It’s infuriating to us here at BritishTheatre.com that the United Kingdom is not deemed worthy of a telecast of the Tony Awards YET AGAIN!
London’s thriving West End is a mecca for theatre lovers. Last year alone over 15,000,000 (Figures from Society Of London Theatre) attended a show in one of the capital’s theatres.
Harold Prince is famous for his mantra that “You can’t really listen to a musical unless you can look at it“, and I’m a firm believer in that statement here. Each year British tourists and hard-core theatre fans travel to New York to enjoy theatre, yet we are not afforded a chance to watch a programme that the Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing proport to be Broadway’s calling-card to the world. It’s their chance to show off Broadway’s best, but you have to wonder why year after year there is no telecast for the UK – one of the world’s major theatre markets!
“It seems a shame that Broadway shows aren’t being seen on their night of nights here in the UK” said Jonathan Mountford whose company MADE markets both Broadway and West End shows to tourists on both sides of the Atlantic.
This year, there are a record number of Brits in line for awards and it’s frustrating for supporters not to be able to cheers on their favourites. Shows like Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, and the National Theatre’s stunning production of Angels in America represent two major awards contenders.
In the Best Performance by an Actor in a Lead Role category British actors are four out of the five nominees with Andrew Garfield, Tom Hollander, Jamie Parker, and Mark Rylance up against the might of Denzel Washington. Elsewhere Glenda Jackson, Harry Hadden-Patton, Anthony Boyle, Noma Dumezweni, Denise Gough, Gavin Lee, Dame Diana Rigg, Jonathan Fensom, Nicky Gillibrand, Katrina Lindsay, Neil Austin, Paule Constable, Paul Russell, Ian Dickinson, Gareth Fry, Marianne Elliott, Patrick Marber, John Tiffany, Steven Hoggett, and even our very own Andrew Lloyd Webber are all nominated.
Last year I was lucky enough to be able to watch the telecast streamed live whilst I was in Australia! I’m an Aussie and growing up we had a telecast of the Tony Awards via the Australian Broadcasting Commission for as many years as I can remeber. It’s one of the greatest memories I have is watching that programme and it’s the thing that really got me into theatre. If Australia warrants a telecast why not the UK!
Given the amount of rubbish shown on Britains major networks BBC, ITV, Channel Four, Five, and Sky you would think someone who favour showing the telecast. We are flummoxed that Sky Arts, a channel that is dedicated to the Arts isn’t showing it.
So, I lay down the gauntlett to the American Theatre Wing, the Broadway League, the plethora of UK Broadcasters, and even CBS who produce the show. You have one year to get your act together and get the UK a telecast.