74th Tony Awards
74th Tony Awards poster.png
Promotional poster
DateSeptember 26, 2021 (2021-09-26)
LocationWinter Garden Theatre[1]
Hosted byAudra McDonald (ceremony)
Leslie Odom Jr. (Broadway's Back!)[2]
Most awardsMoulin Rouge! (10)
Most nominationsJagged Little Pill (15)
Television/radio coverage
Runtime2 hours (ceremony)[3]
2 hours (Broadway's Back!)[3]
Viewership2.8 million (Broadway's Back!)[4]
Produced byRicky Kirshner
Glenn Weiss
Directed byGlenn Weiss
← 73rd · Tony Awards · 75th →

The 74th Tony Awards were held on September 26, 2021, to recognize achievement in Broadway productions during the 2019–20 season. After being delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic in New York City, the ceremony was held at the Winter Garden Theatre and was broadcast in two separate parts on CBS and Paramount+.[1] Audra McDonald and Leslie Odom Jr. served as hosts.

The musical Jagged Little Pill led the nominations with 15, while the play with the most nominations was Slave Play, with 12. At the ceremony, Moulin Rouge! won ten awards, including Best Musical, becoming the production with the most wins of the season. The Old Vic production of A Christmas Carol won five awards, and The Inheritance won four, including Best Play. At 90 years old, Lois Smith became the oldest performer to win a Tony Award for acting, receiving the award for Featured Actress in a Play.


Originally scheduled to be held on June 7, 2020, at Radio City Music Hall in New York City and televised by CBS, the ceremony was postponed indefinitely due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[5] Nominations were originally scheduled to be announced on April 28, 2020. Various receptions were scheduled to be held, including the Meet the Nominees Press reception (April 30) and Tony Nominees luncheon (May 19). At the Tony Honors reception, the Tony Honors for Excellence in the Theatre award was to be presented.[6] On March 25, 2020, it was announced that the ceremony and all associated events had been postponed indefinitely due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States. New York had ordered the closure of all Broadway theatres on March 12 due to restrictions on gatherings.[7] The ceremony's broadcaster CBS aired a sing-along version of the film adaptation of Grease on the Tony Awards' originally-scheduled night.[8][9]

On August 21, 2020, it was announced that the ceremony would be held virtually later in the year, with further details to be announced at a later date.[5] No subsequent date in the year was ever set. The nominations were announced on October 15, 2020, by James Monroe Iglehart.[10][11][12] Voting for the Tony Awards was held from March 1–15, 2021, and the ceremony was announced to be held in conjunction with the reopening of Broadway.[13] Jagged Little Pill led the nominations with fifteen, and Slave Play's twelve nominations broke the record for most nominations for a non-musical play (11) set by Angels in America at the 2018 ceremony.[14]

Ceremony information

On May 26, 2021, it was announced that the ceremony would be held on September 26 of that year in a format that differed from previous years. Paramount+ first streamed a two-hour ceremony at 7:00 p.m. ET with presentations of the awards for individual categories. CBS then aired a two-hour primetime special, The Tony Awards Present: Broadway's Back!, presented as a concert to "celebrate the joy and magic of live theatre". The special included performances of "beloved classics" and the three Best Musical nominees, and the presentation of the awards for Best Musical, Best Revival of a Play, and Best Play.[15][16] On September 13, Audra McDonald and Leslie Odom Jr. were announced as hosts of the Tony Awards ceremony and Broadway's Back! special respectively.[2]

In explaining the decision to split the ceremony between two platforms, producers Ricky Kirshner and Glenn Weiss said that allowed for a four-hour ceremony in total, as opposed to the typical three-hour limit imposed on a television-exclusive broadcast. Kirshner said that this also gave the chance to air complete acceptance speeches for winners in all categories, saying "In the past, a lot of these awards have been in a pre-show where they got a 10 second blurb on the air. Now they get their full award on the air."[17]



The official eligibility cut-off date for Broadway productions opening in the 2019–20 season was originally to have been April 23, 2020.[21][22][23] As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic cutting the 2019–20 theatre season short, on August 21, 2020, it was announced that only the 18 shows that opened before February 19, 2020, would be considered eligible.[24][25] A revival of West Side Story that opened February 20, 2020 and the new musical Girl from the North Country, which opened March 5, 2020, were thus not considered eligible because too few nominators and voters saw them before Broadway shut down on March 12, 2020.[24] Girl From the North Country was nominated the following year.

