One of the most intensely dramatic and disturbing productions of the Broadway season—or any season in recent memory—has been locked out of this year’s Tony Awards. However, the problem wasn't bloody scenes depicting graphic onstage torture or deafening noises and disorienting strobe lights. It was the production’s refusal to allow journalist and Tony nominator Jose Antonio Vargas access to see a performance that was the determining factor in the committee’s decision, according to The New York Times.
A spokesperson for the production—which was produced on Broadway by Scott Rudin and Sonia Friedman—would not confirm whether or not Vargas had been refused tickets to 1984, but Broadway insiders informed the Times that Vargas was the sole nominator who was not allowed into the production.
In a November 9 ruling determining the Tony Awards eligibility status for five of this season’s productions, the Tony Awards Administration Committee stated only that “1984 has been deemed ineligible.”
A spokesperson for the Tony Awards released a separate statement immediately following the ruling, which provided a slight bit of context. “The show did not fulfill all of the eligibility requirements, as outlined by the Tony Rules and Regulations.”
Vargas is an outspoken immigration rights advocate who has written about his status as an Undocumented Immigrant for the New York Times, and was recently profiled in the centerfold of Out Magazine’s annual OUT100—featuring undocumented LGBTQ individuals.
Robert Icke and Duncan Macmillan’s disturbing and timely stage adaptation of the George Orwell novel arrived on Broadway last spring following an extended run at London’s Almeida Theatre.
Neither Rudin or Vargas have publicly commented on the report, or the administration’s decision. Friedman said she was “disappointed with the outcome,” but declined further comment.