Why the Tony Awards Producers Promise This Year’s Ceremony Will Wow You

Glenn Weiss and Ricky Kirshner, the duo who have produced and directed the Tony Awards telecast since 2003, won’t share too many specifics about the Tony ceremony coming up on Sunday. But director and executive producer Weiss will say this: “I think it’s going to be, from the very start, a really ‘wow’ kind of show,” he said.

Listen to this week’s “Stagecraft” podcast below:

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He continued, “There’s going to be moments that everyone is expecting, that they’ve seen in releases, but then maybe tied to those moments, they’ll see some unexpected ways to get in or get around those moments.”

Speaking on the new episode of “Stagecraft,” Variety’s theater podcast, Weiss and Kirshner did reveal one thing audiences could look out for: the novel way that the ceremony’s transitions between award presentations and performances will embrace theatricality. This year, instead of changing scenery behind a curtain, the transitions between scenes will occur in full view of both the audience in the house and the audience at home — not unlike the way many scene transitions occur in the theater.

“I don’t know that every viewer around the country is going to pick up on it, but we feel really good that we’re presenting theater in more of a theatrical way,” Weiss said.

Meanwhile, executive producer Kirshner shared details of how the ceremony will highlight the season’s plays — which, for a number of reasons, are typically tougher to showcase effectively than musicals are. The solution last year — when the strike blocked writers from penning a script for the ceremony — centered on thoughtful video packages about the play categories.

“Last year, we had enough time without the presenter copy to really focus on the plays,” Kirshner said. “We did a piece on best play and best revival play that a lot of people, including the play producers, were super happy with. So we’re looking at doing that better. … We’re going to once again give the plays a lot of love.”

Also on the new episode of “Stagecraft,” Weiss and Kirshner walked listeners through their backstage workflow during the annual ceremony, and Weiss speculated about why the Tonys can be so rewarding for audiences.

“Because Broadway has such a sense of community, I think some of the best acceptance speeches I’ve ever heard in my life have come on this show,” he said.

To hear the entire conversation, listen at the link above or download and subscribe to “Stagecraft” on podcast platforms including Apple PodcastsSpotify and the Broadway Podcast NetworkNew episodes of “Stagecraft” are released every other week.

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