The Writers Guild of America has denied producers of the Tony Awards a requested strike waiver that would have allowed the broadcast to go on as scheduled June 11, Deadline has confirmed with sources close to the Tonys.
The waiver denial could prove disastrous for the Broadway productions counting on the annual CBS broadcast for the national exposure crucial to ticket sales.
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Earlier today, as Deadline reported, the Tony Awards Management Committee scheduled an emergency meeting for Monday to plot its course and contingency plans. It’s unclear if the committee was already aware that the request for a waiver had been denied.
Tony contingency plans could include a scaled-back non-televised ceremony, a simple announcement of winners or a postponement of the awards until after the strike ends.
Details about Monday’s meeting are scant and the organizations behind the Tonys – The American Theatre Wing, The Broadway League and exec producers White Cherry Entertainment – have not commented on the matter. Tony voters are set to begin casting ballots on Tuesday.
But the strike’s possible impact on this year’s Tonys, which had been set to air and stream Sunday, June 11 on CBS and Paramount+ from the United Palace in New York City’s Washington Heights, will prove huge for the city’s theater industry. Whether Ariana DeBose, who had been set to host the broadcast, would remain attached to a scaled-down, non-televised ceremony is just one of the issues producers face.
Productions such as Shucked, Kimberly Akimbo, Some Like It Hot, New York, New York, Fat Ham and Good Night, Oscar were no doubt hoping for the post-Tony box office boosts that can make or break a Broadway production. Earlier this week, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Bad Cinderella, which was shut out of the Tony nominations last week, posted a closing notice, the second Broadway production to do so after Bob Fosse’s Dancin’ .
Deadline has reached out to producers of some nominated shows and will update this post with responses, if any.
As Deadline reported Wednesday, Actors’ Equity, which represents Broadway’s actors and stage manager, joined the WGA picket lines in New York City. Equity president Kate Shindle told Deadline on Wednesday, “It’s too soon to predict whether this will impact the Tony Awards, which are extremely important to our community as we continue to rebuild. I hope that anyone and everyone who is concerned about Broadway’s biggest night of the year will pledge support for the WGA and join us in demanding that the AMPTP give their workers as much consideration as they devote to executives and shareholders.”
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