Luncheon at Sardi's on June 7, 2011

Charlotte St. Martin, executive director of The Broadway League, introduced a notable panel of theatre journalists to discuss the upcoming TONY Awards and look back at the 2011 theatre season.  Our theatre insiders were: Gordon Cox from Variety, who acted as moderator; Scott Brown from New York Magazine; Elysa Gardner from USA Today; and Patrick Healy from the New York Times. 

The panel discussed the Broadway story of the season.  Although “Spiderman” dominated the news by the sheer volume of reports on the accidents and technical glitches, the panelists agreed that the real news of Broadway was the overwhelming amount of new plays and musicals that opened this year.  New plays, especially by American writers, dominated Broadway.  And older musicals,such as “Lion King,” “Jersey  Boys,” and “Wicked” are still successful, playing to sold out audiences.

As to potential TONY Award winners, in the musical category, the panel was in agreement that the “Book of Mormon” has the advantage over the other nominees.  They feel it is unbeatable.  Despite the fact that the show was created and written by Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the men who brought us “South Park,” the panelists felt the musical, at its core, is a sweet, warm-hearted show that plays to a wide audience. 

Moving on to dramas, the panelists discussed the strong field this year, including “War Horse,” which is the frontrunner, but lamented that the ”Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo” was not nominated.

The conclusion:  Broadway is thriving…over 38 new plays and musicals opened this season, and there is something for everyone.