Coming Last is the Place to Be at the Tony Awards
Hamilton taking an almost clean sweep of the eligible Tony Awards wasn’t a surprise for anyone who has heard of this Hamil-mania. But their follow up performance definitely was!
Hamilton was the shining star of the 2015/16 season on Broadway. It has pretty much sold out tickets for the rest of the year with any resales occurring in writer and leading star Lin-Manuel Miranda’s final week fetching a price tag of almost $10,000! And all this is despite incredible competition which would have each ruled over Broadway had they not been up against Hamilton. Sara Bareilles’ Waitress, the starry Shuffle Along, Deaf West’s Spring Awakening and the popular revival of The Colour Purple would have all been able to walk out with a clean sweep had this season not been so strong.
But it was not to be. Hamilton almost broke the record of most Tony Awards picking up Best Musical, Best Leading Actor in a Musical and Best Featured Actor in a Musical among eight other awards. And this hype is sure to continue well into the future due to the extended advertisement they received during the broadcast . . . much more than any of their competitors.
The general rule is that each show nominated in the Best Musical and Best Revival of a Musical gets a short slot on the broadcast to sing one of their feature songs (or a medley as most chose to do this year) which is essentially an advertisement to the several million people who tune in. Of course, rules are meant to be broken and exceptions have been made for other popular shows willing to stump up the entrance fee such as the Godspell revival in 2012, Finding Neverland last year and this year’s Gloria Estefan-inspired hit On Your Feet!.
However, this year featured a different kind of exception with musical juggernaut being given three spots throughout the broadcast (and arguably two of the most important sections). The very opening number, their performance amongst the awards and then they closed out the show after they had won the Best Musical award.
This is publicity that money cannot buy! Plenty of people tuned in at the beginning to check what the fuss was about and they got a preview of Hamilton and then people walked away at the end humming another song from Hamilton. Was this just because it was Hamilton or will the Tony producers now afford this closing opportunity to every Best Musical winning show?
In my opinion, every Best Musical award winner should get the opportunity to close the show. It is a great note to finish on for the celebrations but also a great way to ensure that ticket sales move strongly on the next morning as this show is freshest in people’s minds. Especially as the overriding focus of this event from an audience point of view is to move inventory.
Let’s hope this is the start of a great new opportunity for the winning show, because while Hamilton certainly didn’t need the extra promotion (good luck getting a ticket now!), it would be a great opportunity for some of the winning shows which could do with an extra boost!