The Tonys are awards given to Broadway musicals and plays.
Officially the Antoinette Perry Award for Excellence in Broadway Theatre, the more commonly known Tony Awards recognizes excellence in live Broadway theatre.
The awards are presented by the American Theatre Wing and The Broadway League at an annual ceremony in Manhattan. They could be considered the theater equivalent of the Oscars or Grammy Awards.
The 74th Tony Awards were originally scheduled to be held in June of last year. Like most events, this had to be postponed due to the coronavirus.
The Awards for 2021 are set to consider shows from the 2019- 2020 Broadway season. The 2020-2021 season will likely have no awards, and the 75th will be for the 2021-2022 season if Broadway hopefully opens again this year.
The organizations in charge of the Tonys recently announced that voting is supposed to take place from Mar. 1, 2021 to Mar. 15, 2021.
According to the New York Times, the Awards will be held in coordination with the reopening of Broadway.
Normally, the Tony Awards would be hosted by a well known member of Broadway, who would perform a whole opening musical number.
Previous hosts have included stars like James Corden, Hugh Jackman and Neil Patrick-Harris.
For the opening number, they may take elements of shows being nominated and mash them together, or hearken back to the classics of Broadway.
Whatever they do, it always includes flashy costumes, expert lighting, many jokes and a stage full of dancers and energy.
Celebrities can attend the Tony Awards ceremony to enjoy the provided entertainment and receive their awards in person. This year, the entertainment factor of the Awards will not be possible.
Even so, giving the awards at all is an improvement from this time last year.
For 2021, 784 voters will vote electronically to decide the winners of categories such as Best Play, Best Choreography and Best Direction of a Musical. Nominees were previously announced during last October.
The nominees for Best Play are Bess Wohl’s “Grand Horizons,” Matthew López’s “The Inheritance,” Simon Stephen and Nick Payne’s “Sea Wall/A Life,” Jeremy Harris’ “Slave Play” and Adam Rapp’s “The Sound Inside.”
The nominees for Best Musical are Diablo Cody’s “Jagged Little Pill,” John Logan’s “Moulin Rouge! The Musical” and Katori Hall, Frank Ketelaar and Kees Prins’ “Tina: The Tina Turner Musical.” “Jagged Little Pill,” which is about a family dealing with issues like addiction, leads with fifteen nominations. “Moulin Rouge! The Musical” follows up with fourteen nominations.
“Slave Play” was given the most nominations for a play in the Tony Awards’ history, with twelve nominations total. The show is about the legacy of slavery in the United States, and this is explored in a rather unique setting in the form of an interracial couples’ retreat for sexual therapy.
It uses modern day settings of therapy and flashbacks of the past to call racial stereotypes into question and explore the nuances of mixed race relationships.
The play sparked controversy when it was released for its portrayal of African-Americans, and a Change.org petition was even started to remove it from Broadway.
Some critics complain about the pacing of the show itself, the lack of overall character development and the apparent disregard for an intermission.
However, many other critics gave it favorable reviews.
Overall, everyone seems to agree that it was a very creative endeavor.
With all of these awards up in the air, one winner is known for sure already. Aaron Tveit is the sole nominee for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical for his performance in “Moulin Rouge! The Musical.”
The Musical is an adaptation of the 2001 movie “Moulin Rouge!” The plot centers around a Parisian nightclub at the beginning of the 20th century.
Tviet has doubtlessly earned him nomination with an impressive history of roles such as Frank Abignale Jr. in the stage version of “Catch Me If You Can,” and Enjolras in the film version of “Les Miserables,” as well as recurring roles in popular television shows “Graceland” and “Gossip Girl.”
Winners of the last Tony Awards that were held in 2019 included Jez Butterworth’s “TheFerryman” for Best Play. Anaïs Mitchell’s “Hadestown” won the nomination for Best Musical.
“Hadestown” won it’s nomination due to the artfulness of its retelling of the classical myth about Oedipus and Eurydice.
The New York Times reports that many producers on Broadway are hoping to reopen the theaters by September, and they predict that an Awards show could be held in June.
Even if an Awards show can be held later in the year, it will likely be riddled with restrictions and have far fewer attendants than ceremonies in the past.
Even so, the changing protocol for this event and others like it does not diminish the prestige associated with receiving a Tony Award.
In a difficult year for all artists, those who have been dedicated relentlessly to their craft deserve to be recognized.
In any case, at least hope is on the horizon for having a formal ceremony, although they are not committing to a specific date to present the Tony Awards yet. Nonetheless, the long-awaited awards will be one step closer to completion come March.