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Will ‘Springsteen on Broadway’ Be a Tony Contender?

Tony voters are still anxiously awaiting invitations to “Springsteen on Broadway” — which means that Bruce Springsteen’s much-anticipated blockbuster isn’t eligible for this spring’s Tony Awards.

At least, not yet.

With “Springsteen on Broadway” starting previews on Oct. 3, early reports have pointed out that the Boss rigorously sticks to a script in the intimate evening of songs and stories. (At initial performances, he even had a teleprompter to keep him on track.) Buzz in the music industry suggests that the show is so tightly scripted in order to give it a better chance at the Tonys. It’s worth noting, too, that Springsteen already has an Oscar (for “Streets of Philadelphia,” a song from 1993 film “Philadelphia”) and several Grammys on his mantel. A Tony would bring him one step closer to EGOT status.

But there are a number of obstacles standing in the way of the production’s awards eligibility — not least of which is scraping together tickets for 850 voters (and their plus-ones) from a sold-out inventory. Reps for the show wouldn’t comment on the producers’ plans for Tony voters, and sources suggest a final decision hasn’t yet been made.

Many in the theater industry expect “Springsteen on Broadway” will follow the lead of last season’s “Sunday in the Park With George,” the revival with Jake Gyllenhaal that opted out of awards competition. Doing so spared the production the expense of 1,700 comps, giving it a better chance of making it into the black during a very short run. (It ultimately did recoup.)

But if Springsteen and his team decide to make a run at awards season, they’d better act fast. Tony rules and regulations state that free tickets must be made available to voters for performances no later than 16 weeks after opening night. “Springsteen on Broadway” officially opens Oct. 12, and the 16-week mark falls just about the time that the production, which announced a 10-week extension in August, is currently slated to close on Feb. 3. Producers likely wouldn’t be able to come up with voter tickets unless it extended again, and some sort of negotiation with the Tony Administration Committee would probably be necessary in order to expand the deadline for voter invitations.

For now, it’s an open question. And in the meantime, Tony voters — who, like everybody else, are dying to catch the Boss on Broadway — are keeping their fingers crossed.

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