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Commentary: ‘Book of Mormon’s’ 14 Tony nods may get people to care about show again

Photo courtesy of Alona Fogel

No one cares about the Tony Awards.

At least, that’s what my friends keep telling me. It’s true: Broadway’s most prestigious award celebration flies under the radar for a lot of people.

The fact of the matter is, no one goes to see plays or musicals anymore. It’s a novelty for tourists with nothing better to do.

This is sad but not altogether shocking. People are more inclined to spend money on an enormous production they know something about than some rinky-dink play.

So the Tonys pander to wider audiences who don’t care about art, bringing in celebrity presenters with thin ties to the stage and giving the nominees for Best Revival of a Musical too much time performing.

This year, even after just hearing the nominations on May 3, things are already different.

Gone are the days of doling out Tonys to undeserving A-listers. (Sorry, Daniel Radcliffe.)

Gone are the days of the Best Play award scraping the bottom of the barrel.

And, surprisingly, gone are the days of awarding fluffy, mindless productions with no purpose other than to rake in money.

While three of the four shows nominated for Best Musical are based on movies and real-life incidents, the front-runner goes against the grain.

Nominated for a whopping 14 Tony Awards, “The Book of Mormon” tells the story of two Mormon missionaries who travel to Uganda to spread their religion in, apparently, the most crass, over-the-top way possible.

This is exactly what the theater community needs right now: an injection of good, old-fashioned smut.

Because it’s largely uncensored, theater in general has always been a medium of creative people who don’t know when enough is enough.

Only two out of the last 10 Best Musical Tony winners have been completely original. At the awards on June 12, “The Book of Mormon” has a good chance of being added to that list.

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