Every year around this time, members and fans of the Broadway community look forward to seeing the hottest Broadway shows in town get their due at the annual Tony Awards.
But due to the pandemic, the lights of Broadway have been dimmed and the theatrical awards ceremony that was expected to air on June 7 has been postponed and most likely canceled.
To fill the spot vacated by the 73rd annual Tony Awards, CBS came up with a not-so-dazzling solution to replace the ceremony: a sing-a-long version of the 1978 film, Grease.
Can you imagine reading this headline six months ago? Bizarro world is bizarre. Broadway pros fuming after CBS re… https://t.co/YwLAPR0OjS— Ilana Keller (@Ilana Keller)1589675677.0
Theater fans fumed over the announcement and unanimously expressed that Grease – the movie musical starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John – is not the one that they want.
Also can’t believe they’re replacing the Tonys with a Grease singalong. The biggest night of the year for live thea… https://t.co/QayXCmy9Pv— Izzy (@Izzy)1589722491.0
Broadway fans and stars alike took to Twitter to admonish CBS's decision.
Gideon Glick – who was nominated for Best Featured Actor in a Play for last year's To Kill a Mockingbird – tweeted:
"I'm certain there are a million gays out there who could help you curate a greatest hits of the Tony Awards to air instead!"
.@CBS, I’m certain there are a million gays out there who could help you curate a greatest hits of the Tony Awards to air instead!— Gideon Glick (@Gideon Glick)1589586685.0
Patti Murin – who played Anna in the recently cancelled Broadway production of Frozen – took to Twitter and suggested why Grease isn't the word.
"Not like, a retrospective of past great Tony performances and speeches and moments? Or something highlighting the amazing work that people in theatre do for their community? Or literally anything other than this?"
Not like, a retrospective of past great Tony performances and speeches and moments? Or something highlighting the a… https://t.co/lrRaSu07AG— Patti Murin (@Patti Murin)1589558065.0
Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda had no words for the move—just a telling picture of Michael Jordan giving some serious side eye.
https://t.co/0lVxB4qVLA https://t.co/BTsYOLkVFZ— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin-Manuel Miranda)1589571510.0
Alternate options continued pouring in to replace the controversial Tony replacement.
idea: instead of CBS doing a Grease sing-along on June 7th, they instead put up an online poll where we vote for th… https://t.co/cREw2qibmr— anna (@anna)1589588732.0
not a Tonys alternative: the Grease film an actual Tonys alternative: promotional material for the shows that plan… https://t.co/KlFbhjg9Gh— thomas, now with 100% more california (@thomas, now with 100% more california)1589559532.0
I don't mean to be too snarky about it, but CBS has been a wonderful home for the Tony Awards and it would just be… https://t.co/gT1pSHk4L3— Marc (@Marc)1589589708.0
Ok I have the solution. The night of the tonys send Adrienne Warren to the empty and sanitized Lunt Fontanne theat… https://t.co/KnosNCVfQS— fat jon boyega (@fat jon boyega)1589574000.0
Others, like actor Andy Mientus from NBC's Smash, gave in to humor, asking:
"Why is this hysterical to me."
Why is this hysterical to me https://t.co/zzfVPYDoit— Andy Mientus (@Andy Mientus)1589557930.0
Mientus offered a comparison between Grease and the Tonys.
@TyroneHuntley Theater People: Theater has endured since antiquity, across the globe, because of its power to refle… https://t.co/zLDfS0NMv1— Andy Mientus (@Andy Mientus)1589559831.0
Dear Evan Hansen co-creator Benj Pasek insisted there are no substitutes when it comes to the coveted awards show.
Danny can never replace Tony. https://t.co/eHyykQqdWa— Benj Pasek (@Benj Pasek)1589588031.0
On March 12, Gov. Andrew Cuomo mandated that public gatherings of over 500 people in New York City will be prohibited in an effort to flatten the curve, and Insiders are already speculating the closure could extend through the winter.
This year's Tony contenders like – Plaza Suite, Mrs. Doubtfire and The Lehman Trilogy – never made it opening night.
Maybe there are worse things CBS could do, but the cancellation of the Tonys still feels like it's raining on prom night.