ANDREW
Let's get down to business. Why should we care about the TONY's...or DO we care about the TONY's? That's the topic.

GEMMA
So, I personally care about the TONY's because it's like my sporting event.

ANDREW
It's your Superbowl.

GEMMA
It really is! Like, I don't do the Superbowl.

ANDREW
Hahahah. I only do the halftime show, let me tell you, hahaha.

GEMMA
I only do the halftime show, and then some of the commercials, but I'll watch the commercials, like, on YouTube. 

ANDREW
Right.

GEMMA
I don't really need to watch it live, but I LOVE watching the TONY's live. 

ANDREW
Yeah. Why?

GEMMA
I don't know... I love musical performances, I love when Neil Patrick Harris hosts, cuz I think we can all agree that the 2013 TONY's was like the best ever. And, oh gosh, what's the name? Of the guy who's hosting? It's... uh, Kevin Spacey, he's hosting this year's TONY's. 

CHRISTINE
I'm not too opposed to that, because I actually love Kevin Spacey...

ANDREW
Wait a minute, I don't even know who that is!

CHRISTINE
You don't know who Kevin Spacey is?!

GEMMA
Have you seen American Beauty?

ANDREW
...

CHRISTINE
Have you seen House of Cards?!

ANDREW
Oh, I know! I know who that is! I actually like Kevin Spacey!

GEMMA
No, I think he's a great actor!

ANDREW
I see him hosting more of like, you know, something...

CHRISTINE
The Golden Globes?

ANDREW
Yes!

GEMMA
Yeah, I agree, I completely agree. 

ANDREW
Or the Academy Awards. 

GEMMA
Apparently, he has a TONY, I don't know what for...

CHRISTINE
For like a play or something.

GEMMA
Yeah, he's been on stage before and ... I don't know, but when I just look at him, I think of film and TV way more than I think of theatre. But, I mean, who knows?

ANDREW
Now, I feel like some people don't care about the TONY's because, maybe, they're not into theatre, you know? 

CHRISTINE
That's true. I mean, yeah, most people don't watch it. 

ANDREW
Now, how are the numbers? Do you know the numbers?

GEMMA
The ratings? I actually don't know.

CHRISTINE
I'm pretty sure... It's definitely lower than the ratings for all those other award shows. 

ANDREW
Why do think that is? 

CHRISTINE
It's just a niche kind of industry.

GEMMA
The NYC theatre community is a pretty tight-knit group.

CHRISTINE
It's small. And also most people that are gonna be watching the TONY's are gonna be infatuated with New York life or New York theatre or something. Only shows that are in New York are getting nominated. 

GEMMA
Only Broadway shows. 

CHRISTINE
Exactly, only Broadway shows. So there's a lot of other locations being excluded. Like, Chicago has great theatre, Philadelphia has great theatre...

GEMMA
Not to mention, like, Off and Off Off Broadway, right?

CHRISTINE
Exactly. 

GEMMA
I feel like another factor is that a lot of people can't or think they can't afford Broadway, they feel like it's this other world that they can't even touch, and so maybe the TONY's feel exclusive and like, too elitist. They're like, "Who do you think you are?"

ANDREW
Or some people who can't experience going to the theatre watch the TONY's so they can feel like they're a part of it. You know what I'm saying? "OMG, this is so cool!" 

CHRISTINE
Yeah, I can picture someone in the Midwest..."The lights!"

GEMMA
Hahaha. 

ANDREW
I also feel like the people who watch are like, "I don't know what Broadway show to go see, let me watch the TONY's and get inspired. And OMG, this show just won something? I have to go see it." You know what I'm saying?

CHRISTINE
Yeah. 

ANDREW
Like, if they don't even know anything about theatre, when you watch the TONY's, you get a sense of what it's really all about. 

CHRISTINE
So I just googled the ratings for the TONY's, and of course last year was the highest rating in 15 years because of Hamilton, because everyone was tuning in to see Hamilton win everything. 

