Inquiring minds (and union supporters) want to know: Why is a cruise ship production of a show that hasn’t been on Broadway for more than three years getting a spot on the Tony Awards, a nationally-televised awards show that supposedly celebrates the Great White Way — not the Deep Blue Sea ?
Mathew deGuzman, a New York-based actor currently in the cast of the Los Angeles production of “Follies,” pointed out to me this odd news announcement from Playbill: “Royal Caribbean International has partnered with the Tony Awards to include a live broadcast from the middle of the Caribbean Sea, where the line’s Oasis of the Seas’ cast of Hairspray will perform a number in the ship’s Opal Theater as part of the June 10 Tony Awards program.”
As deGuzman says, “we are advertising and in a sense endorsing a venue that is NOT on Broadway and is NOT a union house.” He explained his objection to this on his Facebook page:
“While I fully support cruise ship performers and their shows as a viable and legitimate way to make a living in the entertainment industry, I cannot support Royal Caribbean’s Hairspray cast performing via a live feed at the TONY awards…The cruise ship industry can create their own awards show [for] their thousands of stage shows…The cruises ship industry has it’s own market – stop trying to take business from the union theater community!!”
Travis Bedard (@travisbedard) The union/Broadway folks should sure be concerned.
Liz Richards (@misslizrichards):I’m mostly annoyed because it’s basically an extended commercial for the cruise line, not theater.
Kevin Laibson (@kevinlaibson): Same thing, right? Theater as a reason to go cruising is still points for theater.
Liz Richards: I guess? If we’re celebrating Broadway theater though, why give time to the cruise when only 3 nominated plays perform?
Kimberly Kaye( @Kimberly_Kaye) It’s absolutely a conversation that needs to be had, but the slamming that cast is getting via social media is unacceptable.
Suzan Eraslan (@SuzanEraslan): It shouldn’t be an issue. Unions exist to support theater makers; theater doesn’t exist to support the unions.
Brandon G. (@bg306) I love Hairspray but, i think its silly that they are gonna perform. I would rather see a performance from Bonnie & Clyde