A new code governing the annual Tony Awards for excellence in the Broadway theater has been ratified by the League of new york theaters.
Richard Barr, the league's president, said yesterday:
"The code had never been formalized and this led to confusion. The code that we have now established should correct both of these situations."
There was some bitterness last April when "Hair", "George M!" and the A.P.A.-Pheonix repertory company were declared ineligible for Tonys for the 1967-68 season. The League made an exception for the A.P.A.-Pheonix, however, and awarded it a special Tony.
Hair was ruled out because it opened Off Broadway and was not originally scheduled for broadway.
George M!, which opened April 11, lost out for consideration in 1967-68 when the cut-off date for nominations was changed from April 11 to March 19. The change was made to allow more time to prepare the telecast of the presentation ceremony.
The A.P.A.-Pheonix was excluded because it operated under a League of Resident Theaters contract, not a standard Actors Equity Broadway contract. In presenting the special award, Harold Prince, a leading producer, said the troupe's work was "equal to the best on Broadway."
The new rules bar all repertory organizations from any prize in the 15 categories, but a special Tony may go to one of them. Besides A.P.A.-Pheonix, the repertory troupes affected are Jules Irving's at Lincoln Center and two new ones, the Circle in the Square on Broadway and Theater 1969 Playwrights Repertory.
"Repertory productions are not as risky as those on Broadway," explained Mr. Barr, who is also the producer of Theater 1969.
Mr. Irving said the league had a right to determine its own policy. None of the repertory groups belong to the league.
Voicing opposing views were Theodore Mann, of Circle in the Square on Broadway, and T. Edward Hambleton, of the A.P.A.-Pheonix.
Mr. Mann: "I think that anybody operating in the theater on or Off Broadway or Off Off Broadway should be eligible to win a Tony. The barrier cutting off those areas is obviously not in the minds of the public and is only in the minds of those people trying to protect the memory of Broadway."
Mr. Hambleton: "I think all theaters should participate.
I'm going to explore the matter further and I hope my contention will prevail
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