Monday, July 22, 2024

Broadway in a Muddle as NBC Wants to Do a Special Highlighting Shows, Tony Awards Plan a Digital Celebration


Broadway is in a muddle, and no one seems to know what’s going on.

Today the Broadway League announced they were planning a digital Tony Awards for sometime this fall. This may be news to CBS, which broadcasts the Tonys in June but couldn’t this year since there was no season.

Is this going to be on Zoom? And who is nominated? From what shows? We never had a real season. Many shows never opened. A few did, and then closed with all the others. The group of shows and people who were eligible was pretty slim. Of them all, I’d say the biggest calamity was not getting to see Adrienne Warren pick up a Tony for the Tina Turner musical.

Maybe the Broadway League announcement was a panicked response to the previous day’s story that NBC wants to do a special in the fall highlighting Broadway shows. They don’t know which ones, and so far no one wants to do it. It wouldn’t be easy to produce since all the shows are in storage and the theaters are closed, and the casts are all social distancing.

Meantime, the theater district and the Broadway world are losing hundreds of millions of dollars. Some shows– as I’ve reported — have announced opening dates for March and April. A couple have said they’ll go for May 2021. But Broadway houses are 95% very cramped with seating. People are on top of each other. Coughing throughout shows is typical. And you can’t reduce the number of seats. It’s not financially possible. You also can’t put plastic dividers between each seat and row. So no one wants a vaccine more than the Broadway community, and one you can get at intermission with Twizzlers and cheap wine!

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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