The Tony Awards, having put its 74th annual ceremony on hold earlier this year, will head online in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. The Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing, co-presenters of the annual tradition, have revealed that the 2020 proceedings will take place in the form of a digital ceremony this fall.
No word yet on further details, including an exact date.
“Though unprecedented events cut the 2019–2020 Broadway season short, it was a year full of extraordinary work that deserves to be recognized,” Broadway League President Charlotte St. Martin and American Theatre Wing President Heather Hitchens shared in a joint statement. “We are thrilled not only to have found a way to properly celebrate our artists’ incredible achievements this season, but also to be able to uplift the entire theatre community and show the world what makes our Broadway family so special at this difficult time. The show must go on, no matter what—and it will.”
This year's ceremony was originally scheduled to take place June 7 at Radio City Music Hall. On March 25 (about two weeks after Broadway productions went dark), the League and Wing made the announcement that this year's celebration was delayed indefinitely; this marks the first major update on the event since then.
Shows that opened by February 19 will be considered eligible, meaning that shows that had opened prior to the shutdown but perhaps did not have time to invite members of the Tony Awards Nominating Committee or voters (such as West Side Story and Girl From the North Country) will not be in the running. At the time of the Broadway shutdown, 16 shows slated for the 2019–2020 season had not officially opened (the eligibility window was to end April 23); half of those had yet to play a single preview performance.
As the public health crisis struck just as the theatre industry neared awards season, several other annual events had to make similar decisions to alter their plans. The Drama Desk Awards, Obie Awards, and Lucille Lortel Awards, for instance, opted for streaming ceremonies—either live or pre-recorded—to recognize shows that had played prior to the mass gathering restrictions. Some opted to reveal winners online. The pandemic and the urgency of the Black Lives Matter movement also made way for a new award: The Antonyos, presented by Broadway Black. The virtual event streamed June 19.