Despite a rough year for the theatre industry, the biggest night on Broadway will take place this fall. Though the date has not yet been set, the Broadway League and American Theatre Wing have announced that the ceremony will occur virtually this fall.
In an ordinary year, the nominees come from the shows that opened between the previous May and the following April; this year’s had been scheduled for June 7 at Radio City Music Hall. However, on March 25–thirteen days after the COVID-19 pandemic forced all Broadway shows to shut down–the American Theatre Wing and Broadway League declared a delay due to the number of shows that were unable to open during the last six weeks of the theatre.
A recent statement from the two groups said that “though unprecedented events cut the Broadway season short, it was a year full of extraordinary work that deserves to be recognized. 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 time.”
There are still many unanswered questions about the event, such as how the relatively small number of musicals will affect acting categories and the original score category, as the majority of musicals that opened during this period included music from recording artists. However, yesterday, the Tony Awards Administration Committee met to determine eligibility, greenlighting the following shoes:
“Frankie and Johnny in the Clair De Lune,” “Moulin Rouge!”, “Sea Wall/A Life,” “Betrayal,” “The Height of the Storm,” “The Great Society,” “Slave Play,” “Linda Vista,” “The Rose Tattoo,” “The Lightning Thief,” “The Sound Inside,” “Tina,” “The Inheritance, “A Christmas Carol,” “Jagged Little Pill,” “My Name is Lucy Barton,” “A Soldier’s Play,” and “Grand Horizons” are eligible.
Nominations, as well as further details about the time, date, and platform of the ceremony, will be announced soon.
While it is encouraging and exciting that at least one aspect of a typical theatre season is back, this decision is not entirely benevolent. The “We See You, White American Theatre” movement’s Instagram account, which has been calling attention to racism in theatre, recently pointed this out, posting a graphic that read, “reminding everyone that the Broadway League chose to work on The Tonys rather than the racism,” with the caption, “It’s called: a diversion. #weseeyou”. Additionally, it has been noticed that the potential director nominees include more women than most other years, leading many to lament the fact that it took a pandemic to nudge the awards closer to gender equality. With all of these issues now brought to light, the Broadway League and American Theatre Wing will hopefully address these issues, not just when they are trending, but into the future as well.