The Tony Awards have set dates and switched venues for their 2016 edition, returning to the Beacon Theater on Manhattan’s Upper West Side for a ceremony that will air live on CBS June 12. Nominations will be announced May 3.
The Tonys, the Broadway industry’s highest honors, previously played the Beacon in 2011 and 2012, when the Tonys’ longtime home, Radio City Music Hall, was booked with the summer run of a Cirque du Soleil show. Since then the Tonys have played the last three years back in Radio City, but this year must move again because of the upcoming summer run of the retooled Rockettes show produced by Harvey Weinstein, “Rockettes New York Spectacular.”
Compared to Radio City, the Beacon has both advantages and disadvantages. The stage at the Beacon more closely matches the size of Broadway theaters, which can help make the ceremony’s transplanted musical numbers look good there — and looking good on television is a prime concern, given that most Broadway producers consider a segment on the Tony telecast to be one of Broadway’s top marketing opportunities.
On the other hand, the Beacon seats about half as many people as the 6,000-seat Radio City, which cuts down on ticket allotments both for theater constituencies and for purchase by the general public.
Once again, the Tony ceremony will be executive produced by Ricky Kirshner and Glenn Weiss, who’ve spearheaded the telecast since 2003 (and won multiple Emmys for their work).
Not even halfway through the 2015-16 season, Broadway’s awards race is only just starting to shape up. Everyone’s certain that buzzy box office smash “Hamilton” will be a major player, but it remains to be seen which projects will rise to challenge it.
The eligibility cutoff for the 2016 Tonys is April 28.