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Saturday, June 9, 2018

Saturday Special - An Interview with Fran Kirmser, Producer and Tony Voter


The Tony Awards,  is Broadway's biggest night is tomorrow. In honor of  that, today, we are speaking with Fran Kirmser (FK). Fran is a producer and consultant who has worked with various artists and art organizations for over 20 years. Her work has included Broadway producer credits on such shows as, Lombardi, Magic/Bird, Bronx Bombers and Glengarry Glen Ross as well as work with various dance companies. We will be talking more about Fran's work as a producer as part of of our Working in Theater series in a future post. Today, we will focus on Fran's role as a Tony voter.


How do you get to be a Tony voter?

FK: As a Creative Producer I've produced many shows on Broadway and Off Broadway.  Most of them have been ideas that I have had and then I raise money and assemble a team that I collaborate with to create and produce these new works.  In addition to creating and producing new works, I sometimes get involved supporting a revival of an already created work like the musical HAIR that remounts and runs on Broadway. HAIR will also air in 2019 on NBC Live!  Revivals I've been involved with such as HAIR have earned Two Tony Awards and many nominations. But it is the new work productions where I was a Lead Producer steering the process from a blank slate to the Broadway stage, as well as being ultimately responsible for the entire budget of the production, that made me eligible to become a Tony Voter.  Being a Lead Producer on Broadway is one way to become a Voter.

 Approximately how many Tony voters are there?

FK: There are currently an estimated 750 Tony Voters with only around 150 of them being in New York City. My understanding is that the remainder of the voters come from across the country and are on staff at regional theaters.

Are Tony voters selected every year or are you a Tony voter for certain period of time?

FK: Once you qualify to be a Tony Voter, you are eligible to hold that post for a total of 7 years until you qualify again.

What is the process of voting for the Tony's like?

FK: As a voter, you must see each show that opens in the given season you are voting in. There is a portal that you log into to mark your attendance and timing of viewing each production. I keep a journal with notes from each show in each of the award categories such as; Best Actor in a Play, Best Musical Revival, Best Set Design etc.  Not only does it help me vote, but it familiarizes me with the wonderful talent that is working in the industry with whom I may someday like to work with!  At the end of the Broadway Season we are sent a ballot that we have to fill it out and send it in by a certain date. We voters find out who the Winners are at the Tony Awards live in person at Radio City Music Hall, at the same time the general public finds out by watching the live telecast on TV - Exciting !

As a Tony voter do you get to attend the Tony Awards ceremony or would you be attending it anyway?

FK: As a Tony Voter you get an invitation to attend the Tony Awards. I will definitely be attending this year - Can't wait !  It's a fabulous evening acknowledging a year of good hard work. It is the theater industry's biggest celebration of the year!



We thank Fran for taking the time to answer our questions. Watch the Tony Awards Live on CBS at 8:00 PM EST tomorrow, Sunday June 10!  For more information about any of the shows or performers nominated and/or the Tonys themselves, visit www.tonyawards.com.

Tune in tomorrow for the Sunday Scoop.

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