Arizona Tony party nixed

Bash to boost kudos scrapped due to bad sales

A large-scale Tony Awards viewing party in Tempe, Ariz. — part of a push to boost the national profile of the annual Broadway kudos — has been scuttled due to poor sales.

About 300 people bought tickets to the event, which was to have been held in the 3,000-seat auditorium of ASU Gammage, the arts presenter located on the Tempe campus of Arizona State U.

Initial outlay costs of about $30,000 have been lost due to the cancellation, according to ASU Gammage exec director Colleen Jennings-Roggensack.

Event was planned with the participation of Gotham’s Tony Awards administration, with an eye toward using it as a pilot program for similar Tony-night viewing parties to be held around the country.

Jennings-Roggensack said she blames the lackluster response on the late announcement of the event. She added that the Tonys’ June 13 ceremony falls just as Arizona’s summer weather really begins heating up and driving locals out of town.

“I think it was a matter of timing and heat,” she said. “We just didn’t get the turnout.”

Event would have included a live simulcast of the ceremony, rather than the tape-delay version seen by everyone else in the time zone, as well as a gala dinner for patrons who opted for a top-tier ticket. About 50 dinners to the gala were bought for a pricetag of $150 (as opposed to the $20-$35 for which general tickets to the event were offered).

The Tempe site for the event was chosen in part because of the robust auds that turn out there for touring Main Stem shows. Jennings-Roggensack noted that the Tuesday following the Tonys, the venue was set to host a sold-out kickoff perf for the Gammage stop of the “In the Heights” national tour.

Viewing party cancellation reps a setback in the Tony Awards’ efforts to pump up the nationwide profile of the Gotham-centric legit kudos. Still, Jennings-Roggensack said she hopes to give the event another try next year, with the intent of beginning to build awareness earlier in the presenter’s subscription season.

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