After being bumped from performing the final best musical nominee number on the Tony Awards on June 6, producers of It Ain't Nothin' But The Blues retained an attorney in order to seek some compensation from losing the exposure (and new audience members) a live musical number on the Tony's usually brings .
The show has gotten extra publicity from the controversy, however; and now they'll get some high profile, late-night exposure when the cast will get to perform two numbers -- "Members Only" and "Let The Good Times Roll" -- on CBS-TV's "Late Show With David Letterman," June 9.
A spokesperson for It Ain't Nothin' But The Blues cautioned that the Letterman showcase isn't necessarily a cure-all for the bad blood between the Blues producers and the Tony organizers. He noted that the musical's producers will have to pay the usual actors' union fees to appear on the broadcast, and that the Letterman show was selected because it had an unusually large and broad audience, rather than CBS offering it as a kind of make-good.
In a statement released on June 7, producer Eric Krebs said, "I and my fellow producers recognize that It Ain't Nothing But the Blues has been substantially damaged as a result of last evenings Tony Awards telecast snub. Scheduled as the ceremony's rousing '11:00 O'Clock Number,' The Blues company was forced to surrender their allotted four minute performance segment. The company was scheduled to perform 'Members Only' by Larry Addison and 'Let the Good Time Roll' by F. Moore and S. Thread."
Krebs also remarked, "We have retained attorney Bertram Fields to advise us on a course of action. The Tony management committee has been responsive to exploring various options for rectifying the damage to our show...Every week the show's grosses have increased." Co-creator and Tony nominee of Blues Ron Taylor remarked, "Unfortunately and ironically, the omission of a Blues performance at the Tony Awards is exactly what our show is about. It's still going on - it's exactly what happened last night. We're going to go out onstage tomorrow night and sing the Blues and it will be a little more bluesy this week. But we will recover. We will recover and go on, and that's what our show is about."
The Tonys released the following statement in response: "Tony Award Productions regrets that the musical number from It Ain't Nothin' But the Blues did not appear on the 1999 telecast. As it became clear that the show was running long, many cuts were made throughout the telecast including another important whole segment, the recap of the Tony winners announced earlier on PBS. All of the cuts were made in order to complete the program on time."
In a June 8 story, the Daily News quoted an unidentified source at CBS that the network was planning to reimburse the producers of Blues for the expenses it incurred prepping a number for the Tony broadcast. Producer Krebs also told the News that Tony officials have been "very responsive" in exploring ways to make up for the omission.
It Ain't Nothin' But The Blues is currently playing an open run at the Vivian Beaumont Theatre.