Tonys: Bruce Springsteen to Receive Special Honor

Rob DeMartin
'Springsteen on Broadway'

The veteran rocker's intimate stage memoir, 'Springsteen on Broadway,' has been a massive hit, grossing $55 million to date. A second Special Tony Award will go to John Leguizamo.

The Boss will soon have a Tony to sit alongside his Oscar and his shelf full of Grammys.

The Tony Awards Administration Committee announced Tuesday that Bruce Springsteen will receive a special award for his blockbuster solo show Springsteen on Broadway, the top-grossing new production of the 2017-18 season. The honor had been widely anticipated in the theater community; it was announced along with nominations in the competitive categories of the 72nd Annual Tony Awards.

Also receiving a special Tony this year is John Leguizamo, "for his body of work and for his commitment to the theater, bringing diverse stories and audiences to Broadway for three decades." Leguizamo's latest solo show, Latin History for Morons, landed a surprise spot among the nominees for best play.

Springsteen's up-close-and-personal narrative-driven concert, built around excerpts from his 2016 memoir, Born to Run, began previews Oct. 3 at the Walter Kerr Theatre and officially opened Oct. 12 to across-the-board raves from both theater and music press. The Tony committee called it "a once-in-a-lifetime theatergoing experience for the Broadway stage, allowing fans an intimate look at a music idol."

The limited engagement initially was scheduled to run through Nov. 26, but overwhelming ticket demand and Springsteen's obvious enjoyment at playing to a cozy house of 939 people a night, as opposed to his epic stadium gigs, have prompted him to extend multiple times. Following a brief hiatus, the show is now back on the boards and selling through Dec. 15.

One of the toughest tickets in town, Springsteen on Broadway has been selling out every performance. Even on weeks with just four shows, the production has been pulling in close to $2 million, with that figure climbing to $2.4 million on five-performance weeks. The average ticket price has remained around $500 throughout the run (higher than Hamilton), with cumulative box office currently at $55 million.

While a Special Tony Award is no quid pro quo guarantee, the honor increases the odds of Springsteen agreeing to perform on the CBS telecast June 10, which no doubt would bring a welcome spike in viewership. In fact, with Sara Bareilles and Josh Groban co-hosting, that could coax more popular music fans to tune in, beyond the core theater audience.