May 20, 2017

Tony Talk Podcast-Episode 8: The Campaign

The race is on. It may be done more politely than it was during our last presidential campaign (thank goodness), but the Tony nominees are beginning to elbow one another out of the way as they try to win voters—and that gold-plated statuette. 

That means placing expensive ads in both trade publications like Playbill and general-interest ones like The New York Times, where a full-page ad can reportedly costs $250,000. A Doll's House, Part 2, which was nominated for eight awards, including Best Play, took out four full pages in last Sunday's paper and another full one in Friday's.

Campaigning also means that the shows and their publicists are competing to get as much press coverage as possible for their nominated actors, playwrights, directors and designers. They're also trying to persuade those folks to attend the dozens of other awards ceremonies and events that happen at this time of year. 

And as though, that weren't enough, shows try to woo voters by sending them swag that includes cast recordings of the nominated musicals, special editions of the plays, inscribed book marks, beautiful coffee table books and, of course, free tickets to see the shows.

But as the New York Post theater columnist Michael Riedel noted this week, even more attention is being lavished on the so-called road voters, the tour operators and theater owners in other parts of the country who make up about 10 percent of the Tony voters. They were in town this past week for their annual conference and were wined, dined and schmoozed throughout their stay (click here to read more about that).

All of this soliciting adds up to a lot of money and that's even before the $250,000 to $300,000 producers are estimated to spend on the musical numbers that will appear on the Tony broadcast on June 11.

This week my pals Patrick Pacheco, Bill Tynan and I talk about how likely these expensive—and exhausting—campaigns are to sway voters. You can hear what we had to say by clicking the orange button below, listening to our conversation on SoundCloud by clicking here or checking out all of our discussions on the Tony Talk homepage, which you can find here.

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