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Hunter Foster's Facebook campaign keeps growing

June 22, 2010 | 11:30 am

Abdul The preponderance of Hollywood stars at this year's Tony Awards ceremony gave the New York theater community an invigorating jolt of celebrity cachet. But not everyone was happy about the presence of so many L.A. carpetbaggers during Broadway's biggest night.

Actor Hunter Foster -- the brother of Tony-winner Sutton Foster -- has started a Facebook campaign titled "Give the Tonys Back to Broadway" which urges the show's organizers to give full-time theater artists a larger role in the annual ceremony.

"We want the evening to be about Broadway and for the fans of Broadway," writes Foster on the Facebook page. "This group is about including more of those artists that we admire and look up to, so that it truly becomes an evening to celebrate."

Foster is currently appearing in the Broadway musical "Million Dollar Quartet," which was nominated for best new musical.

Celebrities who made appearances at this year's Tony Awards -- either as nominees or presenters -- included Scarlett Johansson, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Denzel Washington, Katie Holmes, Paula Abdul and Raquel Welch.

The Facebook group was started on June 16, three days after the Tony Awards. Two days later, it had already attracted more than 3,000 members. The group's popularity continues to grow: as of Tuesday morning, it had more than 7,700 members.

Some commenters on the page are advocating airing the show on PBS and presenting all of the categories during the main telecast. (Many of the creative and technical awards were handed out at a pre-show ceremony.)

One commenter took a sarcastic tone. "Kim Kardashian will play Mother Courage at the Roundabout in their 2011 season! Danielle Staub from Real Housewives of NJ in negotiations to play Lady Macbeth at the Delacorte. CBS will love it!"

But as another member pointed out, film stars have been flocking to Broadway for decades: "If you have half of a brain cell you will know celebs have been doing Broadway forever...  Even though they sell millions of tickets and give money to things like Broadway Cares, but they should not be allowed to theatre awards? Come on people."

Despite the presence of so many movie stars at this year's Tonys, the ratings for the show (which aired on CBS) fell 8% from last year's broadcast.

-- David Ng

Photo: Paula Abdul at the Tony Awards. Credit: Andrew H. Walker / Getty Images

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