For the sixth straight year, Thirteen/WNET and PBS will join forces with CBS-TV to broadcast The Tony Awards in two parts, beginning with PBS' broadcast of "The First Ten Awards: Tonys 2002," live from the famed Radio City Music Hall.
The 56th Annual Tony Awards will be held 8-11 PM (ET) Sunday June 2. The first hour of the broadcast will be shown on PBS stations across the country. Immediately following, viewers will tune-in to CBS for the two-hour "The 2002 Tony Awards" telecast.
The PBS portion will feature the award presentations to the creative artists (Best Direction of a Play, Direction of a Musical, Book of a Musical, Original Score, Choreography, Costume Design, Lighting Design and Scenic Design) as well as interviews with the nominees in these categories and rehearsal and performance clips from the nominated shows. Jac Venza, Jeff Folmsbee and Mark Mannucci are set to return as producers of the PBS portion of the evening. No host has been announced yet.
Folmsbee, a filmmaker and producer who has been honored with 39 Emmy and two Peabody awards, recently commented in a statement: "Six years?! I can't believe it's been that long. I remember meeting [producer] Gary Smith for the first time in 1997 when none of us knew what an awards show on PBS would look like. And of course, what we came up with worked. And none of it would have been possible without the support and goodwill of Gary Smith and his production team. Gary truly believes in making The Tony Awards a three-hour ceremony broadcast on two networks."
Smith, who will again serve as executive producer of the CBS telecast, concurs. "The Tony Awards have become a seamless three-hour production. It is gratifying that our idea to extend the Tonys to a three-hour show has become so successful," he said in a statement. The 2001-2002 Tony Awards eligibility season began on May 3, 2001 and will officially end on May 1, 2002, and this season's Tony Award nominations will be announced on May 6. The Antoinette Perry "Tony" Awards, a joint venture of The American Theatre Wing and The League of American Theatres and Producers, annually honor Broadway theatre professionals for distinguished achievement.
—By Andrew Gans