Playbill Poll: Readers Pick New Categories for Tony Awards

By Carey Purcell
June 7, 2013

It's Tony time at Playbill, which means we are eating, sleeping and breathing the awards (which will be held June 9 at 8 PM, in case you didn't know). While we've been thinking about nothing but the Tonys, we wondered what was on our readers' minds.



The Tony Awards, which were founded in 1947 to honor excellence on Broadway, are named for the late Antoinette Perry, an actress, director, producer and co-founder of the American Theatre Wing, who died in 1946. The awards have numerous categories, but along with the current nominees, we wanted to hear who our readers thought should also be recognized at the ceremony. 

Click through to read what new awards categories were suggested for the Tony Awards.

Pippin
Photo by Joan Marcus

BEST ENSEMBLE
Broadway_Probz: Without a doubt, [an] ensemble group award!
calvinsings: should add best ensemble performance. The best chorus always give 110%, and they deserve to be recognized!
Janine Mar Best: Ensemble/Chorus would be amazing! All parts of a show should have the opportunity to be represented separately and I think the ensemble often gets passed over.

A good ensemble is key for a large show to succeed. Shows like Peter and the Starcatcher and Pippin feature strong groups of actors who worked seamlessly together. But if an entire ensemble won a Tony, the acceptance speech might get a little long…

Musical Director/Orchestrator Michael Starobin
Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

BEST MUSICAL DIRECTOR

cwfornwalt76: They MUST add best Musical Direction. It is too important of a job not to be recognized.
Don Hopkinson: Best Musical Direction! We celebrate directors and choreographers, but you can't have a musical, kids, without a quality musical director.
darrenled: Music Direction/Supervision...the only member of the "Creative Team" not on the Ballot
Wiley DeWeese: Best Music Direction! Like any other member of a show's creative team (choreographer, orchestrator, sound designer), the music director makes choices which help to shape the production. A good music director brings clarity, focus, and intention to the musical aspects of a show. It could be argued that they are largely responsible for whether a score connects with an audience or not. Music Directors do a lot of tangible, integral work, and definitely deserve to be recognized!

What's a musical without music? Whether the performers dance onstage with their instruments, like in Once, or there is a 28-piece orchestra, like the 2011 revival of Follies, the music of a Broadway show is part of its magic. 

Daisy Eagan and Alison Fraser in The Secret Garden.
Photo by Bob Marshak

BEST CHILD ACTOR

Hannah Schutzler: Best child actor
RyanSandy42: best child actor! nominees including lilla crawford, the matilda girls, the kinky boots boys, etc.

This musicals Annie, A Christmas Story and Matilda all feature youthful casts on Broadway. The youngest winners in Tony history are Frankie Michaels (Mame), age 10, and Daisy Eagan (The Secret Garden), age 11. If an entire category was created for child performers, what should the cutoff age be? And, would we have to move the ceremony to an earlier time slot, so they don't stay up too late?

Sierra Boggess joined the cast of Phantom of the Opera for a limited engagement this winter.
Photo by Joan Marcus

BEST REPLACEMENT

Dan Buccheri: Best Replacement in a Leading Role in a Musical.. for all the stunning actors and actresses who take over a leading role in a Musical that's been running... this would give credit to many who deserve it and also potentially launch the careers of many talented performers
khemingway: best replacement! too many outstanding performances by people who didn't originate roles go entirely unrecognized!
realityrobert: Best replacement in both plays and musicals. There are a lot of great actors that take over a role.

This category was first introduced in 2005 for the 2006 Tony Awards, but an award was never given to a performer. Perhaps it's time to reintroduce this idea.

A young Shirley MacLaine got her start as an ensemble member and understudy in The Pajama Game .

BEST UNDERSTUDY

Cortney H.: Best standby/understudy for a leading role...they never seem to get enough credit
Sandra MacDonald Adams: Best understudy in a leading role. They are usually amazing AND perform in the ensemble every single night. I say no to "best ensemble." The Tonys would turn into "everybody on stage deserves a trophy" attitude. Sort of like children's sports awards....where we are all winners type of attitude.

There's no shortage of talent on Broadway waiting to get the role that make them stars. Performers who got their big breaks when understudying include Shirley MacLaine, Anthony Hopkins, Taye Diggs and Sutton Foster.

BEST CREW, BEST ORCHESTRA, BEST SONG

Jen Lau: best backstage crew [make-up artists, stage hands, dressers, etc.] they are also unsung heroes that ensure the actors are able to perform at their best.

We see the magic onstage, but what about the people who create it, behind the curtain? An award to recognize the behind-the-scenes team was another popular suggestion.

mecheeze: Best orchestra. The pit doesn't get enough credit!

Showing even more love for the music on Broadway, this was a popular suggestion as well.

Vicki Boston: How about BEST SONG? Yes BEST SCORE IS great. But BEST SONG too.
jhbonline: best original song

Who doesn't want to see more musical performances at the Tony Awards?

Casting director Bernard Telsey

BEST CASTING, BEST PROJECTION DESIGN

RaeAGray: new category: best casting direction. An award for the casting directors that find all the people that make up the casts.

This suggestion showed even more love for the people who keep things moving smoothy behind the scenes.

darrenled: Technology in the theatre. It is 2013. Projection Design?
Roger Gindi: I think Projection Design. Not as a separate award, but the producers should get to pick whether their projections are considered part of the set or light.

Maybe instead of a trophy, the award could be the latest high-tech Apple product.

Honorable mentions included Best Stage Manager, Best Fan of a Musical, Best Comedy, Best Dance/Opera, Most Promising Newcomer, and Best Jazz hands.