Non-competitive awards

Special Tony Awards were given to the following:[26]

The award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre was given to Graciela Daniele.[27] Julie Halston received the Isabelle Stevenson Award.[28]

Winners and nominees

Winners are listed first, and are highlighted in boldface:[29]

Best Play Best Musical
Best Revival of a Play Best Book 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 Leading Actor in a Musical Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical
Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Play Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play
Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical
Best Direction of a Play Best Direction of a Musical
Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics Written for the Theatre) Best Choreography
Best Scenic Design in a Play Best Scenic Design in a Musical
Best Costume Design in a Play Best Costume Design in a Musical
Best Lighting Design in a Play Best Lighting Design in a Musical
Best Sound Design of a Play Best Sound Design of a Musical
Best Orchestrations

‡ The award is presented to the producer(s) of the musical or play.

Nominations and awards per production

Production Nominations Awards
Jagged Little Pill 15 2
Moulin Rouge! 14 10
Slave Play 12 0
Tina 12 1
The Inheritance 11 4
A Soldier's Play 7 2
The Sound Inside 6 1
A Christmas Carol 5 5
Betrayal 4 0
Sea Wall/A Life 4 0
Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune 2 0
Grand Horizons 2 0
Linda Vista 2 0
The Rose Tattoo 2 0
My Name is Lucy Barton 1 0
Freestyle Love Supreme 0 1
David Byrne's American Utopia 0 1


Critical reviews

Greg Evans of Deadline Hollywood called the show "truly excellent television", and praised the two-part format, writing "The no-nonsense presentation of award announcements and acceptance speeches was followed by a lively special that impressively showcased contemporary Broadway musicals on their home turfs and classic reunions that felt fresh and welcome." However, he criticized the program's emphasis on musicals, commenting, "the non-musical plays got unforgivably short shrift."[30] In Variety, Clayton Davis praised it as "a sensational awards ceremony" and described the show as "a near flawless and detailed blueprint on how [other awards ceremonies] should assemble their future ceremonies to bring forth an inviting place for people of all backgrounds, and an impeccable pace to keep your attention." He also commended the show's tone, concluding, "The Tonys were pure, not shy about the times we were in — and they sent a signal of hope for our futures."[3]

Conversely, however, Tim Teeman of The Daily Beast dismissed the Broadway's Back! portion of the show as "a purely commercial exercise based on telling people who kind of like theater that Broadway was back, and needs their financial support" and accused the ceremony at large of sending "mixed messages" about its industry, contrasting calls for diversity from winners and presenters with Slave Play, a work which addresses racism as a central theme, failing to win a single award. He also criticized the decision to present the vast majority of awards on the Paramount+ livestream, instead of on the CBS telecast, writing "A Tonys-themed song and dance show may suit ratings-counters at the network [...] But if you're going to show an awards show, show an awards show."[31]


The Broadway's Back! special received 2.8 million viewers during its CBS telecast, an approximate 50% decline in viewership from the 73rd Tony Awards in 2019. Rick Porter of The Hollywood Reporter said that the loss may have been attributable to certain mitigating factors, such as most awards being handed out during the Paramount+ portion of the program, and the ceremony taking place in September, as opposed to its usual June date, putting it in conflict with the fall television season.[4]

