According to Variety, there's been a considerable backlash on the part of the New York critical establishment on the decision by the Tony Awards Powers That Be to remove journalists from the voting rolls. The move has some "journos," as Variety so colorfully coins them, mulling some sort of retaliatory tactic, including "lodging a formal complaint to reopen negotiations, as well as prompting talk of expanding the [New York Drama Critics Circle] annual awards to counter the exclusion from the Tonys."
The article goes on to address various nefarious motivations that different folks have posited as the real reason for the change, with most people dismissing the "conflict of interest" ploy as utter hogwash. Among them:
- Presenters and promoters want to tighten their control over the Tony Awards, further emphasizing that the whole thing's just a marketing ploy anyway.
- Producers are sick of forking over 800 pairs of free tickets, which is ridiculous, since critics see the shows free anyway, even if they're not Tony voters.
- Some theater folk have been pissed at certain theater pundits making Tony predictions and voting to ensure those predictions come true, which even if true seems like an extraordinarily minor point at best.
So, whatever. The Tempest in a Tony Teapot will eventually die down, but another point that the article made really hit home for me, as I'm sure it will for my fellow bloggers:
Others feel the outbreak in recent years of bloggers who disregard
established professional etiquette by weighing in before a show's
official opening has damaged the reputation of the entire critical
community. "Anyone in a position to make editorial comment is now
regarded as the enemy," one pundit said.
"Disregard professional etiquette?" I find that wording offensive. "Professional" implies that we're getting paid, which we're not. And "disregard" assumes that bloggers are privy to the inner workings of the critical sanctum sanctorum, which I find arrogant and solipsistic.
But the larger, and more important, point is this: Should bloggers be reviewing shows during previews? I've done so myself, although I've made it plain that the show I was reviewing was in previews. My attitude has always been, if they're charging for admission, the ticket-buying public deserves to know what kind of show they're paying for. But if the bad word gets around before the creators have a chance to make changes, is that fair to the creative staff and the performers?
So, you're on a bobsled and it's snowing out, and it's cold. OK. Go.