The question has preoccupied Broadway lovers for months: When are the Tony Awards?
They said two things: One, the much-delayed awards will be scheduled “in coordination with the reopening of Broadway.” And two, the voting will take place from March 1 to March 15.
What does that mean? It means, first, that the process is moving forward. The 784 (give or take a few) voters will be soon able to cast ballots for the best work of the season that began in April 2019 and ended, prematurely, in February 2020. (Theaters were open until mid-March, but Tony administrators decided only shows that opened by Feb. 19 would be eligible for awards because too few voters had seen those that opened later.)
The voters will be choosing among a group of nominees announced last October. The best musical nominees are “Jagged Little Pill,” “Moulin Rouge! The Musical,” and “Tina — The Tina Turner Musical,” and the best play nominees are “Grand Horizons,” “The Inheritance,” “Sea Wall/A Life,” “Slave Play” and “The Sound Inside.”
It also makes official what has become increasingly apparent: the ceremony will look forward, toward the 2021-22 season, as much as it looks backward, to the 2019-20 season. The coronavirus pandemic has scuttled a 2020-21 season.
The ceremony, which is typically aired on network television, looks likely to promote the return of Broadway, and the presenters are not committing to a date because they don’t know when reopening will happen. Many producers are currently hoping for September, in which case a ceremony could take place in June, but throughout the pandemic many such predictions have come and gone.
The Tonys were originally scheduled to take place last June.
As was true the last time voting took place, in the spring of 2019, all voting will be electronic, and the voters, who are mostly producers, presenters, and people who work in the theater industry, can only vote in categories in which they have seen all the nominees. A subset of voters are allowed to vote in the categories of best orchestrations and best sound design, because those categories have been deemed too specialized for the full pool of voters to decide.