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Alexandra Davis
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The 72nd Annual Tony Awards, and a look back


The Tony Awards are coming up on Sunday, June 10th. For many of us, this day is a national holiday.

For this holiday, we fill out and share our prediction brackets. We bake themed desserts. We attempt, yet again, to memorize the choreography from the Tony Awards performance of the 2011 revival of Anything Goes. We prepare a speech to give our non-theatre friends at the watch party that there will be absolutely no speaking during performances and acceptance speeches.

The JCA Arts Marketing team is gearing up for the big day by sharing our predictions, reflecting on favorite moments, and indulging our nostalgia. We’d love to hear your responses, too! Tweet your Tony thoughts to us.

Steven Roth
President


Steven and his wife, Ellen, at the 2017 Tony Awards

What predictions do you have for this year’s awards?

  • Best Play: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
  • Best Musical: The Band’s Visit
  • Best Play Revival: Angels in America
  • Best Musical Revival: It’s a toss-up between Carousel and My Fair Lady
  • Best Leading Actor in a Play: Andrew Garfield, Angels in America
  • Best Leading Actress in a Play: Glenda Jackson, Three Tall Women
  • Best Leading Actor in a Musical: Ethan Slater, SpongeBob SquarePants
  • Best Leading Actress in a Musical: Lauren Ambrose, My Fair Lady

What are your favorite Tony Awards moments/performances?

That’s a tough one. Here are a few:

What was your first Broadway show?

Oklahoma at New York City Center. I was probably around 8 years old. Tickets cost about $5.

Any other Tony-related nostalgia to share?

  • Springsteen on Broadway is great. According to the New York Times, Bruce (for the amount I paid, I deserve to be on a first-name basis with him) had the option to submit his show for a competitive award, such as Best Musical, Best Leading Actor in a Musical, etc. But he decided to opt-out of the competitive categories and accept a special Tony award this year to avoid giving away free tickets to the 800 or so Tony voters. By my rough math, the show grosses about $3 million per week. And assuming he doesn’t become ill or decide to turn the Tony down, he will become the 13th EGOT—someone who has won an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony.
  • My first job was Marketing Director for the Shubert Organization. I went to the Tonys multiple times as a “seat filler.” In those days (early 80s), the Tonys were broadcast live from one of the theatres. Because they didn’t want to show any empty seats when the cameras panned the audience, they kept a few of us (in tuxedos and gowns) on hand, and when they broke for commercial we had to rush down and fill the seats vacated by the most recent award winners (who were backstage getting pictures taken and doing interviews). The nominees’ seats were always on the aisle. Upon rushing into an empty seat, I always got this nasty look from the winner’s date. I quickly learned to say, “I’m here so the seat won’t be empty when we come back from commercial. Your date will be back at the next break, and congratulations.” Then off to piss off the next winner’s date at the next commercial break. It was fun!

Timmy Metzner
Senior Consultant

Timmy with his mother and sister outside of last year’s Best Musical, Dear Evan Hansen

What predictions do you have for this year’s awards?

I’m fairly certain The Band’s Visit will win Best Musical. I also enjoyed Once on This Island immensely, but I have a feeling it will lose out to Carousel. I think the most interesting category is Best Lead Actress in a Musical with six nominations. I can’t decide which one I want to win though—they’re all so amazing!

What are your favorite Tony Awards moments/performances?

I distinctly remember being 13 years old and watching the opening number to Ragtime on the Tonys. I was so captivated! I knew I liked musicals, but this was a moment I really fell in love with them.

What was your first Broadway show?

I had just turned 19 and my college friends scrounged together the money to take me on my first NYC trip. We saw the 2003 revival of Little Shop of Horrors and I loved every second of it!

Any other Tony-related nostalgia to share?

In 2005 the Tony Awards created a new category: Best Performance by an Actor/Actress in a Recreated Role to give awards to great replacements. But it was never awarded and less than a year later abandoned altogether. My theater nerd sensibilities kick in every year and create lists of nominees for a category that I wish still existed. This year is easy, though. We all know Bernadette Peters would have won this year for Hello, Dolly!


