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Pedro J Torres

Brooklyn Academy of Music

Fun Facts About the Tony Awards

Fun Facts About the Tony Awards

The highly sought after Tony Award is something every performer or Broadway community member hopes to receive one day. They all do what they do for the love of art itself but there’s nothing like being recognized by your peers for putting your everything into a show, performance, director’s chair.

The American Theatre Wing has specific guidelines that it operates under in order to nominate these shows and performers for a Tony Award. For example, with the exception of a revival, the shows that are nominated are new productions that have hit Broadway within a set timeframe.

A production must make tickets available to all Tony voters
These type of tickets are also known as complimentary tickets. Productions must offer up tickets to all Tony Award voters in order for that production to be considered for nomination. The 2017 revival of Sunday in the Park with George was a limited engagement that, after seeing how successful the run began, decided to extend their engagement. However, the removed themselves from consideration because, per the production team, they wanted to allow for other new shows to have the chance at the awards. Many have believed that their main motive was to not have to offer up 1,600 tickets as complimentary tickets that would otherwise be sold to a regular audience member.

A performer can only win once for a role
This may sound strange but sometimes performers reprise a role they originated. This was the case in the 2017 revival of Sunset Boulevard. Leading lady Glenn Close originated the role on Broadway in 1994 and subsequently won the Leading Actress in a Musical award. When she reprised the role in 2017, she was immediately deemed ineligible for a nomination in the Leading Actress category for musicals. Instead, the Tony Award went to Bette Midler.

You have to be there opening night
A performer must perform in the role on opening night in order to be eligible for a nomination. This sounds obvious but when Andy Karl was in previews for Groundhog Day, he became injured. He finished that performance and came back a few nights later to open the show before allowing his understudy to go on. This was to ensure that he could be nominated for his role (he was).

Where your name appears, matters
Stephanie J. Block is Broadway’s perennially ignored performer. A consummate performer, who should have several Tony Awards at this point, she found herself in the revival of Falsettos but was then nominated for Featured Actress in a Musical regardless of featuring heavily in the show. Why wasn’t she nominated as Leading Actress in a Musical? It was simply a matter of the placement of her name.

When the production puts forth it’s billing, the Tony Awards considers a performer automatically eligible for the “leading” category if their name appears above the title of the show on the show promotional materials. If their name appears below the title, they are considered only for a “featured” nomination. Producers are able to request that performers be considered for different categories but that’s all it is. A request. The Tony Awards administration committee has no obligation to comply.

On the other end of the spectrum, Broadway’s instant hit Dear Evan Hansen had no performers names above the title so the Tony Award administration committee overruled their guideline and nominated Ben Platt in the Lead Actor category.

Tony Awards 2018

Tony Awards 2018

The Tony Awards are fast approaching and as such, not diving into the shows nominated would be a mistake. This season on Broadway saw Disney bring magic to the stage once again and brought a now revered classic back to Broadway.

Best Musical
This category is filled with so many different shows. The Band’s Visit is led by the remarkable Katrina Lenk playing a diner owner who fosters a traveling band and feelings of longing and loneliness are explored. Follow that up with uptempo and more pop musicals like Mean Girls, SpongeBob SquarePants, and Frozen, and you’ve got quite a competitive category for the top prize.

Best Revival of a Play
This category is interesting in that Angels in America more than earned its nomination, and what appears to be a clear win, but has come up against strong material in shows like The Iceman Cometh and Three Tall Women. This is a hotly contested category but Angels in America should secure its much-deserved win.

Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical
Here is where the individual performers are given a chance to shine. In a rather uncommon move, the nomination committee for the Tony Awards has nominated 6 actresses rather than the traditional 5. Broadway debutante, Hailey Kilgore, earned a nomination for her portrayal of Ti Moune in Once on This Island. She finds herself up against Broadway veterans such as LaChanze and Jessie Mueller. However, it appears that predictions are pointing to Lauren Ambrose taking home the prize for her flawless portrayal of Eliza Doolittle in the revival of My Fair Lady.

Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical
Another competitive category has veterans, first-time nominees, and an opera singer. Diana Rigg received rave reviews for her portrayal of Mrs. Higgins in the revival of My Fair Lady as did Renée Fleming as Nettie in the revival of Carousel. However, the Tony seems to be finding its way to first-time nominee Lindsay Mendez for playing Carrie in the revival of Carousel. Having already won the two bigger lead-up awards, this year seems to be full of praise and recognition for Lindsay Mendez.

Whichever way the American Theatre Wing decides to vote, the Tony Awards promise to be a night of surprises and thrills for the winners after a ceremony that, last year, was filled with obvious winners and no surprises. The telecast will happen on Sunday, June 10th at 8 PM EST.

