The 2020 Tony Awards, which recognize the best of Broadway theater, are now officially postponed. Although the awards were originally scheduled to be held June 7 in New York City, a statement distributed by the Tonys’ publicity firm Slate PR said the awards will be rescheduled at a later date in coordination with CBS, which traditionally broadcasts them.
“The health and safety of the Broadway community, artists and fans is of the utmost importance to us,” the statement continues. “We will announce new dates and additional information once Broadway opens again. We are looking forward to celebrating Broadway and our industry when it is safe to do so.”
Broadway theaters shut down on March 12 after New York Governor Andrew Cuomo enacted a restriction prohibiting gatherings of 500 or more people due to the Covid-19 pandemic. It was an unprecedented move for New York’s theater district, which tends to demand that the show go on no matter what else might be happening in the city. After 9/11, New York theaters only closed their doors for two nights, and during the 1918 Spanish flu epidemic, Broadway stayed open.
As Soraya McDonald wrote for the Undefeated, the last time theaters shut down in the face of a quarantine might very well have been that time the Black Death forced Shakespeare to stay inside and write King Lear. But now, as coronavirus rewrites the world, Broadway is staying dark, and the Tonys are on hold.