The Tony Awards 2021 guide

All of Broadway has its eyes on the 2021 Tony Awards, wondering which musicals, plays and revivals will win

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The marquee race at the Tony Awards every year year is the competition to be crowned the season's best Broadway musical. But that's just one of the prizes up for grabs at the Tony Awards, where Broadway shows are recognized for outstanding acting, writing, direction and design. Which productions will follow in the footsteps of recent winners Hamilton, Dear Evan HansenThe Band's Visit and Hadestown? With our guide to Tony Awards, you can revisit stellar moments from the history of the Tonys, find our coverage of this year's races and get prepped to watch the 2021 Tony Awards broadcast.

What are the Tony Awards?

The Tony Awards, a.k.a. the Antoinette Perry Awards for Excellence in Theatre, recognize achievement in Broadway theater. Only plays and musicals produced in one of the 41 officially recognized Broadway venues are eligible for Tony Awards. The awards are co-presented by the American Theatre Wing and the Broadway League in New York City. 

When are the 2021 Tony Awards?

The 74th Annual Tony Awards will be given out on Sunday, September 26, 2021. (They had originally been scheduled for Sunday, June 7, 2020.)

Why were the 2020 Tony Awards postponed?

The closing of all Broadway theaters on March 12 changed the 2019–20 Broadway season dramatically. The Tony Awards organization was forced to adjust in light of these unprecedented circumstances.

What period of time is covered by the 2021 Tony Awards?

The Tony Award season traditionally runs from approximately early May to late April, but in 2020 it was cut short on March 12. Only the 18 productions that opened before February 19 were deemed eligible (effectively eliminating West Side Story and Girl from the North Country from contention this year). Since Broadway was closed for more than a year after that, the 2021 Tony Awards will honor work from the 2019–2020 season. 

Where is the Tony Awards ceremony held?

The Tony Awards are usually held at Radio City Music Hall (1260 Sixth Ave at 50th St). This year, the ceremony will take place at the Winter Garden Theatre, which is empty until the revival of The Music Man begins in December.

How will the 2021 Tony Awards telecast be different from that of previous years?

The Tonys are usually broadcast live on CBS at 8pm ET. This year, however, most of the ceremony will be streamed on the subscription service Paramount+ starting at 7pm ET on September 26, 2021. At 9pm ET, CBS will broadcast a two-hour special, The Tony Awards Present: Broadway’s Back!, that will include performances from this year's three Best Musical nominees alongside selections from other musicals. The winners of this year's three major production awards—Best Musical, Best Play and Best Revival of a Play—will be announced during this CBS special. (If you don't already subscribe to Paramount+, you can try it for a week for free and then cancel it if you choose.)

When were the 2021 Tony nominations announced?

The Tonys nominating committee met to vote on this year’s nominations on October 13, 2020. The nominations were announced by actor James Monroe Iglehart on the Tony Awards YouTube channel at noon on October 15. Voting did not take place until March 1 through March 15, 2021.

Who hosts the Tony Awards?

The Tony Awards usually have a different host every year, though some popular performers (including Angela Lansbury, Hugh Jackman, Neil Patrick Harris) have hosted multiple times. The 2019 Tony Awards telecast was hosted by James Corden, who won a 2012 Tony Award for One Man, Two Guvnors. This year, six-time Tony winner Audra McDonald will host the first half of the show on Paramount+ and Hamilton's Leslie Odom Jr. will host the second portion on CBS. 

Who will perform on the Tony Awards?

All three shows nominated for Best Musical this year will perform numbers on the two-hour CBS portion of the Tonys, The Tony Awards Present: Broadway’s Back!, along with Special Tony Award winners American Utopia (with David Byrne) and Freestyle Love Supreme (with Lin-Manuel Miranda, Christopher Jackson, James Monroe Iglehart and Wayne Brady). The show will also feature a musical cast reunion of Broadway's Hairspray with Marissa Jaret Winokur, Matthew Morrison, Kerry Butler, Chester Gregory and Darlene Love.

How do I get tickets to the Tony Awards?

The event is mostly invitation-only, but extremely limited number of mezzanine tickets to the 74th Annual Tony Awards are now on sale to the general public for $1,495 per seat.

What categories are in the Tony Awards?

Tony Awards traditionally go to winners in 26 categories: Best Play, Best Musical, Best Revival of a Play, Best Revival of a Musical, Best Book of a Musical, Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre, Best Director of a Play, Best Director of a Musical, Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play, Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play, Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Play, Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play, Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical, Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical, Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical, Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical, Best Choreography, Best Orchestrations, Best Scenic Design of a Play, Best Scenic Design of a Musical, Best Costume Design of a Play, Best Costume Design of a Musical, Best Lighting Design of a Play, Best Lighting Design of a Musical, Best Sound Design of a Play and Best Sound Design of a Musical. A number of Special Tony Awards may also be awarded each year. In 2021, the category of Best Revival of a Musical has been eliminated because there were no eligible candidates.

Who is receiving Special Tony Awards at the 2021 Tony Awards?

Special Tony Awards, which recognize work outside the traditional categories, are being given to the Broadway Advocacy Coalition, David Byrne’s American Utopia and Freestyle Love Supreme. In addition, director-choreographer Graciela Daniele will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award, Actor Julie Halston will receive the Isabelle Stevenson Award, and Tony Honors for Excellence in the Theatre will be given to scenery builder Fred Gallo, press agent Irene Gandy, stage manager Beverly Jenkins and the New Federal Theatre (founded by Woodie King Jr., who retired this year).

Tony Awards 2021 coverage

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Complete predictions for the 2021 Tony Awards

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The best Tony Awards performances of all time

The best Tony numbers ever, ranked and updated

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The 2020 Tony Award nominations have been announced
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The 2020 Tony Award nominations have been announced

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The 2020 Tony Awards have been postponed

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Full list of 2019 Tony Awards winners

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