“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 said. “That’s something we’ve wanted for years.”
The broadcast segment is being described in a news release 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 more detail, Hitchens said, “It’s going to be jam-packed with entertainment that is about Broadway. More to come on that.”
The two-platform plan is similar to that used by the Grammy Awards, at which the majority of the prizes are announced at a preshow ceremony, followed by an entertainment-focused television broadcast. Some of the Tony Award winners named during the streaming ceremony will also be acknowledged during the TV portion.
The ceremony, originally scheduled for June 7, 2020, will take place in September as part of an effort to reinforce the marketing message that Broadway is back in business — in fact, the show is being titled “The Tony Awards Present: Broadway’s Back!” Broadway’s 41 theaters have been closed since March 12, 2020; at the moment, the first show planning performances is “Hadestown,” on Sept. 2, followed by “Chicago,” “Hamilton,” “Lackawanna Blues,” “The Lion King” and “Wicked” on Sept. 14 and at least two dozen more over the fall 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 said.
This year’s awards ceremony — formally known as the Antoinette Perry Awards — will be the 74th such event and will recognize work performed on Broadway between April 26, 2019, and Feb. 19, 2020. The Tony Awards retroactively set that eligibility deadline after determining that too few voters had seen a revival of “West Side Story” and a new musical called “Girl From the North Country” that opened in the final weeks before the pandemic arrived; those shows are expected to be eligible to compete for awards next year.
The nominations for this year’s ceremony were announced last October; 15 shows managed to score a nod.