June 2017

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June 2017

Thoughts From David Grindle

USITT's Executive Director

David GrindleTONY TONY TONY...

June is the month of the Tony awards. Loved and revered by our industry while often despised and hated at the same time. We don’t care about them until someone we know is nominated and then we love them dearly. (Unless our person doesn’t win, and then we hate them again).

Awards recognize that our work has merit and being recognized by our peers is an incredible affirmation. It is obvious that awards matter because there are so many of them: regional theatre awards, high school theatre awards, young designer, technician, and manager awards. They exist because they do matter. In our industry where we do our best not to be noticed, these awards give us a moment to recognize that good work has been done and noticed. As trite as it may sound, it is an honor to be nominated.

I get excited for my colleagues who work on shows that get nominated. In New York City, on an open-ended run, that can mean continued work. I have a friend for whom it meant the opposite - the show he was in didn’t get a nomination and posted a closing notice the next day. Awards matter.

In cities other than New York, those same awards acknowledge that good theatre is being done across the nation at all levels. For someone dedicated to the performance community in a particular region, those awards carry as much weight as the ones we see given in New York this month. And they should, because the work of those artists matters to that community in particular and our community as a whole. They are impacting audiences and creating economic drivers for their community and that should be honored and applauded.

It can be so easy to look at awards shows today and find all that is wrong with them. (And yes, there are many legitimate arguments about what is wrong with them), but we need to admit that there are good things about them too. We need to recognize our peers. We need to hold high those who achieve excellence, be it on Broadway in New York City or Broadway in Anytown, USA.

Whether or not you watch the Tony awards this year, celebrate someone’s success in our field. Nominate someone for an award if they’ve done great work. If you don’t go that far, just tell someone they made a difference and did something that mattered to you, because that, alone, might be the best award you could ever offer.