BY: PHEOBE HORIBE
Despite the circumstances of the pandemic this year, the American Theatre Wing is determined to host the 74th Annual Tony Awards — virtually!
Broadway drew the curtains early on the 2019-2020 season on March 12 because of the outbreak of COVID-19 and it was announced earlier this summer that it would not reopen theaters until January 2021 at the earliest. Some shows have already determined that they won’t reopen at all, and others have told casts and crews to plan on returning to the theater closer to mid-spring than the new year. But in the midst of all of this uncertainty, there were some shows that began previews, and some that had opened, during the brief 2019-2020 season, and Broadway believes they should get a chance to shine.
“Though unprecedented events cut the 2019-2020 Broadway season short, it was a year full of extraordinary work that deserves to be recognized,” said Charlotte St. Martin, president of The Broadway League, and Heather Hitchens, president and CEO of the American Theatre Wing.
The two went on to say, “We are thrilled not only to have found a way to properly celebrate our artists’ incredible achievements this season, but also to be able to uplift the entire theatre community and show the world what makes our Broadway family so special at this difficult time. The show must go on, no matter what – and it will.”
The eligibility date and qualifications are still undecided, since some shows were in previews still when Broadway went dark. (SIX, the buzzy new musical based on the wives of King Henry VIII, was scheduled to open the night that Broadway closed.) It sounds like the biggest factors in determining eligibility will be steered by whether enough Tony voters were able to see them. The original cut-off date was to be April 23rd.
There is not an official announcement for a date, time, or specific platform, but producers are looking to present this virtual production in the fall.