New York City’s Jay Z

New York City’s Jay Z

Among the most notable hip-hop acts to come from New York City is Jay-Z. The Brooklyn-based mogul has climbed up from a dire childhood to now be married to Beyonce, the reigning Queen of Pop, and boast a vast empire including real estate, a record label, a streaming service, a clothing line, and more.

Born Shawn Carter in 1969, Jay Z grew up with his mother and three siblings in a housing project after their father left the scene. From a very early age, Jay Z was musically inclined and very much enjoyed wordplay and language. However, struggling with poverty, young Shawn turned to selling drugs and becoming heavily involved in the underground drug trade. As he pursued rapping as a passion, he learned a lot of business acumen, management, and cutthroat tactics from his time dealing drugs. In more recent interviews, Jay Z has expressed his regret for actively making money from the destruction of his community but is thankful for the lessons he heard.  

Multiple albums, numerous record deals, and countless features later, Jay Z and his wife have become the power couple to be reckoned with and have used their fame and wealth to bring attention to some important social issues and fund a few big moments in hip-hop and US history at large. Here’s a short rundown of the cultural influence Jay-Z and his family have had:

Music Stylings: Jay Z’s rapping style is highly syncopated with a fast flow and strategic pauses that allow for more structure. Having established a unique style, other rappers followed suit, and Jay-Z’s influences can be heard from artists from Kanye West to Alicia Keys. His signature sound has become synonymous with Brooklyn, and his hit song “Empire State of Mind” Can be heard at every Yankees game.

College Funding: Jay-Z and Beyonce are both passionate about funding higher education for low-income students who want to pursue a bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree, especially from a Historically Black College or University (HBCU). Through the Shawn Carter Foundation, Jay-Z and his mother have helped subsidize if not fully cover the cost of secondary education for eager young adults who need financial assistance.

Smart Financial Decision: In addition to his appearances on the Billboard Top 100, Jay-Z has diversified his assets and enjoys a comfortable income as a result. An entrepreneur who scraped his way out of a miserable situation, Jay is now a huge advocate for financial literacy and better money practices for others stuck in poverty. In his music, he discusses the importance of ensuring financial stability for generations to come and marketing one’s talents.

Support for Families Affected by Gun Violence: After the tragic and untimely death of Trayvon Martin, Beyonce and Jay Z have together helped to support Sybrina Fulton, his mother, as she tours the planet advocating for an end to racism and violence in general. The power couple has helped her to host events and has appeared at gatherings to support and uplift moms who have lost children to street violence.

About Pedro J Torres

The Brooklyn Academy of Music has had a long and illustrious history long before Pedro J. Torres arrived on the scene a few years ago.  Beginning in 1861, the inaugural performance included Mozart and Verdi on the program.  First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln attended a performance during their opening week.

One of Pedro J. Torres favorite things about BAM are their incredible and historical venues, like the opera house in Fort Green on Lafayette Avenue.  The Howard Gilman Opera House is known for its ornate tall ceilings. Known for its Beaux arts style and start of the art sound system, the venue is frequently sought after for major stars, orchestras, and events.

With Pedro J. Torres immense business experience in Venezuela, he is able to offer his guidance and expertise in BAM’s different business areas.  BAM turned their former ballroom into a café to offer dinner to patrons before live events. This café even has an event series of free concerts for the public to enjoy.

The café began in 1999, and the performances are currently curated by Darrell McNeill.  The café has a helped many artists launch their careers and has also served as a home for intimate performances by established artists.  Artists include Licorice, Early Grehound, Sekou Sundiate, Daniel Bernard Roumain (DBR), Haale, ETHEL, Travis Sullivan’s Bjorkestra, Eisa Davis, Morley, Carl Hancock Rux, and Stew.

Established artists include TV on the Radio’s Kyp Malone, Jeffrey Gaines, Joe Bataan, Corey Glover, Marc Ribot, Don Byron, Gary Luca, Fishbone’s Angelo Moore aka Dr. Madd Vibe, Grady Tate, Vernon Reid, and Marshall Crenshaw.

BAM offers a professional development program that Pedro J. Torres is excited about contributing to. The 14 month long program, which is located at the new BAM Fisher facility offers professional development and deeply discounted theater and rehearsal studio rentals to a group of Brooklyn non-profits and organizations.  The program is a collaboration with DeVos Institute of Arts Management at the Kennedy Center. Every year they focus on a new discipline to help their participates have long term success.

Pedro J Torres is excited to be a part of this legendary institution.

Pedro J. Torres is on the board of trustees at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, located in scenic Fort Greene, Brooklyn, New York.  As a fan of Avant guard music in the burgeoning Brooklyn arts scene, he feels right at home in this role.