The 74th annual Tony Awards will present honors to an organization that pushed the theatre industry to reckon with its role in systemic racism—and two theatrical events that will return to Broadway post-shutdown. Newly announced as Special Tony Award recipients: The Broadway Advocacy Coalition, David Byrne’s American Utopia, and Freestyle Love Supreme.
As previously reported, the ceremony—honoring both the 2019–2020 season cut short by the coronavirus pandemic and the return of live theatre—will take place in two parts September 26: first with a 7 PM ET awards ceremony on Paramount+, followed by a primetime special (and presentation of the three major Best Production awards) on CBS.
Founded in 2016 by members of the Black theatre community (Jackie Bell, Amber Iman, Cameron J Ross, Britton Smith, Adrienne Warren, and Christian Dante White), the Broadway Advocacy Coalition is dedicated to ensuring the arts industry play a more impactful role against racism. Through myriad series of workshops, forums, and impact projects, the non-profit has galvanized artists and arts workers to examine how white supremacy has permeated the industry and how we can approach racial equity.
READ: Broadway Advocacy Coalition Launches Reimagining Equitable Productions Workshop
American Utopia features former Talking Heads frontman Byrne and a global group of musicians as they explore themes of human connection, self-evolution, and social justice. After first playing Broadway in 2019, the theatrical concert will play a return engagement beginning September 17.
Freestyle Love Supreme also recently announced an upcoming return to Broadway; the hip-hop improv group will take up the Booth Theatre beginning October 7. The troupe was founded by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Thomas Kail, and Anthony Veneziale.
Both American Utopia and Freestyle Love Supreme have hit the small screen during the pandemic, with a filmed version of the former premiering on HBO (directed by Spike Lee) and the latter the subject of a documentary available on Hulu.
Additional information about both elements of the ceremony will be announced later.