Like live theater itself, the Tony Awards has had ample opportunity of late to accustom itself to curve balls, upsets and all sorts of real-world intrusions onto Broadway’s rarified and beloved stages. Forget Covid – well, actually, don’t forget Covid, it’s still here one way or another – this year’s big potential disruption came with the WGA strike against the AMPTP.
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Though for a brief moment it seemed the Tony Awards might be canceled this year, an agreement was reached: WGA strikers and sympathetic members of other unions would not picket the the 76th Annual Tony Awards at the United Palace theater in New York City’s Washington Heights, allowing the show to proceed live live tonight at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on CBS and streaming/on demand on Paramount+.
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Same is true for the live, 90-minute pre-show, The Tony Awards: Act One, hosted by Julianne Hough and Skylar Astin, beginning at 6:30 p.m. ET/3:30 p.m. PT tonight, available for free on Pluto TV via smart TVs, streaming devices, mobile apps and online by going to Pluto TV and clicking on the “Pluto TV Celebrity” channel. No payment, registration or sign-in is required.
One caveat though (or maybe two, depending on how you look at it): WGA writers were not permitted to lift a pen for the show, meaning no pre-written interstitial bits, no pre-written musical number introductions or jokes or new musical numbers specially written for the show. The performances will come entirely from the nominated Broadway shows, plus maybe a few others included from Broadway offerings from years past (Funny Girl, with Lea Michele, has already been announced as a performer). Also: the WGA has asked its members not to attend the ceremony: Winning playwrights, if they belong to the WGA, can pre-tape an acceptance speech or have someone else pick up the award.
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