Tony Awards Celebration to fill void left by Broadway’s big night

Tony Awards Celebration to fill void left by Broadway’s big night

The virtual event will celebrate Broadway and the Tony Awards with a special livestream directed by Lonny Price

Though the Tony Awards remain canceled, the show will go on — sort of. The recently launched streaming service Broadway on Demand is partnering with the American Theatre Wing and the Broadway League to present a “never-before-seen” celebration in a tip of the hat to the annual affair and the theatre community at large.

While details remain scant, the hour-long special will take place June 7 at 6 p.m. and will be available to stream on the Tonys website and Broadway on Demand. The event will be directed by Lonny Price, with choreography by Sarah O’Gleby.

“There’s never been a more important moment for the theatre community to gather, celebrate and share our collective passion for the craft,” Sean Cercone, president and CEO of Broadway on Demand, said. “Broadway’s ability to be a cultural touchstone not just to NYC but for all people around the globe truly makes it the longest street in the world.”

The announcement positions the evening as a fundraiser for the American Theatre Wing and the Broadway League. Donations made during the event will benefit the initiatives’ educational programming.

“Given all the devastating ways that this pandemic has affected our educational system, providing educational and training opportunities to those who otherwise might not have access feels more vital than ever before,” Charlotte St. Martin, president of the Broadway League, said. “In these uncertain times, helping the next generation of artists flourish is the best way I can think of to remain optimistic about the future of Broadway.”

The move follows an announcement by CBS that the singalong musical “Grease” will fill the June 7 slot held for the annual Tony Awards. As it stands, the Tony Awards remains postponed indefinitely.

Earlier this May, the Broadway League announced that theaters would remain dark through Labor Day, though the reopen date could be later. All of Broadway’s 41 theaters shuttered March 12, following Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s ban on gatherings of more than 500 people. At the time, 31 productions were being staged, with eight more prepping to open.

“While all Broadway shows would love to resume performances as soon as possible, we need to ensure the health and well-being of everyone who comes to the theatre — behind the curtain and in front of it — before shows can return,” St. Martin said in a statement announcing the extended closures. “Throughout this challenging time, we have been in close communication with Governor Cuomo’s office and are grateful for his support and leadership as we work together to bring back this vital part of New York City’s economy — and spirit.”