Last year, the Tony Awards decided to eliminate the award for best sound design, and their reason was literally something like, “A lot of our voters don’t get it.” Well, I could argue that plenty of Tony voters don’t know the difference between “dancing” and “choreography,” but that doesn’t stop them from assessing what passes for excellence in that category.
The Tony Awards honor the art of live storytelling, and I think it’s time to pay attention to the unrecognized but vastly important people who help shape how those stories are told.
The Sound Designer
I’m an actor and I like to be heard, so obviously I’m a huge supporter of the creative talent behind making me sound like I am not a bag of dying cats during a Sunday matinee.
The Casting Director
The casting director is the most overlooked member of the creative team and I’m not just saying this so Telsey + Company will like me. I’m saying it so all of the casting offices will like me. They are responsible for presenting the director with a pool of actors who will best facilitate their vision. The Emmys honor the casting director, and I think it’s time the Tonys do the same. Given all the senior showcases they’ve had to endure over the years, this is the least casting directors could get in return.
Remember when this existed for less than a year? Time to bring it back after a season that saw standout performances such as Martin Short in “It’s Only a Play” and Emma Stone in “Cabaret.” Making a mark as a replacement in an established role is equally as difficult as originating, and also, did you see Emma Stone in “Cabaret”?
The Marketing and Press Departments
Broadway is rarely in the public eye, and it needs all the help it can get to be seen. Whether it’s the brilliantly funny marketing done by AKA for “Hand to God” or the viral press for “Hamilton” done by all of us on the Internet, the people who get a person to drop over $100 on something that could suck are artists themselves. It’s clear when a marketing and press team are catching lightning in a bottle, and it’s painfully obvious when they are falling flat.
There are ensembles that steal the show (through epic dance numbers or nuanced and individual characters) and ensembles that are regretfully thankless (the ones that are basically there to move sets). Either way, the Broadway ensemble is every bit as important in telling the story as the principal cast, and that is why they should be honored—and not just because I…I mean we spend a considerable amount of our career in the ensemble and I want a Tony. For us.
Best Actor-Actress Named Annoying Actor Friend
This would be a special annual Tony Award presented to me every year.
I’d like to thank the Tony Awards Administration Committee for their consideration, and hopefully one day in the future, we will see the inclusion of some of these categories. Specifically the last one.
Can’t get enough of the Tonys? Check out “6 Pieces of Tony Trivia.”