Leslie Odom Jr. and Audra McDonald will split emceeing duties for the Tony Awards and the special celebration of all things Broadway that will accompany the annual handing out of statues. The four-hour event is being broadcast across multiple platforms.
Odom will host “The Tony Awards Present: Broadway’s Back,” a special that will air on CBS on Sept. 26 from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. and which will feature a live concert event featuring theater stars reuniting on stage to perform beloved classics. The event will also feature special performances from the three Tony-nominated best musical contenders, a group that includes “Jagged Little Pill,” “Moulin Rouge! The Musical” and “Tina – The Tina Turner Musical.” It will be followed by the live presentation of three Tony Awards, including best play, best revival of a play and best musical.
McDonald will anchor the live presentation of the bulk of the Tony Awards, including the prizes for the top acting categories. That will air earlier in the evening, live at 7 p.m. and will stream exclusively on Paramount Plus.
“Broadway is a part of my DNA and I’m so thrilled to see it open back up again,” said Odom. “There are so many talented artists going back to work and doing what they love for audiences who have missed these tremendous performances.”
The event is being held as theaters in New York are reopening. New Broadway shows such as “Pass Over” have started performances and venerable mainstays like “Hamilton” and “Wicked” will resume this week. COVID-19 closed Broadway theaters in March 2020.
“I’m elated that the Tony Awards are back! I am so glad that we’ve found a way to gather safely to honor and recognize all the incredible work that was done in the 2019-20 season,” said McDonald. “While we look back, my greatest hope is that this event marks the beginning of a new era for Broadway — one with renewed commitment to inclusivity and belonging as well as appreciation for the sacred experience of live theater.”
Odom won a Tony Award for his performance in “Hamilton” and was nominated for two Academy Award for his performance in “One Night in Miami…” and for his work on an original song for the movie “Speak Now.” He will next star in David Chase’s “Sopranos” prequel “Many Saints of Newark.”
McDonald is the winner of a record-breaking six Tony Awards, as well as two Grammy Awards and an Emmy. She has appeared on stage in the likes of “Carousel,” “Master Class,” “Ragtime,” “A Raisin in the Sun,” The Gershwins’ “Porgy and Bess” and “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill.”