#231 – Awardless (feat. Celia Keenan-Bolger)

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Every spring, theatre fans look to The Ensemblist when they ask why there isn’t a Tony Award for Best Ensemble? And this year, I wanted to provide listeners with an informed and thoughtful look at the challenges and barriers of adding a category to the Tony Awards. Beyond emotions, I’m interested in why adding a category is more complex than listeners may imagine.

It wasn’t easy. Pursuing an open discussion about the Tony Awards led to a lot of closed doors. But I was eventually lucky to find a few willing participants to talk about the state of theatre awards in the New York theatre industry, as well as their personal takes on why a Tony Award for Best Ensemble could be valuable.

My first discussion is with the wise and wonderful Celia Keenan-Bolger. She is a four-time Tony Award nominee, winning for Best Featured Actress in a Play in 2019 for To Kill A Mockingbird. Beloved in the New York theatre community for almost twenty years, her first theatrical award was in 2005 for Outstanding Ensemble Performing in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Celia joined me in the studio to talk about her experience – both winning and not winning awards – and how a Best Ensemble Award is the closest to what made her love theatre in the first place. Here’s our conversation…



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