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'Tonys to Press: Drop Dead'

July 14, 2009 |  6:55 pm

Maybe I should've kept my mouth shut. Over the years, whenever I ran into chiefs of the Tony Awards, I often made a point to hail them for being the only showbiz peer-group award to permit journalists to vote.

Tony-3-154

At first, they were startled to hear that fact. "Really?" one of them snarled a few years ago. "Do you mean journalists don't vote for the Oscars, Emmys or Grammys?"

"No," I replied.

"Hmmm," he purred. "Fascinating."

Just two months ago when I conducted a Gold Derby video interview with Howard Sherman, executive director of the American Theatre Wing, he made a point of noting how I often bring up that point. Now comes word that the Tonys will no longer permit journos to vote. Coincidence?

"Tonys to Press: Drop Dead," reads a blog headline at BackStage.com, reflecting how journos take the news.

"After careful consideration, the Tony Awards Management Committee has determined that Tony-voting privileges will no longer be extended to members of the First Night Press List, commencing with the 2009-2010 season," reads an announcement from the Tonys.

No clear explanation has been given for the move. Tomorrow, when business hours resume, Gold Derby will contact Tonys chiefs to solicit their views.

Photo: American Theatre Wing

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