The 71st annual Tony Awards, hosted by Academy Award, Golden Globe, and Tony award-winning actor and singer Kevin Spacey, are coming up on Sunday, June 11 and will be broadcast live at Radio City Music Hall in NYC and on CBS at 8 p.m. It is always an honor to speak to Amanda Pekoe, founder of NYC’s The Pekoe Group, about her thriving business and her sheer love for all things theatre.
Sleepless Critic: It’s a very exciting time for The Pekoe Group and your team. The Pekoe Group recently celebrated its eighth anniversary. How are you feeling about year eight?
Amanda Pekoe: I’m really excited about our team and the high level of work we are doing. Our digital department has expanded and we’re seeing huge ticket sales results from our digital campaigns. We also won an award this year for the poster design for the Off-Broadway musical, The View UpStairs.
SC: Congratulations! It’s an especially busy time leading up to the Tonys every year. Please tell me how the Tonys impact your business.
AP: Awards season is such a busy and magical time of year. I love when shows and artists are recognized for their tremendous work and talent. This year is particularly exciting because there are so many new musicals and different points of view being expressed in the writing on stage. I’m very grateful to continue to be a part of the social conversation.
SC: The 71st annual Tony Awards, hosted by award-winning actor and singer Kevin Spacey, will be held on Sunday, June 11. This is a special year as the Tony Awards is returning to its traditional venue, Radio City Music Hall. It was at the Beacon Theatre last year. It must be nice that it has returned to its roots.
AP: I am looking forward to it being back at Radio City Music Hall. It’s such a large and beautiful venue, and so many people get to actually be in the theatre for the awards.
SC: Kevin Spacey is a wonderful and unexpected choice to host. He is not only an award-winning actor, but has proven to be a song and dance man many times over. It is surprising that this is his first time hosting.
AP: I think Kevin Spacey will have a great time hosting the Tony Awards. I’ve never met him in person but I think he’s so talented. I love him in House of Cards!
SC: It is wonderful to have an insider at the Tony Awards each year and you’ve been predicting the winners for about five years now. Groundhog Day the Musical, Come from Away, Dear Evan Hansen, and Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812 are the nominees for Best Musical. What nominated show do you think stands out to win this year?
AP: All four of these shows are so terrific and so terrifically different from one another. It’s been such a well-rounded season of new musicals and they all offer something very special. I think Come from Away and Dear Evan Hansen are neck-in-neck, but I’m rooting for Dear Evan Hansen. I think the music is incredible and the story is extremely relatable for anyone who has ever felt like they’ve been on the outside looking in and not being seen. I know I sometimes do.
AP: The plays are tough because they are all so good. Sweat is a Pulitzer-Prize winner! Of all the shows, I think my favorite would have to be Oslo. I thought it was one of the most well-written plays I have watched this season and the topic was fascinating. The play’s rhythm moved so well and featured tremendous performances.
SC: Denis Arndt for Heisenberg, Chris Cooper for A Doll’s House Part 2, Corey Hawkins for John Guare’s Six Degrees of Separation, Kevin Kline for Present Laughter, and Jefferson Mays for Oslo are all up for Best Actor in a Play. Cate Blanchett for The Present, Sally Field for The Glass Menagerie, and Jennifer Ehle for Oslo, Laura Linney for Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes, and Laurie Metcalf for A Doll’s House Part 2 are up for Best Actress in a Play. Who do you think are the big standouts?
AP: These actors and actresses are all so great in these roles. My personal favorites have been from the great and hilarious show, Present Laughter‘s Kevin Kline and Jefferson Mays in Oslo. As for the actresses, Laurie Metcalf in A Doll’s House Part 2 and Jennifer Ehle in Oslo.
SC: The nominees for Best Actor in a Musical are Christian Borle for Falsettos, Josh Groban for Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812, Andy Karl for Groundhog Day the Musical, Ben Platt for Dear Evan Hansen, and David Hyde Pierce for Hello, Dolly! Best actress nominees in a musical include Denee Benton for Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812, Christine Ebersole for War Paint, Patti Lupone for War Paint, Eva Noblezada for Miss Saigon, and Bette Midler for Hello, Dolly! Patti Lupone and Bette Midler in the same category! Who do you think will win?
AP: I’m in love with Ben Platt in Dear Evan Hansen. At every performance, he barely leaves the stage and sings his heart out. As for the actresses, it’s really hard for me to say. Patti LuPone and Christine Ebersole are forces of nature in War Paint and Bette Midler, well, there are no words. These are three greatest of the greatest performers all gracing the Broadway stage in the same season and how awesome is that! I think Denee Benton and Eva Noblezada are both so talented and very strong singers. This really is a tossup. The category features some of the most gifted actresses and all of their performances are stunning. I wish they could all win together.
SC: What is The Pekoe Group’s specialty and what goals do you have for The Pekoe Group’s future? I’ve noticed you often offer marketing advice to those who follow you on social media.
AP: Our specialty is working with experienced producers, finding new audiences, and new ways to talk to traditional audiences. Click here to check out our blog for marketing tips and pointers.
Looking ahead, we hope to connect even more new audiences to theatre productions they’ll love.
SC: What is the best or easiest way a business can contact the Pekoe Group?