Sunday, June 04, 2006

Were Tony's Greatest Would-Be Contenders Off-Broadway?

Were Tony's Greatest Would-Be Contenders Off-Broadway?

In a thoughtful, yet provocative story in this morning's The New York Times, Ben Brantley and Charles Isherwood opine that some of the best of New York's theatre during the 2005-06 season were found Off-Broadway -- firmly out of the technical grasp of the Tony Awards. Together, they cite such productions as Horton Foote's The Trip to Bountiful and the musical Grey Gardens (which will see a Broadway mounting during the next year) as prime examples of shows that would have merited multiple Tony nods if only the American Theatre Wing's rules allowed for theatres with smaller capacities to be included for consideration.

Brantley and Isherwood also sang the praises of such outstanding plays as Abigail's Party, All's Well That Ends Well, Defiance, In The Continuum, Landscape of the Body, Private Fears In Public Places, Red Light Winter, Stuff Happens, The Little Dog Laughed and Third; while taking note of the musical "[title of show]". Naturally, many of the shows simply don't transfer to the larger Broadway stage because of the almighty dollar and fears over lack of wider commercial success. Sadly, these productions often have some of the best talent, both on-stage and off.

Frankly, I agree with their assessment. This was a less than satisfying Broadway season. All but one of my 10 "SOB Best of 2005-06 Theatrical Season" selections were produced outside the confines of Broadway (Sweeney Todd was my only Broadway choice to make my top ten). Eight of my picks were outside of New York altogether.

Will the tide turn? It's not likely anytime soon, and that's why I usually try to balance my trips to Broadway with sidetrips Off-Broadways. Hopefully, if you love good theatre, so do you.

This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).

Click here for Tony Awards tickets.
Related Stories:

The Tonys: If I Could Vote....for Best Revival of a Play (June 5, 2006)
The Tonys: If I Could Vote....for Best Revival of a Musical (June 4, 2006)
The Tonys: If I Could Vote....for Best Play (June 3, 2006)
The Tonys: If I Could Vote...for Best Musical (May 31, 2006)
SOB's Best of 2005-06: #1 - Theater Of The New Ear (Royce Hall, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA) (May 30, 2006)
SOB’s Best of 2005-06: #2 – Guys And Dolls (Piccadilly Theatre, London, UK) (May 26, 2006)
SOB’s Best of 2005-06: #3 – Hedda Gabler (Brooklyn Academy of Music – Harvey Theatre, New York, NY) (May 25, 2006)
SOB’s Best of 2005-06: #4 – A Blameless Life (Steppenwolf Garage, Chicago, IL) (May 24, 2006)
SOB’s Best of 2005-06: #5 – Reeling (The Children’s Theatre Company, Minneapolis, MN) (May 23, 2006)
SOB’s Best of 2005-06: #6 – “MASTER HAROLD”…And The Boys (Steppenwolf Theatre, Chicago, IL) (May 21, 2006)
SOB’s Best of 2005-06: #7 – Love Song (Steppenwolf Theatre, Chicago, IL) (May 19, 2006)
SOB's Best of 2005-06: #8 - Billy Elliot The Musical (Victoria Palace Theatre, London, UK) (May 18, 2006)
SOB's Best of 2005-06: #9 - The Well-Appointed Room (Steppenwolf Theatre, Chicago, IL) (May 17, 2006)
Tony Award Nominations Announced (May 16, 2006)
SOB's Best of 2005-06: #10 - Sweeney Todd, The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (Eugene O'Neill Theatre, New York, NY) (May 15, 2006)
The SOB Five "Worst" of 2005-06 (May 12, 2006)
SOB's Best and Worst of 2005-06 Theatre Season (May 12, 2006)

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