CBS Nixes Big River Tony Performance

News   CBS Nixes Big River Tony Performance The critically acclaimed revival of Big River — choreographed and directed by Jeff Calhoun — has been denied the chance to perform live on the upcoming Tony Awards telecast.

Tyrone Giordano (foreground) and Michael McElroy in Big River
Tyrone Giordano (foreground) and Michael McElroy in Big River Photo by Joan Marcus

Variety reports that the musical, which is currently readying for its national tour, will not be allowed to perform on the 58th Annual Tony Awards broadcast because it is no longer running on Broadway. A representative for the awards ceremony told the industry paper that due to time constraints, "CBS has mandated that only shows that are currently running will perform."

Last season, Amour was similarly denied the opportunity to perform at the annual awards because it had shuttered earlier in the season. It was a less devastating decision for Amour because that musical had no plans to tour at the time. Big River, however, is set to launch its national tour June 11 at San Francisco's Curran Theatre with three of its original stars, Daniel H. Jenkins, Tyrone Giordano and Michael McElroy.

Big River had planned to perform what is, perhaps, the musical's best-known tune, "Muddy Water," on the upcoming Tony broadcast. Most likely the show will now be introduced briefly via pre-taped press footage.

Big River, which played the American Airlines Theatre July-Sept. 2003, was hailed for its casting of hearing and hearing-impaired actors and its use of American Sign Language. The revival of the William Hauptman-Roger Miller musical was nominated for two Tony Awards, including Best Revival of a Musical and Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical (Michael McElroy).

The 58th Annual Tony Awards — hosted by The Boy From Oz's Hugh Jackman — will be broadcast live on CBS-TV June 6, 8-11 PM ET.