Two (more) things about the Tony Awards.

I’m still thinking about the Tony Awards.

I can’t help it.

It was such a unique year.  And so many things were tried that never would have been tried in an “ordinary” year.  

The Tonys were forced to do something that our industry doesn’t like to do . . . experiment.

And sometimes experiments lead to great things.  And sometimes they lead to . . . less great things.

There were TWO things that stood out to me . . . ONE that I hope sets a precedent and becomes the way we ALWAYS do it.

And one that I hope isn’t done again.

Let’s start with the one I hope disappears:


The Two Tiered Network Approach

While I did love the fact that all the awards were “televised” by having a pre-show stream on Paramount+, I’d prefer the Awards stay unified as one broadcast on one network.

That’s the best way to get the most viewers and to accomplish what I believe is the purpose of the show:  to honor and market the excellence in the theater.

Personally, it didn’t bug me that much. I had Paramount+ already.  (My daughter wanted to watch something they had – so I had to get it.) But from listening to the feedback of our fans (and our primary responsibility should always be to listen to our consumers) is that asking our fans to pay for yet another streaming service (even if there is a free trial), isn’t going to get more people to watch.

So that’s one I hope gets scratched.

Now, the one experiment that I hope becomes precedent is . . .


The Live Performances From The SHOWS’ Theaters.

In the past, all live performances were live FROM the theater presenting The Tony Awards (in recent years – that’s Radio City).  So, the casts had to be bussed to and from the theater several times (dress rehearsals, performances), new sets had to be built, props had to be loaded in and out and in and out, etc.

It’s a logistical nightmare and super expensive.

Why was it done that way?

The (good) argument has always been that the energy of the shows performing live at The Tonys Theater energizes the audience at The Tonys Theater . . . which translates to better TV.

Ok.  I get it.  Sort of.

This year?  Because of Covid . . . the shows performed FROM their theaters.  Simpler.  Safer. And I don’t know this for sure, but it had to be less expensive for most.

And I’d argue . . . the shows came off even better than they would if they performed at the Winter Garden.


The shows are on their own sets.  So the shows look like more of a spectacle.  And the audience gets to see inside the room where it happens . . . and that glimpse helps market the shows better.  

The ACTORS are on their own sets . . . and in their own theaters.  They are bound to be more comfortable . . . and therefore deliver much better performances.  Performing on the Tonys is nerve wracking enough . . . why put them on that enormous stage they may have only walked across twice?  

I could go on and on . . . 

The sound was better.  The audiences were real people and fans!  Otherwise they wouldn’t have been invited.  (Isn’t it awkward during a performance on the Tonys when the camera catches a celeb who is obviously not interested in whatever number is going on?)

So I’d argue for this experiment to become the norm.  

It’s a win, win, win.  It creates a better marketing environment for the show, a safer environment for the company, and should save hours and hours of time and logistical planning.  

The 147 pros outweigh the cons for sure.

What do you think?  Did you enjoy the performances live from their theaters more than previous years?  Or would you rather them performed from Radio City?  Comment below to let me know your thoughts.

And we’ll see what happens at the next Tonys, which are only . . . 8 months away!
Want to know what I thought about the Tonys ratings being down? Check out last week’s blog.

  • Don Browning says:

    I agree with you on both points. My one nit with the Tony Awards every year is the taped delay here on the West Coast. This year was interesting because we did see the Paramount+ Awards LIVE, but then had the three hour wait for the CBS broadcast replay. Going on a social media lock-down until 9 PM or 7 PM if they keep this years length (7 -11) is not that big a deal, but when even the “Who Cares” Music awards are broadcast live and then repeated, CBS could do the dame thing with the Tony Awards. Sorry for the rant… BTY, I am already telling my friends that my trip to NYC in January is really my cancelled June 2020 trip and I need a replacement June 2021 trip AND a June 2022 trip to be fully caught up…

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