Tony Awards to reinstate Sound Design categories

The Tony Awards has announced that the Best Sound Design of a Play and Best Sound Design of a Musical categories will return after a three-year absence, starting with the 2017-2018 season.

The Sound Design Tonys were controversially dropped in 2014, with many industry professionals critical of the move at the time due to its suddenness and perceived lack of a proper explanation for the decision. Some sound designers speculated that it was because many voters didn’t have enough understanding or expertise to be able to judge the sound nominees effectively, and others suggested that "the lack of tangibility in sound" may have been another factor.

Whatever the reasons were, over the last 18 months the Tony Awards Administration Committee has carried out an in-depth review of these categories as well as 24 existing competitive categories. This review was conducted in consultation with industry professionals including several sound designers and as a result, the Committee has developed a plan to address previous concerns related to the adjudication of these categories.

Starting next season, Best Sound Design of a Musical and Best Sound Design of a Play will be reinstated to the list of competitive Tony Award categories, albeit with a new voting process. In addition, it was determined that for similar reasons, the category of Best Orchestrations will adhere to this same new voting process.

The Tony Nominators will nominate for these categories as in the past; however, voting for the winners of the three categories will now be the responsibility of a subset of the overall voter pool based on their professional affiliation.

The Nominations for the 2017 Tony Awards will be announced live by Tony Award winner Jane Krakowski and 2016 Tony Nominee Christopher Jackson on 2 May 2017 via a webcast that can be accessed from the Tony Awards website below. The announcement will be made from The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at the Lincoln Center.

The American Theatre Wing’s 71st Annual Tony Awards, hosted by Kevin Spacey, will take place on Sunday 11 June 2017 (8pm-11pm ET/delayed PT).

Picture: Clive Goodwin won the Best Sound Design of a Musical Tony Award in 2012 for ‘Once’, which returned for another 111-day run at Toronto’s Ed Mirvish Theatre in 2015, and featured a new audio setup based around a Funktion-One sound system.