Going to the Tony Awards could cost some attendees up to $4,000, and that’s not counting the hundreds of thousands of dollars it took to get there.
These are the costs that many co-producers are happy to bear, as they buy tickets to the awards show itself in order to celebrate the productions they have backed, with a plan to buy Tony statuettes if their shows end up winning. And while there was some initial sticker shock, largely surrounding the $2,500 price tag of the statuette, co-producers largely viewed the costs as part of doing business on Broadway.
Each nominated musical and play receives two pairs of complementary tickets to the awards show and to the gala for the lead producers. The lead producers then have the option of buying additional tickets for others.
Regular ticket prices range between $425 and $1500.
For Kevin Lyle, who is receiving his first producer credit as a co-producer on “Once on This Island,” attending the awards show, regardless of the cost, was not even a question.
“I knew pretty much immediately that if I got nominated I would come,” Lyle said.
Attending can also be a boon to the co-producers. Adrian Salpeter, who is a co-producer on three nominated productions this season and produces his own shows, said the cost of the ticket “falls into the marketing and promotion” of his business.
And as Cody Lassen, a co-producer on “The Band’s Visit,” said, while the night is “very, very expensive,” that pales in comparison to the investment the co-producers have already made in the show — though some have invested hundreds of thousands themselves, while others have raised the total sum from other investors.
“I can’t imagine not spending comparatively little extra money,” Lassen said.
But beyond the ticket price, there’s the Tony itself to consider.
Tony Award Productions provides two statuettes for each winning show in the categories of best musical, best revival of musical and best revival of a play. For the best play winner, the Tony Awards gives out two awards to producers and one to the play’s author.
Though many co-producers did not know the cost of the Tony — ”Holy…” was the reaction of one co-producer — they were all resolved to purchase one if given the chance.
The Tony Awards declined to comment on what the costs of the statuettes and the tickets go toward.
Wendy Federman, who has been going to the ceremony for more than a decade and has backed shows that have won six Tony Awards, says purchasing a Tony is “a check you’re happy to write.”
“I think it’s just such an honor to win. It’s also a validation that you’re doing the right thing,” Federman said.
This year, Federman has backed seven nominated musicals and plays. And after years of attending, Federman has developed a routine for the night, which involves bringing her daughter as her date and packing a protein bar in her evening bag.
Salpeter also plans to purchase a Tony and put it “on the shelf, in the window, on Instagram” if one of his backed productions — “Mean Girls,” “Three Tall Women” and “The Iceman Cometh” — wins.
However, as Salpeter, as well as other co-producers, noted, one of their main roles in attending Sunday night is to “support the creators and the actors and technicians” that they’ve backed throughout the year.