Tony Awards ceremony moving to New York’s Beacon Theatre


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Thanks to a new Cirque du Soleil production that will be taking over Radio City Music Hall this summer, the organizers of the Tony Awards have spent the last several months braving the New York real estate market in search of a home for its 2011 ceremony.

After much speculation, the American Theatre Wing announced Wednesday that the June 12 ceremony will take place at the Beacon Theatre, one of the city’s most beautiful theatrical venues but much smaller than Radio City.


Located on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, at the corner of Broadway and 74th Street, the Beacon is a popular venue for rock events -- the Rolling Stones have performed there a number of times, including a concert featured in Martin Scorsese’s ‘Shine a Light’ documentary. It has also served as a venue for theatrical and other stage productions.

The Beacon has close to 2,900 seats; Radio City’s capacity is more than 5,900. That means that tickets to the Tony ceremony -- now in its 65th year -- will become an even rarer commodity.

The American Theatre Wing said the ceremony, as in past years, will be broadcast live on CBS with a delay for the West Coast. This is the first time that the ceremony has taken place at the Beacon.

Cirque’s ‘Zarkana’ will begin performances at Radio City on June 9. The new spectacle is expected to have a limited run through the beginning of September.

Over the last few months, there had been speculation that the ceremony would move to the United Palace Theater, located in the Washington Heights neighborhood, near Broadway and 175th Street. But some thought the venue was too far uptown for the Broadway crowd. Because of the rehearsal time required for the Tony ceremony, many Broadway houses were unavailable to host the event.

The Beacon is operated by Madison Square Garden Inc. The theater opened in 1929 and recently received a multimillion-dollar restoration.

-- David Ng


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