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Audra McDonald to Host 74th Tony Awards

Leslie Odom, Jr will emcee CBS’ companion special ”Broadway’s Back“ that night

Audra McDonald will host the Tony Awards this month, a show that “will honor the outstanding shows, performances and artistry of the 2019-2020 Broadway season, which was brought to a halt by the COVID-19 pandemic,” following the event’s cancellation last year, ViacomCBS revealed Monday.

The 74th annual edition of the American Theatre Wing’s Tonys will stream live at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT exclusively on Paramount+. on Sept. 26. Sister broadcast network CBS will air companion special “The Tony Awards Present: Broadway’s Back!” later that night, an event that will be hosted by Leslie Odom, Jr, per today’s announcement.

The “Broadway’s Back!” special will begin immediately after the Tonys ceremony, airing from 9-11 p.m. on CBS and on demand through Paramount+ and the CBS app on Sunday. The special will feature performances from the three Best Musical contenders, “Jagged Little Pill,” “Moulin Rouge! The Musical” and “Tina – The Tina Turner Musical,” and the live presentation of three Tony Awards, including Best Play, Best Revival of a Play and Best Musical.

The postponed 2020 Tonys were originally meant to take place last year at Radio City Music Hall to celebrate the best in a year of Broadway that has been completely shut down due to the coronavirus.

“I’m elated that the Tony Awards are back! I am so glad that we’ve found a way to gather safely to honor and recognize all the incredible work that was done in the 2019-20 season,” McDonald said. “While we look back, my greatest hope is that this event marks the beginning of a new era for Broadway – one with renewed commitment to inclusivity and belonging as well as appreciation for the sacred experience of live theater.”

“Broadway is a part of my DNA and I’m so thrilled to see it open back up again,” Odom, Jr said.  “There are so many talented artists going back to work and doing what they love for audiences who have missed these tremendous performances. I’m very happy to host ‘The Tony Awards Present: Broadway’s Back!’”

“Leslie and Audra are two extraordinary talents who have captivated audiences from the stage to the screen,” Heather Hitchens, president and CEO of the American Theatre Wing, and Charlotte St. Martin, president of The Broadway League, added in a joint statement. “As beloved members of our Broadway community, and we know that fans will look to them for inspiration, comfort and pure joy as we celebrate the 74th Annual Tony Awards, and the return to Broadway.”

“The Tony Awards Present: Broadways Back!” will be produced in collaboration with Tony Award Productions, a joint venture of The Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing, and White Cherry Entertainment, the team behind the annual Tony Awards telecast. Ricky Kirshner and Glenn Weiss are executive producers for White Cherry Entertainment. Weiss will serve as director.