Tonys Backpedal on Critics Ban, Will Remain Largely But Not Completely Irrelevant

03/26/2010 12:25 PM |

Tony playbill

The most surprising and controversial moment of last year’s Tony Awards came over a month after the prizes were handed out, when the committee in charge of the awards announced that theater critics would no longer be allowed to vote. Given that the rest of the voters are industry people who are liable to vote for their own shows or those of friends and colleagues, the loss of a (relatively) unbiased, critical voting contingent seemed like another step towards the Tonys (June 13) becoming a pointless, Golden Globes-caliber evening of self-congratulatory insider back-patting, celeb-sighting and ratings-baiting.

Yesterday, Upstaged broke news that the Tony committee had rescinded their voting ban on the New York Drama Critics’ Circle, whose 100 or so members will be allowed to vote again this year. Of course, that won’t make any difference for the all but guaranteed big winners: A View From the Bridge for Best Play and Fela! for Best Musical. Meanwhile we’ll keep caring more about the Obies.