Tony Awards returning to Radio City Music Hall in 2017

After heading uptown to the Beacon Theatre for the staging of last year’s Tony Awards, these top theater honors are returning to midtown of Manhattan and Radio City Music Hall for the upcoming 71st edition. Nominations will be announced May 2 while the ceremony will take place on June 11, broadcast once again on long-time partner CBS. Ricky Kirshner and Glenn Weiss of White Cherry Entertainment will return as executive producers and Weiss, who just picked up a DGA nomination, will also serve as director for the 18th consecutive year.

Over the first 50 years, the Tony Awards were held first in hotel ballrooms and then Broadway theaters. These kudos moved to Radio City Music Hall  in 1997 at the behest of new host Rosie O’Donnell. That venue sits smack dab in midtown and seats 5,900 (compared to the 1,500 or so in legit houses and 2,894 at the Beacon.)

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The Tonys were held at Radio City in both 1997 and 1998 but a renovation in 1999 meant a move to the Gershwin theater (currently home to “Wicked”). It came back to the Hall in 2000 and stayed put till 2011 when Cirque de Soleil bumped it as was the case in 2012 and last year.

Prior to its tenancy at Radio City, the Tonys took place in one of the larger Broadway venues. However, if it was housing a show, there was little time or space for elaborate production numbers. Instead, the Tony logo was hung from the ceiling and scaled-down versions of songs from the nominated musicals were performed live or, in some cases, taped at the original venue and aired as part of the telecast.

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Radio City allowed for a revamping of the kudocast, with the space itself becoming part of the show. Above, watch the dazzling opening number from the 2007 Tony Awards when grand slam awards champ Marvin Hamlisch led the cast of “A Chorus Line” in performing that show’s showstopper “One” both outside and inside the Hall. And watch through to the end to see the rapturous reception given to another Tony champ.


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