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All that’s old is new again: In 2018, the Tony Awards will be bringing back the two sound design awards — best sound design of a play and best sound design of a musical — that it created in 2008 and then eliminated in 2014.
The decision, which was announced Monday by Tony Awards organizers, follows an 18-month review of all categories by the Tony Awards Administration Committee, which was “conducted in consultation with industry professionals including several sound designers,” according to a release.
Concerns about the adjudication of these two categories, in part, led to their demise, and also threatened the continued existence of the best orchestrations Tony. Consequently, the Administration Committee created “a new voting process” that will apply to all three categories: “Tony Nominators will nominate for these categories as in the past. However, voting on the winners of the three categories will now be the responsibility of a subset of the overall voter pool based on their professional affiliation.”
On a practical level, the return of the sound design awards probably won’t cause the Tonys ceremony, which is broadcast annually on CBS, to run any longer — the Tonys present almost all technical categories during commercial breaks and then air brief highlights of those presentations later in the show. But it will enable big awards sweeps, like Hamilton‘s in 2016, to be even bigger, and potentially even to surpass the record of 12 wins held by The Producers since 2001, which Hamilton could have tied had there been a best sound design of a musical category in which it could compete.
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