Recently, the Tony Administration Committee voted to discontinue the Tony Award for best sound design. The Dramatists Guild has released a statement in support of reinstating the award:
The Steering Committee of the Dramatists Guild, on behalf of its council, has written to the Tony Administration Committee in objection to its recent decision to discontinue the Tony Award for best sound design.
The Guild feels the decision may have been hastily made, with insufficient preparation, debate and discussion, and without explanation to the theater community at large.
We understand that there may be an insufficient understanding among the Tony nominators and voters about the art of sound design, such that some may feel it renders the award illegitimate. But a similar argument could be put forth regarding the other design categories as well, and orchestrations, too. The answer may be in making a greater effort to educate the voters, with the help of the sound designers, rather than elimination of the category.
It has also been said that the impact of sound board operators creates too great a variation in the sound at any given performance for voters to truly appreciate the design, but that is the nature of evaluating live performances. There are nightly variations in the execution of all the awarded categories, but we do not eliminate the awards based on that; we simply take that into consideration when nominating and voting in those categories.
In light of these factors, we have respectfully requested that the Tony Administration Committee reconsider its decision to discontinue the Tony for best sound design and re-open the debate at its next meeting.