The Tony Awards will honor Bruce Springsteen in June for his production of “Springsteen on Broadway.” In the live-streamed ceremony early Tuesday morning announcing this year’s nominations, “Hamilton” star Leslie Odom Jr. called “Springsteen on Broadway,” which is performed entirely solo by the artist except for two songs where he is joined by his wife, singer Patti Scialfa, a “theatergoing experience of extraordinary dimensions.”
The wording of the announcement said that both Springsteen and John Leguizamo will be receiving special awards. While Leguizamo’s is for “his commitment to the theatre, bringing diverse stories and audiences to Broadway for three decades,” Springsteen’s is more vaguely worded, recognizing “a once-in-a-lifetime theater going experience for the Broadway stage, allowing fans an intimate look at a music idol.” The award is also at least partially in recognition of the show’s box-office success; according to Broadway World, it had grossed nearly $55 million through last week. The show was not eligible in the competitive categories because not all of the approximately 850 Tony voters were provided complimentary tickets to the show, as is required, although the nominators were invited.
Springsteen recently extended the show, which has been one of Broadway’s hottest tickets since it launched in October, until December 15, with 81 shows added beginning on July 10. This marks the third time “Springsteen on Broadway” has been extended since its initial eight-week run. The current run of shows concludes on June 30.
The wording of the extension announcement seemed to leave open the possibility that Springsteen could perform the show elsewhere: At various points it reads “December 15th to be the final show of Broadway run” and references “a final New York City show on Dec. 15”). In an interview with Variety in September shortly before the show’s Oct. 3 launch, Springsteen left the show’s end point open — “Whether there’ll be more [shows added after the initial 16-week run] I’m not sure, we’ll have to see how I feel” — and that seems to have been his approach throughout.
In a review of the show’s 95th-or-so performance last month, Variety noted, “Five months [into the run], the Boss is showing seasoning and increased comfort as well as some understandable, unsurprising impatience with his latest creation. … at points on this night his delivery felt a little worn, but those moments were far outnumbered by ones that took on shadings and emotions that have evolved as he’s settled into the show. He’s changed up the script without deviating from its main points, and rarely used the teleprompters that he relied upon heavily during the early shows. But most of all, his performance has become more, well, theatrical. After decades of arena-sized body language, he’s scaled himself down without losing any of his enormous presence — his body has learned a new language. He’s figured out how to be larger-than-life in a small place: He’s learned the power of stillness, how to use pauses for dramatic and comic effect, and how to use his body almost as a set piece and secondary — and at times a primary — form of communication.”
“Springsteen On Broadway” began previews on October 3rd, 2017 and officially opened October 12th. By the end of his previously announced Broadway run on June 30th, Bruce Springsteen will have performed 155 sold-out shows at the Walter Kerr Theatre. This extension will bring the total number of “Springsteen on Broadway” performances to 236.