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Hugh Jackman and Sutton Foster in The Music Man
Photograph: Courtesy Julieta CervantesThe Music Man

How to watch the 2022 Tony Awards

Five things to know about watching the 2022 Tony Awards online and on TV

Adam Feldman
Written by
Adam Feldman

Broadway's sometimes unsteady, often inspiring 2021–22 comeback season comes to an official end on Sunday, June 12, when the 2022 Tony Awards are handed out at Radio City Music Hall. The nominations have been made, the reactions have been had, the predictions have been lodged. Now there's nothing left but the awarding—and, of course, the singing and dancing.

In addition to performances by eight of this year's musical contenders—A Strange Loop, Company, Girl From the North Country, MJ, Mr. Saturday Night, The Music Man, Paradise Square and Six—the evening will feature musical turns by Bernadette Peters, Billy Porter, the New York City Gay Men’s Chorus and the original cast of Spring Awakening. Ariana DeBose will host the main part of the event, which will be broadcast nationally on CBS. 

Here are five tips for watching the Tony Awards this year.

1. For the first time, the Tony Awards will air live from coast to coast

Theater is all about the thrill of the live moment, but in past years viewers who weren't in the Eastern Time Zone watched the Tony telecast hours after happened. In the age of social media, that delay has seemed increasingly old-fashioned. So this year, CBS will be broadcasting the three-hour main portion of the awards ceremony live and simultaneously from coast to coast: 8pm ET, 7pm CT, 6pm MT and 5pm PT. (If you're recording it on DVR to watch later, remember that the telecast sometimes runs long.)

2. The Tonys will be in two parts—and the first hour will not be on CBS

As has been the case in recent decades, not all of the 26 races will be included in the televised portion of the Tony ceremony. This year, 11 prizes will be handed out in the hour before the CBS telecast begins, including all eight design awards and those for score, choreography and orchestrations. This practice always engenders a certain amount of grumbling from Broadway superfans who consider it a slight to the categories in question. In fact, though, this division is what has permitted the existence of most of those categories to begin with: Back when the telecast included every award, there were only three categories for design or orchestrations; now there are nine of them. 

3. …But you can stream the first hour on Paramount+ (and you should!)

That first section of the Tony ceremony, titled "Act One" and hosted by Darren Criss and Julianne Hough, will be streamed live on Paramount+. If you don't subscribe to that service, which is also home to RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars, you may be able to get a free one-week trial subscription. (To be on the safe side, set the whole thing up a day in advance to avoid any potential snags with your order.) This first hour of the telecast won't include performances from this year's nominated musicals, but there are sure to be some moments we wouldn't want to miss, including when 96-year-old Tony Awards royalty Angela Lansbury—a five-time winner and frequent past host—receives her award for lifetime achievement. And if you subscribe to the premium tier of Paramount+, you won't need to switch to broadcast TV; the service will stream the CBS portion live as well. (The lower-cost Limited Commercials tier does not include this option.)

4. Watch it in a group if you can

Theater, even theater on TV or a streaming service, is best experienced as part of a crowd. Host a viewing party with friends so you can participate in the collective experience, or find a venue near you that is hosting a Tonys-themed event. In New York City, the talented and sexy Skivvies are throwing a Tonys-watching party at the Joe's Pub, the ebullient Ben Cameron is leading one at midtown's Green Room 42 and Broadway Makers Marketplace is hosting one at the Turnstile Underground Market at Columbus Circle. 

5. Follow along on social media 

If you can't be part of an in-person audience, you can still be part of a virtual one. Theater Twitter goes nuts on Tony night, and tracking the community's reactions in real-time—the joy, the pain, the snark—can be part of the fun of the night. I'll be live-tweeting throughout the show from my own Twitter account as well as from Time Out New York's main account. Join the party!

RECOMMENDED: The 35 best Tony Awards performances of all time

A Strange Loop
Photograph: Courtesy Marc J. FranklinA Strange Loop

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