This past week I checked a major item off my bucket list when I worked on the American Theatre Wing’s 71st Annual Tony Awards. Here are my top three Tony Takeaways from this year’s broadcast:
- When it comes to maintaining your event’s runtime, it’s all about R-E-S-P-E-C-T. This year’s Tony nominees were warned that they had exactly ninety seconds from the moment their name was called until they would be played off stage. But, as Bette Midler recently taught us, play-off music can only do so much. Prior to the live broadcast, the idea of respect is presented to all of the nominees not only as a warning but also as a true factor to consider as they prepare their acceptance speeches. Because the broadcast has a hard end-time, if someone goes over their time, they’re taking away from a fellow winner, an individual who has worked just as hard for those ninety seconds. Do you really want to be that person?
Bette Midler defied the Tony orchestra to finish her almost five minute long acceptance speech.
- The only thing constant is change. The show order for the Tony broadcast is built on a massive cork board. Each segment of the show-from presenters to performances to commercial breaks-are added using thumbtacks. The thumbtacks serve as both a tool and a metaphor for the never-ending changes made up until the broadcast. During any event there are always surprises – a presenter drops, a performer has to leave early, or a piece of media isn’t working – being able to adapt to ever-changing circumstances is key to a smooth and successful show.
- “Start spreading the news” as efficiently as possible! With so many changes comes the need to effectively communicate with your team in a timely manner. The Tony’s broadcast relies on hundreds of individuals to properly execute their roles. It’s imperative to know what departments need what information and when. If information is not communicated properly or on time, a domino effect can occur and cause repercussions throughout the night. Having a strategic plan regarding how instructions and changes circulate paired with your team’s trust knowing you will give them necessary information in a timely manner is paramount to the success of the show.
- Bonus Tony Takeaway: Always wear sensible shoes! (No one is looking at your feet.)
- Bonus Bonus Tony Takeaway: Don’t mess up sandwich orders. People really take sandwiches seriously.