The list of major events canceled or postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic keeps getting longer; first it was this year’s NBA season, then the Olympics, and now it’s this year’s Tony Awards, which were scheduled for June 7.
It’s not a total surprise that the theater awards show has been postponed; after all, Broadway has been dark for weeks in a shutdown that is scheduled to last at least until April 12. Still, the postponement is a loss for the theater community, though a necessary one. “The health and safety of the Broadway community, artists and fans is of the utmost importance to us,” The Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing said in a statement.
COVID-19 has already had a devastating effect on Broadway, with thousands losing their jobs. Producers have agreed to pay hundreds of theater employees for the first few weeks of the shutdown, although it’s unclear what will happen after that.
Two plays—Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and Hangmen—closed before they even opened, and other shows that had already opened, such as Company and Diana, have had their openings postponed to undisclosed dates in the future. Some shows, though, have already made plans to return, albeit distant ones; the Roundabout Theatre Company announced today that its production of Caroline, or Change would return in the fall.
The Tonys aren’t the only awards show to be delayed as a result of COVID-19; Britain’s Olivier Awards, the CFDA Awards, and The Cannes Film Festival have also been postponed to unspecified later dates.