Although Broadway exhibits are returning, opening and beginning previews, audiences — and firms — won’t ever be the identical.
The group has misplaced members just like the actor Nick Cordero and the Tony Award-winning playwright Terrence McNally to the coronavirus. At the least seven plays written by Black artists are set to open on Broadway phases this season. And the business is unsure if audiences are comfortable enough to take a seat shoulder to shoulder in a theater, even vaccinated and masked.
The Broadway League and American Theater Wing need to the 74th Tony Awards, going down on the Winter Backyard Theater on Sunday, to assist with that. Initially scheduled for June 7, 2020, the awards have been delayed — and delayed once more, after nominations were announced last October — in an try to bolster a pandemic-hobbled business. Right here’s a take a look at how we received right here after a lot uncertainty.
It’s been greater than a 12 months and a half since that fateful day — March 12, 2020 — when the curtain got here down on all 31 performs and musicals operating on Broadway. Initially purported to final simply 32 days, the suspension knocked out 16 deliberate spring 2020 openings, from March 12 (“Six,” which was just hours from its opening night) to April 23 (when “Take Me Out” was scheduled to open).
Because it turned clear the coronavirus was going to be with us for some time, the Tonys had been postponed indefinitely, till Broadway reopened. (Our chief critics gave out their own awards anyway, discovering loads to have a good time.)
Almost a month into the shutdown, the reopening date for Broadway was pushed to June. Then, in August, got here the announcement that the Tony Awards would go ahead, albeit online. The awards directors debated combining the 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons for one televised ceremony in 2021, however determined in opposition to that over concern that it will not be honest to exhibits that opened in 2019. (After all, they didn’t but know there wouldn’t be a 2020-21 season.)
The nominations were announced in October 2020, with “Jagged Little Tablet,” the Alanis Morissette jukebox musical that the New York Instances chief critic, Jesse Inexperienced, known as “honest with out syrup, rousing and actual,” and “Slave Play,” Jeremy O. Harris’s portrait of race and intercourse in America that Inexperienced known as “among the finest and most provocative new works to indicate up on Broadway in years,” receiving essentially the most nominations. “Slave Play,” which has 12, turned the most-nominated play in Tonys historical past.
However then got here November. After which December. After which a brand new 12 months — and nonetheless, no ceremony.
Tonys voting plans had been introduced in January, although organizers wouldn’t decide to an occasion till Broadway’s return was set. In March, 778 voters made their choices — greater than a 12 months after they’d seen lots of the exhibits. Then, on Might 26, the precise, this-is-really-happening plan was introduced. And right here we’re.
Who Is Eligible for a Tony?
This 12 months’s ceremony will acknowledge exhibits that opened in one of many 41 Broadway theaters from April 26, 2019, to Feb. 19, 2020. A couple of, like Ivo van Hove’s revival of “West Side Story,” which is not returning to Broadway, and “Woman From the North Nation,” which is returning on Oct. 13 and was the last Broadway show to open before the shutdown, aren’t eligible as a result of the League decided that not sufficient of its voters had the possibility to see them earlier than the shutdown.
The diminished variety of eligible productions — 18, down from 34 on the 2019 ceremony — additionally led to some quirks within the classes this 12 months. Greatest revival of a musical was dropped as a result of no exhibits had opened by the Feb. 19 cutoff date (“West Aspect Story” opened on Feb. 20), all of the nominees for greatest rating are performs and Aaron Tveit of “Moulin Rouge! The Musical” is in a one-man race within the main actor in a musical class, although he may nonetheless lose if he fails to persuade 60 % of voters that he deserves a statuette.
Watch the Awards
Regardless of the less nominees and classes, this 12 months’s Tony Awards will last four hours and be split into two parts, which is able to air again to again on Paramount+, CBS’s digital streaming platform, after which on CBS, which has broadcast the ceremony since 1978. (For those who don’t have a Paramount+ subscription, which you’ll want to observe the primary 22 awards, the service gives a one-week free trial.)
Starting at 7 p.m., the Tony, Grammy and Emmy Award-winning actress Audra McDonald, who’s up for her seventh Tony for her work within the revival of the McNally play “Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune,” will host the stay presentation of the Tony Awards on Paramount+, throughout which all of the awards besides the highest three will likely be offered.
At 9 p.m., the Tony and Grammy Award-winning actor Leslie Odom Jr. will host a two-hour live performance particular, “The Tony Awards Current: Broadway’s Again!,” which is able to air on CBS and be accessible to stream stay and on demand on Paramount+.
What Can We Anticipate to See?
It’ll embrace performances from the three exhibits nominated for greatest musical (“Jagged Little Pill,” “Tina — The Tina Turner Musical” and “Moulin Rouge! The Musical”) and two exhibits receiving particular Tonys, “Freestyle Love Supreme” and “American Utopia”; appearances by Lin Manuel-Miranda, André De Shields (a Tony winner for “Hadestown”) and the “Pricey Evan Hansen” star Ben Platt; and the presentation of the highest three awards: greatest play, greatest revival of a play and greatest musical.
Among the many notable contenders to maintain a watch out for: Harris of “Slave Play”; Adrienne Warren, who simply would possibly win her first Tony for her mighty flip within the title position of “Tina”; Lois Smith, 90, may obtain the primary Tony of her profession for “The Inheritance”; and Danny Burstein, a seven-time nominee, may win his first statuette for “Moulin Rouge! The Musical.”
These Nominees Might Make Historical past
McDonald may break her personal file for essentially the most Tonys gained by a performer for her work in a revival of McNally’s play “Frankie and Johnny within the Clair de Lune.” And if Harris wins for “Slave Play,” he would change into the primary Black playwright to take residence the honour since August Wilson in 1987 for “Fences.”
“Slave Play” can also be up for greatest director, Robert O’Hara; main actress, Joaquina Kalukango; featured actors, Ato Blankson-Wooden and James Cusati-Moyer; and featured actresses, Chalia La Tour and Annie McNamara.
Attainable First-Time Tony Winners?
David Alan Grier now has 4 Tony nominations below his belt, the most recent for his featured position as a tyrannical sergeant within the revival of Charles Fuller’s Pulitzer Prize-winning drama “A Soldier’s Play.” Grier’s castmate, Blair Underwood, who performs a army lawyer investigating a homicide, may decide up a statuette of his personal for main actor in a play.
The opposite nominees in that class embrace the first-time nominee Jake Gyllenhaal, who’s up for his position as a younger husband and father in Nick Payne’s “A Life,” a one-man tragicomedy of affection and loss that performed as a part of a double invoice with Simon Stephens’s “Sea Wall,” that includes Tom Sturridge, who can also be a nominee.
Lauren Patten was nominated in one of the best featured actress in a musical class for her breakout efficiency in “Jagged Little Tablet.” She performs a highschool pupil whose coronary heart will get damaged, resulting in an electrical rendition of “You Oughta Know” within the present’s second act.
And the Particular Tony Goes to …
Three particular Tony Awards, which acknowledge work outdoors the standard classes, will likely be handed out Sunday night time, together with one for the Broadway Advocacy Coalition, a corporation began 5 years in the past by a gaggle of actors and others as a device to work towards dismantling racism by theater and storytelling. The opposite recipients are David Byrne’s “American Utopia,” an intricately choreographed live performance by the Speaking Heads singer that Ben Brantley known as a “cloud-sweeping higher of a touring present,” and “Freestyle Love Supreme,” a largely improvised hip-hop present that was created, partially, by Lin-Manuel Miranda.