NEW YORK (AP) – The Oscars, Grammys, Emmys and Golden Globes have all held their ceremonies during the pandemic. Now is the time for the Tony Awards, celebrating an art form that really needs a boost: live theater.
Sunday’s show went from a typical three hours to four, with Audra McDonald distributing Tonys for the first two hours and Leslie Odom Jr. hosting a “Broadway’s Back!” celebration for the second half, including the presentation of the three best trophies – best cover of play, best play and best musical.
“What it does is it gives a lot of these shows a chance – with just the joy of what Broadway brings – to be presented in a way that helps remind the general public that we are here and to come back and there is a way to do it safely, ”said McDonald.
While other entertainment industries like television and film have found ways to reboot during the pandemic, Broadway has been unable until now due to financial and physical barriers. Lifting all capacity restrictions was critical to any reopening, as Broadway’s economy requires venues to be full capacity.
The sobering musical “Jagged Little Pill”, which takes over Alanis Morissette’s groundbreaking 1995 album to tell the story of an American family gone out of control, goes into the night with 15 Tony nominations.
On his heels, “Moulin Rouge!
“Slave Play,” Jeremy O. Harris’s groundbreaking and inspiring work that blends race, sex, taboo desires and class, won a dozen nominations, making it the most nominated play in Tony history.
Other shows to watch are Matthew Lopez’s “The Inheritance,” which landed 11 nominations. It’s a two-part, seven-hour epic that uses “Howards End” as the starting point for a play that examines gay life in the early 21st century. And “Tina – The Tina Turner Musical,” which chronicles the rock icon’s life with songs that include “Let’s Stay Together” and “Proud Mary,” won 12 nods.
This season’s nominations were drawn from just 18 eligible plays and musicals from the 2019-20 season, a fraction of the 34 shows from the previous season. For most years there are 26 competitive categories. This year, there are 25 with several sold out. But theater insiders believe an awards show is even more vital now.
“I would say it’s more important than ever, in a way,” said James Corden, who hosted the Tonys in 2016. “If there’s a year we should be celebrating them, that’s fine. this year where people’s entire lives have just been torn away and turned upside down.
Some intriguing races include whether Tony Award-winning LaChanze daughter Celia Rose Gooding herself will win a Tony for her work on “Jagged Little Pill” and whether fan favorite Danny Burstein will finally win a Tony. for “Moulin Rouge! The Musical. Many will see if Karen Olivo wins the award for Best Leading Actress in a Musical, despite dropping her show,” Moulin Rouge! The Musical, “in frustration with Broadway.
Six-time Tony Winner McDonald’s isn’t just a host. She is in contention for the award for Best Actress in a Play which, if she wins, would give her seven awards, breaking her own record for most Tonys won by a performer. And something bizarre has to happen to stop Aaron Tveit from winning the award for best lead actor in a musical; he is the only nominee in the category. The vote for the nominees took place in March.
The last Tony Awards were held in 2019. The virus forced Broadway theaters to abruptly close on March 12, 2020, eliminating all shows and shaking up the spring season. Several have rebooted, including the so-called big three of “Wicked”, “Hamilton” and “The Lion King”.
Mark Kennedy is at http://twitter.com/KennedyTwits.