The 71st Annual Tony Awards airs on CBS on June 11, 2017, at 8/7c.
Every year I have a hard time finding people to watch the Tony Awards with my husband and me. For those living under a rock or not a former theater kid, the Tony Awards are basically the Academy Awards of Broadway theater. Every year the best in plays and musicals are honored and celebrated in a live televised event, giving the average Jane a glimpse of the glory that is the performing arts right in their living room. It’s exhilarating. It’s joyous. It’s entertaining. Haven’t sold you yet? Here are the top reasons you should be watching the Tonys:
Celebrate the arts, dang it!
It is undeniable that the arts help make our society great. They both reflect and craft culture. Regardless of your political persuasion, you can always get something out of a theatrical performance. The Tony Awards showcases lots of talented dancers, singers, actors, costume designers, writers, directors, and more. Without art, humanity would be pretty boring and a whole lot less innovative. So take the time to celebrate it!
There are celebrities…
I often use this argument for my non-theater friends. For me, nearly everyone on stage at the Tonys is a celebrity. But for those with a less niché palate, you can often see plenty of famous movie stars and musicians take the stage to present or receive awards.
The live performances, baby!
Most of the time I have to live vicariously through YouTube videos and original cast albums to get even a snippet of what a show is like. And that’s just for musicals – it’s even harder to get details on Broadway plays! The Tony Awards let you see some truly ground-breaking performances from actors who live their roles every single day.
The energy is palpable.
Last year, a friend of mine watched the Tonys for the first time. Her response was simple: it was the happiest place on TV. The energy and excitement of everyone in the room are beyond anything you’ll see at a typical awards show. The Broadway community is truly something to behold – everyone is one big family.
You get a preview of the movies of the future.
Okay, maybe you don’t see a lot of stage shows. But if you like movies or movie musicals, watching the Tonys is like a giant trailer for the ones you’ll see in the future. Since musical movies are expensive to make, producers consider using an already popular show less of a risk. For example, Hairspray, Les Miserables, Grease, Chicago, and Phantom of the Opera all started as Broadway shows before showing up on the big screen. Plays also get the Hollywood treatment. Denzel Washington (see the point on celebrities) recently brought Fences to the screen after previously starring in and winning a Tony for the leading role.
You get a preview of the movie stars of the future.
Many movie stars got their start on the Great White Way. Julie Andrews. Dick Van Dyke. Sarah Jessica Parker. Lea Michelle. Hugh Jackman. Anna Kendrick. If you keep an eye on the Broadway scene for long enough, you get to see people’s careers skyrocket. I remember watching Eddie Redmayne win a Tony for Best Actor before anyone knew him as a movie actor. It’s like following an athlete from his high school days to the big leagues.