“The Guild objects in the strongest possible terms to the exclusion of this award from the live broadcast. We have received assurances in the past that the Tony producers recognize that this is an important award and that they would reinstate it in the show that everybody sees.
“As writers we understand that the television show needs to be entertaining in order to attract and hold its audience. And the Guild recognizes that many of its members’ brother and sister artists, from designers to choreographers to orchestrators, will be similarly disadvantaged on Sunday night.
“Nevertheless, the theatre is always spoken of as ‘The Writer’s Medium,’ as was even said in last year’s broadcast. So it seems especially ironic that the awards show that purports to represent the theatre gives less recognition to writers than the motion picture industry’s Academy Awards.
“We strongly urge that the Best Book Award be put back where it belongs. Live, on the air.”
-Stephen Schwartz, composer, lyricist & President of the Dramatists Guild of America
While we’re on the subject of omissions, I am incensed that for the second year in a row Best Revival of a Play is being relegated to the webcast awards. Four different playwrights (living and dead) with unique voices and exemplary writing are present in a category stronger than Best Musical or Musical Revival. Perhaps the producer and not the playwright does receive this particular award, but it is an insult to drama and the legacies of these authors to push them aside so audiences can be treated to such innocuous fare as the national tours of Legally Blonde, Mamma Mia and the tribute to Jersey Boys.
Over the past few years, the awards ceremony has become a three hour commercial for Broadway. To celebrate achievement in live theatre, which is the most collaborative of the performing arts, it’s rather ironic that the telecast is selecting which awards are important enough to air in the national telecast. But get with it Tony Awards people because we’re on to you.