Tony Lance
Consultant


Tony with the award for Best Scenic Design of a Musical, given to Matilda the Musical

What predictions do you have for this year’s awards?

Well since Frozen was egregiously overlooked and Patti Murin’s stunning performance was not nominated, I say that the mind-blowingly great performance of Lauren Ambrose as Eliza Doolittle will win the Tony.

What are your favorite Tony Awards moments/performances?

My favorite Tony moment has nothing to do with the show itself, but rather being on personal assistant duty for Jason Robert Brown (13, The Last Five Years, Parade, to name a few…) when he waltzed away with TWO TONYS for his score and arrangements for The Bridges of Madison County. I drove him and his family to/from the awards and the after party(s)—and spent a few hours with him in the front seat with me, his 2 awards in the cup holder between us. That was a thrilling night.

What was your first Broadway show?

The Phantom of the Opera (isn’t that most people’s first Broadway show?). In that same weekend, I saw one of the final performances of the original production of Les Miserables and Disney’s Aida.

Any other Tony-related nostalgia to share?

I’ve been to the Tonys at Radio City three times and at the Beacon once. Twice for shows I worked on being nominated (Jesus Christ Superstar and Matilda The Musical). It’s a LONG show—and there’s nothing more stressful than having skin in the game. I promise that it’s more fun to watch at home with friends and comfort food (and bathroom breaks!!).


Jennifer Sowinski
Associate Consultant

What was your first Broadway show?

I grew up in the Midwest, so my first time to NYC was in college. I saw four shows in one weekend. They were: The Book of Mormon (original cast), Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark (the original version, before it was re-written. They only stopped the show once the day I saw it), The House of Blue Leaves, and Anything Goes.


Jamie Alexander
Senior Marketing Manager

Jamie with Steppenwolf Theatre Company's 2013 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play

What predictions do you have for this year’s awards?

I’m ashamed to admit I haven’t seen any of this year’s productions (hey, I live in Chicago!), but I am a huge Carousel fan, so I’m rooting for it all the way! They better do a great “June is Bustin’ Out All Over” performance at the Tonys (I mean it will be early June, after all).

What are your favorite Tony Awards moments/performances?

My favorite Tony award moment was when Steppenwolf’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf won for Best Revival of a Play in 2013. I was working at Steppenwolf at the time and got to watch my boss’ boss’ bosses collect the Tony (then Executive Director David Hawkanson and Artisic Director Martha Lavey). Unsurprisingly, they were back in the office in Chicago the next morning. No rest in show biz!

What was your first Broadway show?

The Phantom of the Opera, and it sprouted my love for opera.

Any other Tony-related nostalgia to share?

I love watching Hugh Jackman’s performance from The Boy from Oz.


Alexandra Davis
Marketing Coordinator


Alexandra and her dad at the 2015 Tony Awards

What predictions do you have for this year’s awards?

I think Harry Potter and the Cursed Child will definitely be taking home Best Play, and The Band's Visit (a b-e-a-utiful show) will win Best Musical. 

What are your favorite Tony Awards moments/performances?

My favorite performance—bar none—is The Color Purple from 2016. I also think Lin Manuel Miranda’s acceptance speech from 2016 has a place in everyone’s canon of favorite moments. Personally, Audra McDonald’s speech from 2012 always makes me a bit misty.

What was your first Broadway show?

Cats—whatever version was playing in the late 90s. My brother (who later went on to play professional hockey) cried when the performers scampered down the aisle next to him.

Any other Tony-related nostalgia to share?

Though I was fortunate to attend the show in 2015, another memorable watching experience was the following year. The show aired while I was studying at the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon, and the whole group of us had to huddle around one laptop to watch the live stream, which was barely streaming. We’d get 30 seconds of the performance, it would freeze, we’d return to watch another few minutes before it started all over again. But the energy of watching with other actors, one of whom could comment on the real-life attitudes of a few performers with whom she had worked… it was amazing. And clearly, I re-watched it with better service and discovered some of my favorite Tony moments of all time.

One more thing: I was so inspired by the newspaper choreography in the Newsies 2012 performance that I boldly added it to my choreography of My Favorite Year that summer. Surprise: it didn’t work (but the dancers gave it a valiant effort).