The Tony Awards could end up being the next major event to be disrupted in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.
As Broadway endures an unprecedented shutdown of at least four weeks, the Tony Awards now face uncertainty regarding its eligibility and voting period. These virus-fueled changes have some insiders claiming the June 7 awards show will now be either postponed or cancelled altogether, Deadline reports.
“We are currently in discussions about the most recent recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and are prepared to follow the direction of any mandated closures from city, state, and health authorities,” the Broadway League revealed Wednesday following a new CDC guideline that calls for restricting large public gatherings for eight weeks.
Should the league comply with the recommendation, Broadway theaters will remain shuttered through mid-May. The Great White Way is currently closed through April 12 as part of a state-mandated ban of public gatherings.
Prolonged closure of productions sours the Tony Awards’ voting process and will likely disrupt the show’s current plan to take place June 7 at Radio City Music Hall. Should theater operations resume on April 13, there is only a ten-day grace period before the award eligibility cut-off. Any new musicals or plays must debut before April 23 in order to remain eligible for Tony voting. Additionally, some 800 Tony voters will have a limited window to review up to 15 shows which are up for nominations.
An extended shutdown muddies the water even further. If the Broadway League opts to keep theaters closed an additional four weeks, seemingly the only options are to come up with a new eligibility cut-off date and postpone the awards, or scrap the 2020 cycle entirely.
Broadway’s sudden shutdown impacted a handful of shows due to make their debut during this blackout period. Historical romp Six was set to open at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre on March 12, the day the ban went into effect. Other anticipated projects that now face delays include the musical adaptation of Mrs. Doubtfire and Diana, a biographical show focusing on the late Princess of Wales.
New York City has seen much of its businesses and institutions shut down in an attempt to combat the spread of COVID-19. There have been nearly 4,000 cases confirmed in the area to date.