chief theater critic
The American Theater Wing and the Broadway League are launching tonight’s 75th annual Tony Awards, but as our colleague Michael Paulson points out, that’s not quite right. It was not annually. There were no awards in 2020.
That’s because of the pandemic, of course, which shut down Broadway from March 12, 2020 until Bruce Springsteen reopened his “Springsteen on Broadway” on June 26, 2021. That was 15 months of dark phases.
I expect tonight’s presentation will acknowledge that, as well as the choppy Broadway reopening, in both direct and indirect ways. Live: Nods to students, reserve officials, hammocks, Covid monitors and others who kept giving performances when a task seemed nearly impossible. Indirect: Some of the honored content made it to Broadway because the shutdowns paved the way for authors, work, and methods rarely seen there before.
I mean, we’d have seen “MJ,” Michael Jackson’s music box, regardless. But I wonder if we’ve had a “strange episode,” even with a Pulitzer Prize, on Broadway, getting 11 awards, without the pandemic burning things a bit. Or “Problem of the Mind,” which is the best revival of the play. or “Dana H.” or “Is this a room”. I hope so but…
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