re: Why is no one mentioning Larry Kert?
Last Edit: JereNYC 06:28 pm EST 01/20/23
Posted by: JereNYC (JereNYC@aol.com) 06:24 pm EST 01/20/23
In reply to: re: Why is no one mentioning Larry Kert? - AlanScott 05:19 pm EST 01/20/23

I've always heard that Dean Jones wanted to leave COMPANY earlier than he actually did, but that Hal Prince made a deal with him to stay long enough get the show open and then he could leave. I've always assumed that was because during rehearsals and previews (COMPANY didn't try out anywhere out of town, right?) there was too much work to do on the show to rehearse Larry Kert and put him into the role. Maybe Prince just explained to the Tony committee how this went down, and gave them his opinion that it wasn't fair to Kert since it wasn't his fault that he couldn't get put into the show before the opening.

As per IBDB, COMPANY played its first preview on April 15, 1970 and opened on April 26, 1970 after 12 previews. Larry Kert took over as Robert on May 29, 1970. So Jones presumeably played about 44 performances all tolled.

COMPANY must have opened too late for the Tony Awards for the 1969/1970 season, so it was nominated in the 1970/1971 season. So Kert would have been playing in the show for close to a year before he got his Tony nomination. I totally understand why the committee might have made an exception here for the actor that, not only most nominators and voters would have seen in the role, but most audiences in general. It's tough to argue that that guy who played 44 performances a year ago is more worthy of consideration that the guy who's been playing the role for year and that we've all seen, especially if the director is making the argument that, had extenuating circumstances been different, the original guy might have played even fewer performances or might even have played none at all.

And, as far as precedent...has there ever been another situation like this one, really? I mean, a situation where a show replaced its lead so early on and played a year with the new actor before the Tony nominations came out?

Nowadays, COMPANY would have been elligible in the 1969/1970 season and nominators and voters would have all been rushed to see it immediately and, even if Jones had left before the Tonys, he would have been the one elligible and nominated for the award. And I imagine that, had that situation been the case, Prince's deal with Jones would have included staying through the Tonys, not just to get the show open.

Previous: re: Why is no one mentioning Larry Kert? - writerkev 06:50 am EST 01/21/23
Next: re: Why is no one mentioning Larry Kert? - AlanScott 07:25 pm EST 01/20/23

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