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Tiny Tony

June 13, 2007

Critical and financial success in the arts rarely go hand in hand. It's common knowledge. But Campbell Robertson's article in yesterday's New York Times' about the "sell by dates" of several Tony Award-winning productions suggests a certain amount of surprise at the idea that a show can be both critically successful and close early.

"Of the winners of the four top awards, two — “Journey’s End,” winner of the best play revival, and “The Coast of Utopia,” a record breaker for most awards won by a play, with seven — have already closed and have no current plans to tour," writes Robertson. "Another — “Company,” winner of best musical revival — has been in critical condition at the box office for weeks."

Just like the Oscars, the Tonys present a skewed version of reality. And while every producer wants to make money on a show, there are all kinds of reasons why turning down the lights and putting away the greasepaint makes more sense than keeping things going -- even if the trophy cabinet is bulging with accolades.

Theatre is an ephemeral art. Productions come and go. If the Tony-lavished Broadway closings listed in Robertson's article tell us anything, it's how little currency the Tonys have.

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