GEMMA
That makes so much sense, because everyone knows that they'll never be able to see Hamilton. They're like, "The most I'll be able to see of the show is the performance they're going to do at the TONY's." 

CHRISTINE
Exactly. 

ANDREW
What was the rating?

CHRISTINE
4.6 Million people. 

ANDREW
Okay, let me look up what it was for the Grammy's...

GEMMA
Yeah!

CHRISTINE
Oh, I'm sure that's a lot more, because the nominated music is accessible globally (for the most part). I'm sure there's still international viewership for the TONY's, but...

ANDREW
You can't even compare. Hahaha!

CHRISTINE
What is it, like 11 million or something?

ANDREW
26 MILLION PEOPLE WATCHED THE GRAMMY'S LAST YEAR. 

GEMMA
So what does that mean? Music is for everyone, but theatre is only for certain people?

ANDREW
We do have to acknowledge the fact that Beyonce performed at The Grammy's, so she brought in probably 20 million, you know, she just brought in a casual 20 million. 

CHRISTINE
But just think about like, the celebrities in pop culture, they get a lot of publicity, you're invested in their lives and all this crap, whereas with Broadway stars, really the only people who freak out are people who live here or actually follow Broadway. But you don't really see them getting snapped by the paparazzi. I mean, REAL Broadway stars!

ANDREW
REAL! 

CHRISTINE
Not like when some Hollywood A-lister flies in to do a three-week show. 

GEMMA
Totally! Fans will wait by the stage door to see celebrities who are on stage, but the performers can more or less fade into the background when they're just walking the city streets. 

CHRISTINE
Exactly. You see them walk off, and you're just like, "They're normal!"

GEMMA
And they have families, and their kids go to public school, and they're just like, chilling. 

ANDREW
It's like, you were just on stage, but you're so normal!

GEMMA
It's the kind of fame I would want, if I wanted fame, because you can still be more like a person.

CHRISTINE
Like a normal human. 

ANDREW
So, when are the TONY's airing?

GEMMA
Very soon...

CHRISTINE
I think it's June, because I remember that the rehearsals are early June, so I assume the live show is later that month. 

ANDREW
It's always on a Sunday, though, right?

GEMMA
Is it June 14th? For some reason, that date is stuck in my mind. 

CHRISTINE
It airs June 11th at 8:00 PM Eastern time. 

GEMMA
Well, I will definitely be watching. 

ANDREW
I won't be in town!

GEMMA
Where are you gonna be?

ANDREW
In Israel!

GEMMA
Okay, that's pretty fun. You're gonna be like eating hummus, riding camels, and floating in the Dead Sea. You can catch up on the TONY's. 

ANDREW
I'll be on social media, so make sure to follow me, guys!

CHRISTINE
We're all gonna get an international text from him, like "Who won?"

Andrew, CHRISTINE, and Gemma:
Hahahahahah!

ANDREW
But yeah, I do think that the TONY's are for a specific group of people. 

CHRISTINE
It's also because, like we were talking about, these celebrities are celebrities on a much smaller level, and so we care because it's kind of like the only time they get recognition besides in written reviews by like the New York Times or something. 

GEMMA
Even like Ben Platt, who is the star of Dear Evan Hansen, he's 23 years old BARELY.

CHRISTINE
He's a baby.

GEMMA
He's super young, and he's already been in shows before. 

CHRISTINE
Wasn't he in Pitch Perfect?

GEMMA
Yeah, he was in Pitch Perfect, he was in Book of Mormon, but he's probably gonna get his first ever TONY for Dear Evan Hansen

CHRISTINE
Oh, yeah!

GEMMA
And he was a kid who grew up where all the boys were playing sports and all he wanted to do was be on the stage, and, look at him!

CHRISTINE
He better win.

GEMMA
I would love it if he won. 

CHRISTINE
He's actually done a good job of depicting a young person with severe anxiety.

