Broadway’s Tony Awards, Delayed by Pandemic, Set for September

The long-delayed Tony Awards, honoring the final set of reveals to open on Broadway earlier than theaters went darkish, lastly have a plan: The ceremony will happen on Sept. 26, timed to bolster a pandemic-hobbled trade as reveals start to reopen.

Three of the 25 aggressive awards — greatest musical, greatest play and greatest play revival — might be offered reside throughout a tv program, broadcast on CBS, that can primarily be a starry live performance of theater songs. But the majority of the awards, honoring performers, writers, administrators, choreographers and designers, might be given out simply beforehand, throughout a ceremony that might be proven solely on Paramount+, the ViacomCBS subscription streaming service.

The organizers’ present expectation is that the occasion — awards and performances — might be reside and in-person, going down inside a Broadway theater.

The three jukebox reveals vying for greatest musical — “Jagged Little Pill,” “Moulin Rouge! The Musical” and “Tina — The Tina Turner Musical” — will every be invited to carry out on the tv broadcast. Many particulars — like which theater might be used, whether or not there might be a bunch, and who will carry out — haven’t been decided.

The two-platform construction, operating a complete of 4 hours, was arrived at throughout prolonged negotiations between the Broadway League and the American Theater Wing — the 2 organizations that current the awards — and CBS, which has broadcast the ceremony since 1978. CBS pushed to emphasise leisure worth, notably in a yr when viewership has plunged for many awards reveals; the theater organizations needed a technique to honor the artistry of the abbreviated 2019-2020 season.

“The ground was shifting under our feet the entire time, but our goal was to get as much celebration of the community and all the nominees as possible,” mentioned the League’s president, Charlotte St. Martin.

In a joint interview, St. Martin and the Theater Wing’s chief government, Heather Hitchens, mentioned they have been happy with the result.

“Everybody wanted to create something that would celebrate the community, help sell tickets and be appealing to a national audience,” Hitchens mentioned. “There were really good, thorough and passionate discussions about how best to achieve those three things.”

They famous that it has been years since all Tony Awards classes have been viewable nationally. For six years, beginning in 1997, a few of the awards have been offered on a PBS particular that will air simply earlier than the CBS broadcast, however in recent times, lots of the design and writing awards have been offered off the air.

“One of the things we’re proudest of is we got Paramount+ for all of our awardees, and the celebration of these awards on a major platform is a huge achievement,” Hitchens mentioned. “That’s something we’ve wanted for years.”

The broadcast section is being described in a information launch as “a live concert event, featuring superstar Broadway entertainers and Tony Award winners reuniting onstage to perform beloved classics and celebrate the joy and magic of live theater.” Asked for extra element, Hitchens mentioned, “It’s going to be jam-packed with entertainment that is about Broadway. More to come on that.”

The two-platform plan is just like that used by the Grammy Awards, at which nearly all of the prizes are introduced at a preshow ceremony, adopted by an entertainment-focused tv broadcast. Some of the Tony Award winners named through the streaming ceremony will even be acknowledged through the TV portion.

The ceremony, initially scheduled for June 7, 2020, will happen in September as a part of an effort to strengthen the advertising and marketing message that Broadway is again in enterprise — in truth, the present is being titled “The Tony Awards Present: Broadway’s Back!” Broadway’s 41 theaters have been closed since March 12, 2020; in the mean time, the primary present planning performances is “Hadestown,” on Sept. 2, adopted by “Chicago,” “Hamilton,” “Lackawanna Blues,” “The Lion King” and “Wicked” on Sept. 14 and at the very least two dozen extra over the autumn and winter.

“To have tickets on sale, to have shows announcing their openings, and to have an announcement about the Tony Awards, feels exhilarating, and hopeful,” St. Martin mentioned.

This yr’s awards ceremony — formally generally known as the Antoinette Perry Awards — would be the 74th such occasion and can acknowledge work carried out on Broadway between April 26, 2019, and Feb. 19, 2020. The Tony Awards retroactively set that eligibility deadline after figuring out that too few voters had seen a revival of “West Side Story” and a brand new musical known as “Girl From the North Country” that opened within the last weeks earlier than the pandemic arrived; these reveals are anticipated to be eligible to compete for awards subsequent yr.

The nominations for this yr’s ceremony have been introduced final October; 15 reveals managed to attain a nod.

The 5 contenders for greatest play are “Grand Horizons,” by Bess Wohl; “The Inheritance,” by Matthew López; “Sea Wall/A Life,” by Simon Stephens and Nick Payne; “Slave Play,” by Jeremy O. Harris; and “The Sound Inside,” by Adam Rapp.

The winners have already been decided, though the outcomes are unknown: the 778 Tony voters — producers, performers, administrators, designers and others related to the trade — have been invited to forged their ballots, electronically, in early March. The outcomes have since been safeguarded by the accounting agency Deloitte & Touche LLP.

The streaming portion of the Sept. 26 Tony Awards ceremony is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. Eastern; the printed present, which will also be streamed reside and on demand on Paramount+ and the CBS app, is scheduled to start at 9 p.m. Eastern. As in years previous, the Tony Awards present might be put collectively by the producers Ricky Kirshner and Glenn Weiss of White Cherry Entertainment; Weiss would be the present’s director.