The Tony Administration Committee, which oversees the Broadway awards jointly run by the Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing, has expanded the list of nominators for next season’s awards to 50 people, including two from the administration of former NY Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The announcement comes in the wake of widespread dissatisfaction with the nominating process that culminated in the Tony Awards on Sunday, notably in the selections of nominees for Best Musical and in the number of stars in celebrated performances who were bypassed. They included Denzel Washington, Daniel Radcliffe, Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart, Rachel Weisz, among others.
New to the committee are two highly respected members of the Bloomberg administration: former culture czar Kate Levin and Katherine Oliver, who, as commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, was responsible for relations between the city and the film and television industries.
Also newly appointed are two people with strong ties to Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts: former president Reynold Levy and Nigel Redden, who runs both the Lincoln Center and Spoleto U.S.A. festivals. Other prominent cultural figures added to the list are Preston Whiteway, executive director of the Eugene O’Neill Center; Paul Cremo, commissioning czar at the Metropolitan Opera; writer Patricia Marx; Ravi S. Rajan, chairman of the School of the Arts at SUNY-Purchase; and former Williamstown Theatre Festival artistic director Jenny Gersten.
The administration committee hasn’t yet addressed rules that prevent the nominators from discussing their choices in the final stages of the, which has led to frustration among the people entrusted with determining who will fill the slots at Tony time. That situation was clearly one reason for some of the more bizarre choices and oversights in this year’s races, notably the decision to leave an empty space in the Best Musical category when several flawed but worthy entries were left out of the running.