The pool of Tony voters has decreased by about 100.
The Tony Management Committee has elected to revoke the voting privileges of the members of the first night press list — that is, the critics, journos and editors who are invited to see productions on or before a show’s official opening night.
In a memo sent out late Tuesday, the Tony administrators reasoned that the impartiality of members of the fourth estate may be compromised by their involvement in voting for the legit world’s highest-profile kudo- fest. The announcement also noted that such journos have plenty of opportunity to make their opinions known throughout the course of their coverage of the theater season.
The decision reduces the number of Tony voters to about 700 members of the industry, drawn from orgs including the American Theater Wing, the Broadway League, the Dramatists Guild and legit unions including Actors Equity and the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society.
Change puts voting power squarely in the hands of the industry’s producers, creatives and road presenters. Move immediately provoked concerns that the kudos would take on an industry-only slant without considering the input of outside observers from the world of journalism. Others noted that voting members of the industry inevitably have vested interests in many of the productions in contention for awards, and are thereby subject to the same conflicts of interest that the new rule intends to eradicate.