Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Broadway Buzz: And The Award Goes To…

You see them highlighting the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center’s posters, but just what does it mean that a show’s “award-winning?” Is there only one award? Which awards count for what? Here’s a quick breakdown of some of the most high profile awards and what they might mean for your next trip to the theater.

Tony Award
The Tony Awards®
The Tony Awards, named for Antoinette Perry, launched in 1947 and took the national spotlight in 1967 when it was first televised nationwide. Nominees each year are selected from among shows that have opened in an eligible Broadway theater. A nominating committee of 35 theater professionals sees every show before making nominations, and awards are based on input from approximately 750 Tony voters, like the Center’s president Susan Stockton.

The Brits have their own version of Broadway known as the West End and their own awards show named after Sir Laurence Olivier. There’s some give and take across the pond, so you’ll often hear Olivier references for shows with dual citizenship like Billy Elliot the Musical.

The Obie Awards  
Created by The Village Voice, The Obie Awards honor excellence in off-Broadway and off-off Broadway productions. Around since 1955, the Obies play a significant role in promoting the off-Broadway and off-off Broadway theater scene. For many familiar titles, off-Broadway is an important evolutionary step as the show grows and develops.

The Drama Desk Awards  
The Drama Desk Awards take into account Broadway, off-Broadway and off-off Broadway shows playing in New York City. Founded in 1949, the Drama Desk Awards are unique in that the voters are comprised of media professionals, hence the name.

The Pulitzer Prize
Wait a second… Isn’t the Pulitzer Prize awarded for writers? The Pulitzer Prize honors excellence in journalism and art, including an award for drama. Shows like Clybourne Park, Next to Normal and even South Pacific have been honored by Pulitzer. Interestingly, if submissions in any particular year do not meet a degree of excellence expected by Colombia University’s Pulitzer Board, the honor is simply not bestowed on a lesser work.

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