Tony nominations 2010: angst over nods to Hollywood stars
The American Theatre Wing's 2010 Tony nominations list, released Tuesday morning, includes Hollywood heavy-hitters like Denzel Washington and Scarlett Johannson.
Nominations for the 64th annual Tony Awards came out this morning, and supporters and critics alike are pointing to the high number of red-carpet, Hollywood names on the list: Denzel Washington, Scarlett Johansson, Jude Law, Kelsey Grammer, and Christopher Walken among them. The program has been nationally televised since 1967 but, say theater professionals and longtime observers, the trend toward big-name movie stars sends a dire message about the future of legitimate theater.Skip to next paragraph
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
“The film industry used to be a parasite on theater,” he says, hearkening back to the early days when only those who failed on the legitimate stage would go to work in Hollywood. “But now theater is a parasite on the film industry, a trend that is being accelerated by the demands of the TV show that needs a red carpet.” Mr. Suber, who has taught for 45 years and regularly flies to New York to attend the theater, points out that the Tonys telecast is modeled on the Academy Awards show, and says that as all awards shows have been doing well lately in the ratings, “why shouldn’t the theater try for the same thing?”
“In these times, Broadway producers are striving to create ‘must-see’ events. Hollywood star casting has become one of the ways they try to meet this need,” he says in an email.
“Unfortunately, in some cases the Hollywood stars are not able to deliver on-stage, eight shows a week.”
Broadway relies more and more on Hollywood stars to sell tickets, says Catherine Rodgers, Professor of Theatre, Meredith College in Raleigh, NC, especially for non-musicals. “As brilliant as Jude Law's "Hamlet" and Denzel Washington's portrayal in “Fences” are, they are cast to fill the seats at a time when Broadway ticket prices are soaring. This is more and more the trend of the London stage, also, particularly on the West End where Law originated his leading role in Hamlet last year,” she says by email.