Monday, June 16, 2008

Lest We Not Forget: What Happened to the Plays?

Yeah, I know that I said there would be three posts about the Tonys, but as I reviewed the three that I did, I realized I didn't talk a lot about the straight plays. Although I am more of a musical theatre person, this lack of info is due (at least in part) to the fact that the Tony Awards don't really focus much (if at all) on the plays. Par for the course, they did the one minute clip segment of all of the shows on Broadway from the past year, but it was over fairly quickly (look - Jennifer Garner in Cyrano!). I think they even gave the "Best Revival of a Play" award out before the televised ceremony. I suppose they did this so we could see Sierra Boggess skate in her heelies and sing "Part of Your World."

Of course, this has to do (partially at least) with supply and demand. While straight plays can be a hit, musicals can generate a ton of money. I suppose it seems economically sound for the Tony Awards to hedge its bets and focus on bringing home the bacon. There is also the problem of figuring out what to do with the plays. It is harder (in theory) to show a brief excerpt from a play and have it be entertaining and understandable than it is to have an engaging (and somewhat comprehensible) song and dance number. They tried short excerpts for a while, and those didn't seem to get a lot of response. I also vaguely recall the one painful time they tried to combine excerpts from all of the different plays into a reading.

This leads to the question: Should plays get equal (or, at least, more) coverage on the Tonys? If so, what should the Tonys do to fix this?