Monday, June 08, 2009

2009 Tony Awards are good for Broadway's Business

Thank goodness last nights 2009 Tony Awards presentation on CBS from 8-11pm was a very well produced show, especially when you consider that awards shows only come along once a year. It must be really difficult to get the celebrity presenters, the award recipients and all the actors on stage that are performing an excerpt from their respective shows- to get very little rehearsal time and then still be able to give the viewers at home a "real feel" for how exciting their show really is. So Bravo! to everyone involved in the show.

This Tony Awards presentation had video of the BEST PLAYS category shows as well as live presentations of the BEST MUSICAL category shows. In addition we got to see several excerpts from longer running shows like Jersey Boys, Legally Blonde and Mamma Mia! The Tony Awards presentation felt like a winner to me. I've seen 31 of them now and most people know that the ratings for the Tony Awards aren't usually stellar. But last nights show had Neil Patrick Harris as its host. Mr. Harris was brilliant, went off of the "cue cards" here and there to tell a story or two and some funny jokes. He managed to make a 3 hour show feel like the entertaining event that it is supposed to be. In fact Mr. Harris's ratings last night were the best since 2006. The show last night received "double-digit percentage gains in viewership as well as key demographics over the year before according to Nielsen's preliminary ratings. The number of viewers rose 11 % in all households, in particular 18 % in adults 18-49 and over 20 % in adults 25-54. Overall the increase in viewers rose 19 % to approximately 7.45 million from the 2008 telecast. It looks like the Tony Awards planning committee should ask Mr. Harris now to emcee the Tony Awards in 2010 sometime in the near future.

Other than the first few minutes of the telecast, when I had to keep checking the sound on my television to see if it was broken or not, the show just moved along. The first moment or two of the show had lots of distorted sounds. It appeared as if "behind the curtain" voices were being picked up by the front of stage microphones. After a few minutes everything appeared to be functioning well. As I said earlier, considering the show is only produced once yearly, these issues were minor as the show did a fantastic job showing the entire country how exciting Broadway Theater can be.

For the first time ever, the Tony Awards show was simulcast live to an audience of more than 1000 Times Square onlookers. A few weeks ago New York City closed off a section of Times Square in the theater district diverting some traffic but adding a relaxed and fun filled kind of a play area for tourists and 9 to 5'ers to hang out, walk around or sit for a few minutes in one of the lawn type chairs provided by the city. A brilliant move I might add.

After 31 years helping the public, tourists and corporate types alike, obtain reasonably priced Broadway theater tickets, I need to say that the Tony Awards shows, whether they received high ratings or not, always gave a nice shot in the arm to the Broadway Shows. The shows always sold lots of tickets for several weeks after the presentations.

This year was no different, even in this downward economy. Our phones at Applause Theater Service got busy right after the show. I personally was answering requests for multiple Tony Award winning shows like Billy Elliot (10 Awards), Next to Normal (3 awards) and God of Carnage (3 awards). Billy Elliot won the BEST MUSICAL prize, God of Carnage won the BEST PLAY and Next to Normal won 3 awards but was a very close runner up to Billy Elliot for Best Musical in my opinion. HAIR won the BEST REVIVAL award. You should consider seeing all of these shows as they represent a wonderful cross section of what the Broadway Theater is all about.

For a complete list of all the 2009 Tony Award winners simply click here.

After what some of us experts in Broadway Show ticket sales have seen as a lackluster 2009 selling period so far, I've got to tell you that I think the 2009 Tony Awards could very well be the beginning of what could be an excellent balance of the 2009-2010 Broadway season. Should you need expert advice on what to see and where to sit on Broadway, we hope you'll give us the opportunity to be of service to you, your family, friends and colleagues-whenever your plans include a visit to The Big Apple and...the Broadway Theater.

Take care theater lovers.

Sincerely,
Rich Gladstone
Applause Theater Service
311 west 43rd Street, suite 601
NY, NY 10036
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