Tony Viewers Up in Arms Over Telecast; Petitions Started for Creative and Special Awards

Tony Awards   Tony Viewers Up in Arms Over Telecast; Petitions Started for Creative and Special Awards
 
The 69th Annual Tony Awards will be broadcast live from Radio City Music Hall on CBS June 7, but some Tony viewers are already disagreeing with what content will not hit the air.
The Tony Award
The Tony Award

Creative Arts Awards, including Best Original Score, Best Book of a Musical and others such as Scenic Design, Lighting Design, Orchestrations and more, are typically handed out off the air. Clips from winners' acceptance speeches are then shown during a commercial break, and videos later surface on the Tony Awards YouTube channel.

This year, however — with Fun Home's Jeanine Tesori and Lisa Kron as favorites for Score and Kron as a possibility to also take home Book — members of The Interval (described as "a theatre website, founded to be a virtual home for female voices of the theatre") have started a petition to have the category broadcast on television.

In the petition, they ask, "When girls across the country turn on the Tony Awards, what do you want them to see?

"We want them to see that women can write musicals, and we think an important step in achieving this is that the Tony Awards broadcast the categories of Best Original Score and Best Book of a Musical this year."

Currently the petition, found here, has over 600 supporters. Regardless of the telecast outcome, however, it does not guarantee a woman will take home one of Broadway's highest honors. All of the other nominees in both Score and Book categories are male. For Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre, the other nominees include Sting for The Last Ship, Wayne Kirkpatrick and Karey Kirkpatrick for Something Rotten! and John Kander and Fred Ebb for The Visit. For Best Book of a Musical, the other nominees include Craig Lucas for An American in Paris, Karey Kirkpatrick and John O'Farrell for Something Rotten! and Terrence McNally for The Visit.

Representatives for the Tony Awards have not yet responded to Playbill.com's request for comment regarding what will and will not be broadcast at this year's ceremony.

The other category normally saved for YouTube and other mediums is the Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement, which will be presented this year to nine-time Tony Award winner Tommy Tune.

Theatrical blogger Richard Skipper has also started a petition at Change.org, which can be found here, that currently nears 600 supporters.

In the petition page, he states, "I am addressing the fact that at The Tony Awards, The Lifetime Achievement Award will NOT be presented during The Tony telecast. I would like to change that! Can you weigh in with your thoughts? Please sign the petition and pay it forward.

"Lifetime achievement awards are awarded to recognize contributions over the whole of a career, rather than or in addition to single contributions. This year's recipient is Tommy Tune and he is certainly deserving of this award. He has won 9 Tony Awards and the only person in theatrical history to win in four different categories and to win the same two Tony Awards two years in a row. With this Lifetime Achievement Award, he will have an unprecedented 10 Tony Awards!"

Last year, in a change of awards season protocol, presenters of the 68th Annual Tony Awards did not broadcast the "In Memoriam" segment as part of the live June 8 Tony telecast.

Many industry members and theatre fans across the country took to social media to express their disappointment that the moving segment was not broadcast.

The 2015 Tony Awards — hosted by Kristin Chenoweth and Alan Cumming — will be broadcast on Sunday, June 7, 2015 (8-11 PM ET/PT time delay) on CBS, live from Radio City Music Hall in NYC. For information, photos, videos, and more, go to TonyAwards.com.

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