James Taylor, in a recent, fairly cynical Theatre Talk commentary:
Again, awards are about money. Theater is about the experience—and how that experience stays with us after the rest of the noise fades away.If theatre accomplishes the latter, the former takes care of itself. That seems lost on Taylor, who advocates removing any hint of objectivity in awards shows; giving the brass ring to whatever show has the brighter marquee.
What, so we should honor mediocre works with stars so that they'll do more business? What happens when the buyer's remorse sets in afterward, and the audiences find themselves wishing they hadn't forked over hard-earned money for "Quality, Bad" plays?
Ask anyone in any other industry on the planet what happens over the long term when you trade customer goodwill for fast bucks. It's about the audience, or it's about nothing, and we should pack up our pageant wagons and roll off into the sea. If we're not serving The People In The Dark, we're serving ourselves, and only the most depraved would pay to watch someone masturbate.