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Danbury High School     43 Clapboard Ridge Road Danbury, CT 06811     (203) 797-4800

The Hatters' Herald

Danbury High School     43 Clapboard Ridge Road Danbury, CT 06811     (203) 797-4800

The Hatters' Herald

Lingering effects of Covid or not, this year’s Tony Award Nominations surprise many

77th Tony Awards Nomination

Considering that it has been four years since the disease’s initial outbreak, many would think the various after-effects of Covid are long gone but for this year’s Tony Award Nominations, which were announced on Tuesday, April 30th, has been seen as not the case. 

During Covid, over 40 Broadway shows shut down. Along with them, the dozens set to premiere were prevented from doing so until years later. Since September of 2021 when Broadway reopened following the initial Covid outbreak, the majority of shows were able to open their theater doors once again and operate as they had been pre-pandemic. Along with them, shows such as Company, Diana, and Caroline, or Change were finally able to premiere after years of stagnation. Nonetheless, this year’s Tony Award Nominations revealed that the effects of Covid still had a presence in the Broadway community, more particularly, the number of nominees per category.

In typical years, the majority of awards have between three and five nominations per category, according to Playbill. However, as a result of the abundance of “new” shows in competition for awards this year, that number jumped for several categories, including the Best Actress for Featured Role in a Musical which has seven nominated actresses. Consequently, the chances of a nominee winning an award decrease substantially, and their show’s opportunity to get recognition along with it. 

According to Broadway show enthusiast and Seattle native, Troy Skubitz, unlike previous years, he “cannot predict which new musical will win this year.” Despite the great number of nominations for the shows he’s seen, “none of them appear to be ‘great.’”

Of the new Broadway shows eligible for nominations in this year’s Tonys alone, Skubitz highlighted 16 out of the 38 he’s traveled to see. In concurrence with the 17% drop in show attendance since 2020 recorded in March 2024, he explained how since the pandemic’s initial shutdown “there are plenty of people who have been writing and producing shows,” yet he didn’t view any in particular as “ready for the ‘big time.’” Of the shows he did believe to be worthy of recognition, many did not do nearly as well in the nominations as Skubitz expected, despite the number of them overall. 

In contrast, however, “SiriusXM On Broadway” co-hosts, Christine Pedi and Julie James expressed their opinions that this season was a packed field with more than enough qualified nominees. Nevertheless, they too emphasized their frustration regarding several shows which did not receive nominations, particularly highlighting How to Dance in Ohio and The Wiz.

With the increase in numbers of nominees, which Skubitz credited to “ties in a particular category,” there is an inevitable decrease in the chance of shows leaving the June 16th Tony Award ceremony with the recognition they often require for long-term success. This results in frustrated fans like Pedi and James, similar to any other year. The only difference is unlike any other year in which the nominations per category stayed consistent with the typical 3-5, this year’s Tony Nominations were atypical in that regard, elevating the disappointment those similar to Skubitz feel. 

“I think The Notebook deserved more nominations than it received.” The Notebook, based on Nicholas Sparks’ original book and later popular movie adaptation, was turned into a Broadway show with music and lyrics by Ingrid Michaelson that officially opened on March 14th. 

Skubitz explained that while “the show isn’t perfect,” its subject matter is “hugely relatable,” adding how “everyone around [him] was crying” in the Broadway theater “as were the people when [he] saw it in Chicago for its pre-Broadway run.” 

However, whether the perceived lack of both “standout” shows and those rightfully nominated in this year’s Tonys is directly related to the pandemic is not a certainty. The recorded $5 increase for a Broadway show ticket since the pandemic, correlated with a drop in attendance for shows seems to be playing a great part in this year’s Tony Nominations. Nevertheless, many, such as Skubitz, are positive that Broadway can recover from this attendance dip as they have in past slow years. At the end of the day, “it’s a miracle when a show makes a profit,” whether they receive awards or not. Skubitz encourages others to keep that thought in mind along with the “old adage” that “you can’t make a living in theater, but you can make a killing,” which he affirmed is not lost on him while tuning into this year’s Tony Awards and the success or failure they bring to new Broadway shows. 

With that being said, while some of these shows will inevitably see an early curtain close due to being shut out of nominations, as assured by James and Pedi, they will have a long life on regional and school stages for many years to come due to their uplifting themes, mass appeal, and number of characters. If you happen to miss out on their limited Broadway runs, James and Pedi suggests viewers to be on the lookout for shows such as How to Dance in Ohio and Huey Lewis’ rave reviewed Heart of Rock and Roll at a theater near you.

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About the Contributor
Jenna Saltzman
Jenna Saltzman, Senior Editor
I am currently a Junior and this is my third year writing for Hatters' Herald. I was interested in becoming a writer for this newspaper because I enjoy writing and see it as an opportunity to grow as a writer. Aside from writing, I enjoy swimming on the DHS Girls Swim Team. 

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