GEMMA
Yeah, severe anxiety and crippling depression. He's been with the show since the workshopping stage, so he's been with the show since he was closer to the age he's depicting, which is what, 17? He's been with the show since he was probably like 20, so it's not that much of a stretch. He can recall what it was like to be that age. And every single person can relate to feeling, to quote the show, like you're "on the outside, always looking in." Ugh! It's probably my favorite modern musical. I love it. 

CHRISTINE
I haven't seen it yet...

ANDREW
Me neither! We have to see it. I have a question... Do only new shows get nominated, like can The Lion King get nominated again?

CHRISTINE
There's a time frame. If it could, The Lion King would win all the time because it's been running forever.

GEMMA
No, because it's the same production. A production of a Broadway show can only be eligible for TONY awards if the show opened on or before the official cut-off date for the year (in 2017, that means April 27th). And it doesn't matter how long a single production of a show runs on Broadway, because it is only eligible for a TONY in the season it first opens. Once you've been nominated once, that's it. Because it's unfair. 

CHRISTINE
It's like, you have a TONY, shut up. 

GEMMA
I've even heard that if an actor won a TONY for let's say, best actor/actress in a role, in a production of Cabaret years ago, 20 years later, if the show is revived, they can't get nominated for that same role even if it's a different production. 

ANDREW
Really?

GEMMA
Yeah! Because I think that happened. Alan Cumming won a TONY years ago for best actor in a musical in Cabaret. He was the M.C. And then he came back and did it recently and he wasn't eligible to be nominated for the role again even though everybody thought he deserved it. Even though it's a different production, which I thought was interesting. 

ANDREW
Do you guys remember the first time you ever watched the TONY's? 

CHRISTINE
I watched it illegally online...

ANDREW
How old were you?

CHRISTINE
It wasn't that long ago. I was probably 15, so that was 5 years ago. I watched because of one of my friends. She's really into Broadway because we went to a theatre/arts high school, and her mom and dad are Broadway stage managers.

GEMMA
I come from a pretty artsy family, especially on my mom's side. She watched the TONY's and my brother and I were there. And we hadn't seen any of the shows, but we liked watching it because we liked musicals and we liked the performances. It wasn't until I was quite a bit older, like late teens or early adulthood, that I started actually relating to the shows that were nominated because I had actually seen them or listened to the soundtracks. I'm excited, because this is the one year where I've seen all four of the nominated musicals, so I feel like I can actually weigh in. 

CHRISTINE
I feel like the TONY's are way different, like I do not watch award shows. I don't watch the Oscars, or any of that stuff. I just usually look up on Buzzfeed, "Who won?"

GEMMA
You might watch, like, a YouTube highlights clip. 

CHRISTINE
Yeah, or like if something weird happened. Like, that girl, Auli'i Cravalho, from Moana, she got hit with fabric when she was singing at the Oscars, and I felt so bad. She's a sweet baby angle.

Okay, do we want to talk about who is nominated?

ANDREW
Alright, let's hear it!

CHRISTINE
Okay, so Best Play.

GEMMA
I haven't seen any of them.

CHRISTINE
Nominees are: 
1) A Doll’s House, Part 2,
2) Indecent,
3) Oslo, 
4) Sweat.

ANDREW
I haven't seen any of them. 

GEMMA
I haven't seen any of them either. But the playwright for Sweat won an award, she won a Pulitzer Prize.  

CHRISTINE
Okay, Best Musical. Nominees are:
1) Come From Away,
2) Dear Evan Hansen,
3) Groundhog Day: The Musical,
4) Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812

GEMMA
So, I've seen all of those. I'm torn between Dear Evan Hansen and Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812. I want Dear Evan Hansen to win, but I feel like it'll be close. Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812 got the most nominations out of anything this season. They got 12 noms. 

CHRISTINE
Come From Away...

GEMMA
That's a beautiful show. On 9/11, there were 38 flights that had to be diverted and make emergency landings, and there is this giant airport in Canada, and they all landed there. 

