The show must go on! After the coronavirus pandemic forced Broadway theaters to close their doors for more than one year, stars are finally ready to shine at the 2021 Tony Awards.
Nominations were announced in October 2020 and honored the 2019-2020 performance season. While the COVID-19 lockdown didn’t begin until March 2020, the awards show’s eligibility rules left several fan favorites out of the running, including Ivo van Hove‘s revival of West Side Story.
The global health crisis took a major toll on the performing arts, but Charlotte St. Martin, president of the Broadway League, and Heather Hitchens, president and CEO of the American Theatre Wing, were optimistic that bringing the Tonys back would be a bright spot for both fans and creators.
“Though unprecedented events cut the Broadway season short, it was a year full of extraordinary work that deserves to be recognized,” they said in a joint 2020 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 theater 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.”
Earlier this year, some health and safety restrictions were lifted in New York City, with many Broadway theaters setting reopening dates. As of Friday, September 17, there will be eight shows officially back in action, with two more kicking off preview runs.
“I’ve been so scared something out of our control would knock tonight sideways. I hadn’t allowed myself to let it in,” three-time Tony winner Lin-Manuel Miranda tweeted on Tuesday, September 14, ahead of Hamilton‘s return to the stage. “Out with my dog this morning, a kind neighbor walked by & whispered ‘Happy Opening Night.’ It’s real. So grateful. Happy opening night. -LMM #YayHamlet.”
Along with the live presentation of awards, CBS will air a special concert titled The Tony Awards Present: Broadway’s Back! to honor the community’s major comeback. According to Deadline, the event will bring together Broadway legends and Tony Award winners to perform “beloved classics” and “celebrate the joy and magic of live theatre.”
The Tonys last took place in June 2019. Hadestown earned a total of eight trophies, the most wins of the night, including Best Musical. The Ferryman nabbed four, including Best Play.
Scroll down for everything to know about the 74th annual Tony Awards: