While the Tony Awards aren't for another seven months, news surrounding the awards ceremony is already making waves. The first round of Tony eligibility decisions have been made and many of them seemed obvious. However, one big shocker was that the recent and controversial production of 1984 will be left off the ballot completely.
And it's anyone's guess why.
According to Broadway.com:
"The Broadway staging of 1984, which ran from May 18 through October 8 at the Hudson Theatre, is ineligible to compete in any category. Stars Reed Birney, Tom Sturridge and Olivia Wilde will not be considered for their performances. In a statement, Tony Award Productions said, “The show did not fulfill all of the eligibility requirements as outlined by the Tony Rules and Regulations.” No further elaboration on the decision was provided."
While I never thought that the show would be a strong contender given the expected crowded field and its short run in the early part of the season, I thought it was definitely worthy of a couple of nominations. A couple that came to mind would certainly be, at least, for Tom Sturridge and some design categories, especially with the return of the Sound Design award.
However, it's unfortunate that no one will be recognized with even a nomination at this year's awards.
I also find the explanation from the Tony Awards Administration Committee a bit troubling. I do feel, especially in an era where transparency is a good thing, that the public should know why this show isn't being considered. Was it the age restriction? (Not Likely) Was it that not enough Tony voters saw the show? (More likely, in fact, I'm hearing that it is from more than one source) Is this payback at Scott Rudin for preventing Sunday in the Park with George extending its run at the Hudson? (While juicy, probably not)
Some may disagree with this but I feel that while theatre is created for art's sake, shows are brought to Broadway to make money and win Tonys. When the latter is prevented from happening, the reasoning shouldn't be as confidential as the Tony Awards Administration Committee is making it.
Although, as long as it's no fault of his own, I'm willing to bet producer Scott Rudin won't be staying quiet on this one. So I do expect(hope) that we will find out why one of the most buzz-worthy shows of 2017 won't be represented at the Tony Awards.
PHOTO CREDIT: JULIETA CERVANTES