New York, NY (April 25, 2017)—The Tony Awards, the high-profile annual awards ceremony for theatrical achievements on Broadway, will reinstate the awards for Best Sound Design of a Musical and of a Play starting with the 2017-2018 season. Awards for the two categories were first given during the 2007-2008 theatrical season, but were halted in 2014 when the Tony Awards Administration Committee voted to eliminate them, just three days after that year’s Awards ceremony.
While no reason was initially given for ending the categories, numerous Tony voters said at the time that they didn’t know how to gauge and measure achievement in the field. Perhaps with that in mind, the reinstated awards will be determined using a new method: All Tony nominators will vote to create the nomination short list, but the actual awards will be chosen by a subset of voters chosen based on their trade.
The reinstatement came after an 18-month review by the Administration Committee in conjunction with numerous industry professionals, including sound designers. As a result of the effort, another category—Best Orchestrations—will henceforth be determined using this new method as well.
The initial elimination of the categories cause a sizable outcry in 2014. An online petition by sound designer John Gromada, who was nominated for a Best Sound Design of a Play Tony Award in 2013 for The Trip to Bountiful, garnered more than 32,000 signatures from around the world, while many actors and actresses on Broadway posted protest photos on social media using the hashtag #TonyCanYouHearMe
This year’s Tony Awards will be broadcast live from Radio City Music Hall on June 11; the ceremony will be hosted by Kevin Spacey.