See also


  1. ^ a b Alexa Criscitiello (August 11, 2021). "74th Annual Tony Awards to Be Held Live at the Winter Garden Theatre". BroadwayWorld. Retrieved August 11, 2021.
  2. ^ a b Greg Evans (September 13, 2021). "Tony Awards Names Hosts Of Sept. 26 Ceremony & Special Concert Celebration". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved September 13, 2021.
  3. ^ a b c Davis, Clayton (September 27, 2021). "Tonys Review: Broadway's Back (Finally!) With a Pitch Perfect, Inclusive Celebration of Theater". Variety. Retrieved September 27, 2021.
  4. ^ a b Porter, Rick (September 27, 2021). "TV Ratings: CBS' 'Broadway's Back' Tony Awards Special Struggles". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved September 27, 2021.
  5. ^ a b Patrick Hipes (October 8, 2020). "Tony Awards Nominations Coming Next Week". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved October 8, 2020.
  6. ^ Andrew Gans (February 18, 2020). "Tony Awards Reveal 2020 Calendar of Events". Playbill. Retrieved March 25, 2020.
  7. ^ Ryan McPhee (March 25, 2020). "2020 Tony Awards Put on Hold as Coronavirus Pandemic Causes Broadway Shutdown". Playbill. Retrieved March 25, 2020.
  8. ^ Nellie Andreeva (May 14, 2020). "CBS Adds Grease Sing-A-Long To Its Sunday Night Movies Schedule; Watch The Trailer – Update". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved July 16, 2020.
  9. ^ Joey Nolfi (May 15, 2020). "Grease singalong to replace Tony Awards broadcast on CBS". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved May 15, 2020.
  10. ^ "The 74th Annual Tony Awards Nominations to Be Announced on Thursday, October 15th". Tony Awards. October 8, 2020. Retrieved October 8, 2020.
  11. ^ Ryan McPhee (August 21, 2020). "The 2020 Tony Awards to Be Held Digitally This Fall". Playbill. Retrieved August 21, 2020.
  12. ^ Patrick Hipes (August 21, 2020). "Tony Awards Will Go Virtual In Fall; No Date Set Yet". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved August 21, 2020.
  13. ^ Ryan McPhee (January 29, 2021). "Tony Awards Voting Will Begin in March, Though Still No Date for Ceremony". Playbill. Retrieved June 22, 2021.
  14. ^ Buchanan, David (October 15, 2020). "'Slave Play' breaks Tony nominations record for a play with a staggering 12 bids". Gold Derby. Retrieved September 27, 2021.
  15. ^ Greg Evans (May 26, 2021). "Tony Awards Sets Date To Stream On Paramount+ Followed By Two-Hour Concert Event On CBS". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved May 26, 2021.
  16. ^ ""The Tony Awards(R) Present: Broadway's Back!" A Multi-Platform Celebration of the Best of Broadway, Sunday, Sept. 26 on CBS and Paramount+" (Press release). CBS. May 26, 2021. Retrieved May 27, 2021 – via The Futon Critic.
  17. ^ a b Schneider, Michael (September 24, 2021). "As CBS and Paramount Plus Expand and Split This Year's Tony Awards, Execs and Producers Explain Why". Variety. Retrieved September 27, 2021.
  18. ^ a b Meyer, Dan; Culwell-Block, Logan (September 27, 2021). "9 Memorable Moments From the 74th Annual Tony Awards Celebration". Playbill. Retrieved September 27, 2021.
  19. ^ Delbyck, Cole (September 26, 2021). "Jennifer Holliday Brings Tonys To Its Feet With Powerhouse 'Dreamgirls' Performance". HuffPost. Retrieved September 27, 2021.
  20. ^ "Watch All of the Performances From THE TONY AWARDS PRESENT: BROADWAY'S BACK!". Broadway World. September 26, 2021. Retrieved September 27, 2021.
  21. ^ "Date Set for 2020 Tony Awards – June 7 on CBS". Tony Awards. September 19, 2019. Retrieved March 25, 2020.
  22. ^ "Tony Awards Eligibility for 2020 – Part 1". Tony Awards. October 24, 2019. Retrieved March 25, 2020.
  23. ^ "Tony Awards Eligibility for 2020 – Part 2". Tony Awards. January 30, 2020. Retrieved March 25, 2020.
  24. ^ a b Michael Paulson (August 21, 2020). "Tony Awards Ceremony Will Go Ahead, Online". The New York Times. Retrieved August 23, 2020.
  25. ^ Greg Evans (August 28, 2020). "Tony Awards Committee Confirms 18 Broadway Productions Eligible For 2020 Nominations". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved August 15, 2021.
  26. ^ Ryan McPhee (June 22, 2021). "Special Tony Award Honors Will Go to Broadway Advocacy Coalition, American Utopia, Freestyle Love Supreme". Playbill. Retrieved June 22, 2021.
  27. ^ Andrew Gans (July 29, 2021). "Graciela Daniele to Receive Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre". Playbill. Retrieved July 30, 2021.
  28. ^ Andrew Gans (July 28, 2021). "Julie Halston to Receive 2020 Isabelle Stevenson Tony Award". Playbill. Retrieved July 30, 2021.
  29. ^ Garvey, Marianne (September 26, 2021). "See who won at the Tony Awards". CNN. Retrieved September 27, 2021.
  30. ^ Evans, Greg (September 27, 2021). "Tony Awards Review: Broadway Teaches TV A Lesson With Livestream-Broadcast Hybrid". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved September 27, 2021.
  31. ^ Teeman, Tim (September 27, 2021). "The Tony Awards Was a Night of Extremely Mixed Messages About Broadway". The Daily Beast. Retrieved September 27, 2021.