The 74th Annual Tony Awards, scheduled to air live on CBS on Sunday, June 7 from New York’s Radio City Music Hall, has been postponed and will be rescheduled at a later date, presenters announced today.
Presenters the Broadway League, the American Theater Wing and CBS will coordinate for the new date once the ongoing shutdown has been lifted. CBS has aired the ceremony for 42 consecutive years.
A brief statement released by a spokesperson for the awards said, “The health and safety of the Broadway community, artists and fans is of the utmost importance to us. We will announce new dates and additional information once Broadway opens again. We are looking forward to celebrating Broadway and our industry when it is safe to do so.”
The decision has largely been expected since Broadway shut down for a month on March 12 due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Broadway League, the trade organization representing theater owners and producers, confirmed last week that it was considering extending the shutdown beyond the initial target date of April 13 in keeping with suggested guidelines by the Centers for Disease Control that call for the cancellation until May of gatherings of 50 or more people.
The Tonys, Broadway’s ultimate marker of peer recognition, are the industry’s most significant national promotional endeavor, with victories often leading to significant increases in ticket sales (and losses often resulting in near-immediate closing notices).
This season’s crop of spring shows forced to postpone previews or opening nights due to the shutdown include Six, the hit pop musical from London and Chicago about the wives of Henry VIII; Tracy Letts’ The Minutes; the Jerry Zaks-directed musical adaptation of Mrs. Doubtfire; director Sam Mendes’ The Lehman Trilogy; the Princess Di musical Diana; Company, the gender-switched revival of the classic Sondheim musical starring Katrina Lenk and Patti LuPone; Plaza Suite starring Matthew Broderick and Sarah Jessica Parker; How I Learned To Drive, the Paula Vogel play starring Mary-Louise Parker and David Morse; David Mamet’s American Buffalo starring Laurence Fishburne, Sam Rockwell and Darren Criss; the Off Broadway transfer of New York Theatre Workshop’s musical Sing Street; and the revival of Richard Greenberg’s Take Me Out starring Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Jesse Williams and Patrick J. Adams.
Earlier today, Roundabout Theatre Company announced that it was postponing until next season its Broadway production of Caroline, or Change, the revival of the Jeanine Tesori-Tony Kushner musical starring Sharon D Clarke, and Birthday Candles, the Noah Haidle play starring Debra Messing. Last week, producers for Hangmen and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? canceled their Spring productions, while Lincoln Center Theater – like Roundabout, a not-for-profit organization – postponed Flying Over Sunset until next season.
As Deadline reported last week, the Tony Award postponement was all but inevitable, given the April 23 eligibility cutoff date and what would have been a shortened window of Tony voter preview performances.
In recent days, several Broadway performers have disclosed positive coronavirus statuses or illness, including Moulin Rouge! star Aaron Tveit and Tony winner Gavin Creel.
And just yesterday, Broadway and theater lovers everywhere were devastated by the news that the great playwright Terrence McNally had died due to COVID-19. McNally received the 2019 Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre.
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