One of the most frustrating things about surviving the apocalypse (putting aside most dystopian political scenarios and, like, roaming squads of cannibals/zombies) would be all the remaining evidence of how life used to be, suddenly made useless by a lack of expertise. You’d see all the lifeless computers, televisions and Nespresso machines and know that, at one time, it was possible to get these things working. That if only you understood how they worked, instead of how you got them to work, you’d be able to rebuild society — or at least watch Neighbours 2: Sorority Rising again.
I bet actors who sign on to a long-running TV show, after said show’s cultural moment has ended, feel a little of that post-civilization angst. The cast of ER, for instance, after Clooney became the most famous man on the planet. Or, all the ballers who played for the Chicago Bulls in the early 2000s. There was something here that made all this work…if only we could repeat it!
And, that’s how I’m introducing the fact — admittedly interesting to very few people — that the Tony Award nominations were announced today. It’s an award show that’s very important to theatre people, and especially to theatre kids around the world; an award show that is televised because New York is still the centre of the media/pop cultural universe, much to the chagrin of Trump voters in far-off Red States. And last year, it was actually, miraculously, universally relevant thanks to Hamilton.
Now, Hamilton is gone. And, while we have some patriotic thrill seeing Come From Away, a musical about a small Newfoundland town taking in stranded airline passengers during 9/11, get so many nominations, including Best Musical, there’s just something empty about this year. It’s like the massive success one year diminishes the whole thing the next. It’ll be the same awards, but this year it will feel far less charged. Like all those cellphones we’ll keep picking up after the apocalypse.