CHRISTINE
In, like, a small-ass town,

GEMMA
Yeah, a super small town. And the population was about 10,000, and their population almost doubled with how many people they took in. And for basically a week, they housed them, gave them clothes, fed them, because they couldn't leave since the airspace was closed. 

CHRISTINE
Because Canadians are...

GEMMA
Better people.

CHRISTINE
Literally just better people. 

ANDREW
And they have free healthcare. 

GEMMA
Yeah, they can afford to be in a better mood because they're not paying for healthcare. 

CHRISTINE
But yeah, I still want Dear Evan Hansen to win. 

GEMMA
Dear Evan Hansen

CHRISTINE
He feels invisible. 

GEMMA
I know, I just relate to the character so much. 

CHRISTINE
Best Revival of a Play:
1) Jitney, 2) The Little Foxes,
3) Present Laughter,
4) Six Degrees of Separation.

All I saw was Jitney, and it's one of August Wilson's better plays. It's fine, but it's super emotional. 

GEMMA
Haven't seen any of them.

CHRISTINE
Best Revival of a Musical: 
Falsettos
Hello, Dolly!,
Miss Saigon.

I'm gonna go with Miss Saigon, because that's the only one I know.

ANDREW
I feel like I can't comment on any of them because I haven't seen them. 

GEMMA
I know Hello, Dolly! has been getting a lot of buzz because Bette Midler is in it, so maybe it'll win because of her. 

CHRISTINE
Okay, so for Best Leading Actor in a Play you have: 1) Denis Arndt, for Heisenberg, 2) Chris Cooper, for A Doll's House, Part 2, 3) Corey Hawkins, for Six Degrees of Separation, 4) Kevin Kline, for Present Laughter, and 5) Jefferson Mays, for Oslo

CHRISTINE
Actress in a Leading Role:
1) Cate Blanchett, for The Present,
2) Jennifer Ehle, for Oslo,
3) Sally Field, for The Glass Menagerie,
4) Laura Linney, for The Little Foxes, and
5) Laurie Metcalf, for A Doll’s House, Part 2.

I didn't know Sally Field was in The Glass Menagerie!

Okay, Best Leading Actor in a Musical:
1) Christian Borle, for Falsettos,
2) Josh Groban, for Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812, 
3) Andy Karl, for Groundhog Day,
4) David Hyde Pierce, for Hello, Dolly!, and
5) Ben Platt, for Dear Evan Hansen.

GEMMA
Urggg, I want Ben Platt to win, guys!!!

CHRISTINE
Okay, we've got
1) Denée Benton, for Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812
2) Christine Ebersole, for War Paint
3) Patti LuPone, for War Paint
4) Bette Midler, for Hello, Dolly!, and
5) Eva Noblezada, for Miss Saigon.

I'm gonna go with Patti.

GEMMA
I'm gonna go with Patti, because I know her name haha. 

ANDREW
Are you guys into what people wear to the TONY's?

GEMMA
They do a red carpet ceremony beforehand, and I'll tune into that. 

ANDREW
Do you care about looking at the fashion?

CHRISTINE
No, I think it's the one award show where that's the least important. 

GEMMA
Yeah, I think it's the least important, too. What people wear to the TONY's won't make or break the ceremony for me, but if someone is wearing something nice, I appreciate it. 

Okay, so the moral of the story is that we all want Ben Platt to win Best Actor in a Musical.

CHRISTINE
So... in all, should we give a shit about the TONY's?

ANDREW
Honestly, we should...

GEMMA
It's up to you, guys. I like the TONY's. 

ANDREW
We all care, but I can see why somebody wouldn't. If you're not into musicals and plays and that category of art...but to the people who do care about the arts but don't watch the TONY's, you should probably get behind it because you'll probably like it!

GEMMA
Yeah, also to the people who have never watched the TONY's, but think it won't be for them, just see it. 

CHRISTINE
Give it a try.


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