Tony Awards to Be Rescheduled Due to Coronavirus Shutdown

Tony Statuette - Publicity-H 2018
Courtesy of Tony Awards

Dates for the 74th annual edition of Broadway's top honors remain in limbo as the New York theater community sits out its longest blackout in history.

The Tony Awards are being postponed amid the coronavirus pandemic to a later date to be announced once Broadway reopens.

The confirmation comes after two weeks of uncertainty, in which it had become increasingly clear that the awards ceremony, along with its eligibility cutoff date of April 23 and scheduled nominations announcement of April 28, would have to be pushed back.

"The 74th Annual Tony Awards, scheduled to air live on the CBS Television Network on Sunday, June 7 from Radio City Music Hall in New York City, will be postponed and rescheduled at a later date, in coordination with our broadcast partner," said a statement Wednesday from the Tonys, which are presented by trade organizations the Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing.

On March 12, Broadway went dark after the Broadway League announced that all performances would be suspended through April 12. The closure now appears certain to be extended by at least another month, though no plans have been confirmed at this stage.

Three days later, the CDC recommended that all gatherings involving 50 people or more be called off for the next eight weeks, while President Donald Trump the following day said gatherings of more than 10 people should be avoided.

"We will announce new dates and additional information once Broadway opens again," continued the Tony Awards statement. "We are looking forward to celebrating Broadway and our industry when it is safe to do so."

The majority of Broadway's busy spring season remains in limbo. Two major productions, Martin McDonagh's Hangmen, starring Mark Addy and Dan Stevens, and a revival of Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? led by Laurie Metcalf and Rupert Everett, already have confirmed they will not reopen after having suspended performances during previews.

Lincoln Center Theater has pushed back its new musical Flying Over Sunset to the fall, as has Roundabout Theatre Company with the Noah Haidle play Birthday Candles, starring Debra Messing, and the revival of Tony Kushner and Jeanine Tesori's musical, Caroline, or Change, a London import starring Sharon D. Clarke. Those date shifts make all three productions eligible for 2021 Tony Awards consideration.

Plans for other spring openings remain on hold, among them the new musicals Six, Mrs. Doubtfire, Diana and Sing Street, plays including Tracy Letts' The Minutes, the Sam Mendes production The Lehman Trilogy, and a number of revivals.

The latter include the Stephen Sondheim musical Company, with Katrina Lenk and Patti LuPone; Neil Simon comedy Plaza Suite, with Matthew Broderick and Sarah Jessica Parker; David Mamet's American Buffalo, with Laurence Fishburne, Sam Rockwell and Darren Criss; Paula Vogel's How I Learned to Drive, reuniting original stars Mary-Louise Parker and David Morse; and Richard Greenberg's Take Me Out, with Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Jesse Williams and Patrick J. Adams.

Whether any of these pending shows will be eligible for 2020 Tonys hinges on how soon Broadway can resume business and whether that leaves a sufficient window for Tony nominators and voters to consider the productions before the rescheduled ceremony takes place.

The news of the Tonys postponement follows the cancellation or postponement of major events including E3, Coachella, SXSW, MIPTV, CinemaCon, professional sports and more, as many companies ask their staffers to work from home or limit face-to-face business meetings and unnecessary travel and cities like New York and Los Angeles order the closures of movie theaters, nightclubs, bars and other venues.

And the Tonys are not the only awards being impacted. Also in March, Canada's music-centric Juno Awards were canceled, as was the GLAAD Media Awards in New York and the Razzie Awards in Los Angeles, while the Kids' Choice Awards (L.A.), iHeartRadio Music Awards (L.A.) and the ACM Awards (Las Vegas) were postponed, among others.

The British equivalent of the Tonys, the Olivier Awards, which were scheduled to take place April 5 at London's Royal Albert Hall, have been canceled. Following Prime Minister Boris Johnson's March 16 announcement recommending restrictions on large gatherings across the U.K., major theaters, both in London's West End and around the country, including Albert Hall, ceased operations until further notice. 

The Oliviers administration is working through plans on how to honor and announce this year's winners, with further information forthcoming.