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Posted by on Jun 13, 2014 | 3 comments

On the Tony Awards

Guest Contribution from Randy Thom

It was announced that the people who run the Tony Awards have decided to cut two of their awards categories….the two sound design categories.

This is a sad piece of news for all of us in sound.  It’s yet another slap in the face for an important art form that struggles for recognition.  The people who run awards shows feel constant pressure to populate those shows with pretty people, famous people, and people who are highly entertaining when a camera and microphone are pointed at them.  Advertisers pound their fists on tables in anger when their ad follows an unglamorous and unknown statuette recipient’s earnest “thank you.”  One year when I attended the Oscar telecast, and left the building at the end of the show in my tux, a guy ran up to me in the middle of the street with a pen and paper in his hands screaming to me “Are You Anybody?  Are You Anybody?”  I said “Sure!” and he smiled big as I handed him my illegible signature.  Though the Tony Awards have promised that they may, in the future, occasionally give an award to an especially noteworthy job of sound design, the message we should get loud and clear from their announcement today is that as far as they are concerned we, sound designers, are not ‘anybody.’  How sad, how dumb.


  1. Well that is sad news. So much effort and great work brushed aside by people who very likely don’t understand it fully.

  2. I don’t really care if they televise the sound design Tonys as long as they continue to award them. They can do certain types of award prior to the telecast for all I care, if it’s just TV that they’re worried about. That’s not really the issue though. The concern here is that very few Tony voters actually voted for anyone in this category, because so few are sufficiently educated in what is good or bad sound to feel they should vote. Rather than pick someone at random, or pick the only name they have heard of, they apparently abstain.

  3. Live sound is a remarkably difficult thing and those shows, especially like Le Mis with complicated musical and vocal arrangements demand exceptional work to succeed. They are as deserving of those awards as costume and lighting and set designers.

    shameful stuff.


  1. Listen Up, Tony (Awards)!: Petitioning for Reinstatement | Designing Sound Designing Sound - [...] first time I heard of the decision by the Tony Administration Committee was from Randy Thom’s post in Designing…

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