White Cherry Entertainment’s Ricky Kirshner and Glenn Weiss have produced the Tony Awards ceremony and live telecast since 2003. They’re now in the final stretch for this year’s show, hosted by Kristin Chenoweth and Alan Cumming at Radio City Music Hall June 7.
What’s your take on the nominated shows performing on the telecast this year?
RK: There’s a lot of dance, with “On the Town,” “An American in Paris” and “The King and I.” And between “Something Rotten!” and the two hosts, there’s a lot of comedy.
The theater industry loves Kristin and Alan, but some observers worried they didn’t have the kind of star power of previous hosts like Hugh Jackman and Neil Patrick Harris.
GW: Because they’re so loved in the theater community, there’s a different kind of intimacy with them. And while the host does affect ratingsand audience interest, the year’s shows do too. The year we had “The Book of Mormon,” people wanted to see what all the buzz was about.
What’s your advice for producers trying to figure out what songs or sequences to perform on the telecast?
RK: A showstopper in your theater is not necessarily a showstopper out of context. We respect all of our producers, of course, but they’ve been in bed with the material for so long. Sometimes an outside perspective helps.
GW: If I know nothing about your show, what can you do that will help someone understand it better? It doesn’t have to be the big wow, with everyone onstage tap-dancing.
RK: The ceremony itself has a flow too. It can’t all be great big production numbers. You need the softer moments too.