Why Tommy Tune's Lifetime Achievement Award Should NOT Be Televised

Chris Peterson

I have the utmost respect for Richard Skipper, he's certainly one of the most well known theatre bloggers out there and if I could have half the success he's had, that would be quite something. But when it comes to his stance that Tommy Tune's Lifetime Achievement Award presentation should be apart of the Tony Awards telecast, he's wrong. 

This is not a slam on Tommy Tune by the way, he's a Broadway icon who should have received this award years ago. But with the Tony telecast being only 3 hours long, including commercials, including his award presentation would mean cutting something else. 

What Skipper doesn't make a case for is what should be cut to make room for the 5-10 minutes for Tune's acceptance presentation. Should it be another creative or technical award because they've pretty much been cut already? What about an acting or directing award? 

Should it be one of the musical performances, that are one of the main reasons why millions of people tune in to the show every year and in effect, inspire a future generation of performers? 

And if you include Tune's presentation, based on his accomplishments and the fact that he's being awarded his 10th Tony, shouldn't you also include Stephen Schwartz's acceptance of the Isabelle Stevenson's Award since he's being awarded his FIRST Tony looking award? Or what about the other special award recipients? Such as Adrian Bryan-Brown who owns the biggest Broadway PR firm in NY? Or Gene O'Donavan who's worked as a theatre technician for 40 years? If you include one on the telecast, shouldn't you include them all? 

And while Tune's achievements are many, I don't remember the demand for this award to be telecast when Marian Seldes, Edward Albee, Harold Prince, Stephen Sondheim, Julie Harris or Arthur Miller accepted theirs. If they didn't get their televised moment, why should Tune?

Finally, I've always believed that the televised portion of the Tonys are meant to award the present and inspire the future. And while Tune is certainly an icon, I don't see how cutting an award or performance to make room for an acceptance speech from someone who hasn't been involved on a Broadway production for almost 20 years, makes sense.  

I respect Skipper's opinion but he's not thinking about the whole picture. Tune will get his moment on the Tony stage and for those of you are fans of his, you can watch it as many times as you want on Youtube the next day. 


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