After the weird hybrid combination of streaming-slash-network-TV Tony Awards that took place in September of last year, the Broadway theater awards ceremony is reverting back to normal, almost. The Tony Awards announced today that the ceremony will take place at Radio City Music Hall on June 12, a return to the typical schedule of an event on the first or second Sunday in June after the 2019-2020 season was cut short by the COVID pandemic. But some of the changes from the last time around remain, notably that the full show won’t air on live TV: The four-hour event will be split between an hour of “exclusive content streaming only Paramount+” from 7 to 8 p.m. ET, followed by three hours of “the presentation of the American Theatre Wing’s 75th Annual Tony Awards” on CBS from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. ET. In good news for the theater fans stranded on the West Coast (movingly depicted in this one old Rachel Bloom video), the whole four-hour bonanza will be streamed live coast to coast for the first time.
Before this announcement, the Tony Awards had held off providing any specifics of their schedule for this season, beyond the implication that it would follow roughly the standard structure (i.e., that shows that open between the end of the last season and the end of this April would be eligible). Now, they’re providing some specifics: The cut-off date for Tony eligibility is officially April 28, and the Tony nominations will be announced on May 3. That’s roughly what was expected, and why a grand total of 14 new productions are all jockeying against each other with April openings, though it does knock back the upcoming farce POTUS, which has a Tony-friendly starry cast that includes Julie White and Vanessa Williams and has said it plans to open May 9, back into contention for next season.
The Tonys have already made some rulings about which workers involved in which shows will be eligible for which categories, addressing some of lingering quirks of a COVID-disrupted schedule. Notably, Girl From the North Country, which opened on March 5, 2020 before the COVID shutdown but after the February 19, 2020 cut-off for the last round of Tonys, and then returned to performances last fall, is up for awards this time around, but with its new cast (Colin Bates, who replaced Colton Ryan in the post-vaxx version, is up for Actor in a Featured Role). Scott Rudin’s revival of West Side Story (a fraught production, even before Rudin said he would “step back” from his work on Broadway in the spring of 2021 after allegations of abusive behavior) also opened in the same pre-COVID but post-cut-off window, then did not return last fall. It isn’t eligible for anything at all.