Tony Awards Move Back to Radio City Music Hall, Set 2017 Dates

Tony Awards
Courtesy of Tony Awards

The Tony Awards are moving back to Radio City Music Hall, returning to the venue after being held last year at the Beacon Theater on the Upper West Side.

Organizers of the Tonys Awards have also announced this year’s timeline, following the usual annual rhythm with the eligibility cutoff now officially set for April 27 (currently the opening night of new play “A Doll’s House, Part 2”), followed by the announcement of nominations on the following Tuesday (May 2). The ceremony lands on the calendar about six weeks later, on June 11.

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The Tony ceremony was displaced from Radio City in 2016 by the summer run of Radio City’s “New York Spectacular,” the Rockettes show that’s aiming to become the warm-weather equivalent of the venue’s long-running “Christmas Spectacular.” That production will be back again this year, but it’ll begin performances later than last year (June 30, as opposed to June 15 in 2016), thereby allowing the Tonys to have the stage for the June 11 ceremony.

Radio City has hosted the Tonys almost every year since 1997. The theater industry’s biggest night moved to the Beacon from 2013 to 2015, when Cirque du Soleil show “Zarkana” played summer runs at Radio City; prior to that, the 1999 Tonys played the Gershwin Theater, the current home of “Wicked,” while Radio City was undergoing renovations.

With about 6,000 seats, Radio City can accommodate more than twice the crowd than the 2,900-seat Beacon. That’s seen as a significant advantage in the industry, although some feel Broadway performance segments look better on the stage of the Beacon, which is much closer to the size of a typical Broadway house than the vast Radio City stage.

With more than 20 shows still to open before April 27, this year’s Tony races are still shaping up. But among musicals, “Dear Evan Hansen” and “Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812” look like contenders, as do upcoming offerings “Groundhog Day” and “War Paint,” among a few others, while a robust field of new plays includes well-reviewed Off Broadway successes like “Sweat” and “Oslo,” also likely to do well come awards season.

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