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Review Roundup: The 74th Annual Tony Awards; What Are the Critics Saying?

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See what the the critics thought of the long-awaited return of the Tony Awards!

Review Roundup: The 74th Annual Tony Awards; What Are the Critics Saying?

Last night, the American Theatre Wing's 74th Tony Awards aired from the Winter Garden Theatre. See what the critics thought of the long-awaited ceremony below!

Click here for the full list of winners.

After two and a half years without Broadway's biggest night, the Tony Awards finally made their return! This year's presentation honored the outstanding shows, performances and artistry of the 2019-2020 Broadway season, which was brought to a halt by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The ceremony was presented in two parts. First, Audra McDonald hosted the American Theatre Wing's 74th Annual Tony Awards, revealing winners in all but three categories. Then, Leslie Odom, Jr. hosted The Tony Awards Present: Broadway's Back!, a special featuring performances and the live presentation of three Tony Awards, including Best Play, Best Revival of a Play and Best Musical.

Let's see what the critics are saying!


Clayton David, Variety: "It took a near extinction of our beloved Broadway not only to have us appreciate the value of live theater but to provide its other three prestigious counterparts in the entertainment space - Oscars, Emmys and Grammys - a near flawless and detailed blueprint on how they should assemble their future ceremonies to bring forth an inviting place for people of all backgrounds, and an impeccable pace to keep your attention."

Greg Evans, Deadline: "Splitting the traditional three hours into four and somehow coming up with the right math, Tony organizers, Paramount+ and CBS presented a two-hour livestreamed 74th Annual Tony Awards and, immediately following, the two-hour broadcast concert special The Tony Awards Present: Broadway's Back!. The approach worked remarkably well. 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."

Charles McNulty, Los Angeles Times: "But this reunion of the Broadway community jogged the memory of what we've been missing these last 18 months - virtuosity and emotional courage made flesh. (Thunderously bringing the lesson home, Jennifer Holliday performed "And I Am Telling You," her showstopper from "Dreamgirls," and basically poleaxed the room.)"

Tim Teeman, The Daily Beast: "The primetime network show was a purely commercial exercise based on telling people who kind of like theater that Broadway was back, and needs their financial support. Hopefully this set off the synapse in their brains to make a new set of credit card bookings. But the mission to fill theaters is nationwide. This should encompass Broadway, off Broadway, off-off Broadway, and hundreds of miles away from Broadway. But the Tonys and Broadway take up so much of the oxygen. Yes, Broadway needs the money, but it already commands a lot of the money people spend on going to the theater."

Tyler Aquilina, Entertainment Weekly: "The show closed (well, almost) with three emotionally charged duets reuniting past Broadway costars, starting with Wicked's Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth, who performed the blockbuster musical's touching farewell tune "For Good." They were followed by original Rent stars Adam Pascal and Anthony Rapp, who sang "What You Own"; and Brian Stokes Mitchell and ceremony co-host Audra McDonald, who performed Ragtime's powerful number "Wheels of a Dream." No dis to Freestyle Love Supreme, who actually closed out the show with a rap number recapping the ceremony, but this was the perfect way to end a night celebrating the return of Broadway."

Jesse Green, Stella Bugbee, Maya Salam, Sarah Bahr and Nancy Coleman, New York Times: "The successful first half of the double broadcast fooled me into thinking the show's writers and producers had at last seen the error of their past ways. There were no cute introductions, no fake patter, no pyrotechnical chyron curlicues, just sincerity, warmth and professionalism, modeled by Audra McDonald as the host. Then the second half arrived, reneging on the promise of the first. By the time its host, Leslie Odom, Jr., engaged Josh Groban in a hoary comedy bit ... you knew that the show had turned its back on the intelligence of theater it was meant to honor."

Nell Clark, NPR: "The award show signaled that across Broadway, theatre marquees are being relit after an almost 18 month hiatus forced by the coronavirus pandemic."

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