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Behind the Curtain of the 74th Tony Awards

October 4, 2021

Written by Kari Lincks Coomans, Co-Founder of Red Curtain Addict

Broadway is BACK! To celebrate that theaters are opening again on Broadway and all over the world, the Wing rolled out the red carpet and lifted the curtain of the 74th Tony Awards ceremony at the Winter Garden Theater. We were so honored that we were invited to attend and to be a part of such a special night, while getting an inside view of how all of it came together for live television.

Scroll below to find out more about the making of the 74th Tony Awards event, as well as our insider interviews with 5x Emmy award-winning Jamie Lawrence (the Tony’s Assoc. Music Director) and Tony nominated Sahr Ngaujah from Moulin Rouge: The Musical!…

Behind the Curtain of the 74th Tony Awards

This was our first time visiting New York City since March 2020 and it was SO exciting to be back! Walking down the street to the Winter Garden Theater where the Tony Awards was held was such an incredible experience.

Seeing the busyness of the streets, the lights of times square, and the anticipation of those watching the red carpet experience gave us electrified feeling mixed with a sense of excitement because not only are the theaters back open — the community of arts enthusiasts are as vibrant as ever!

Since this was such an occasion, I decided wear a look that was inspired by “old Broadway” with a top hat, tuxedo shoes and a fun cane. Broadway and theater at large have evolved so much over the last century. Throughout all the changes and difficulties, it is present and it is thriving as ever! This was my way to say, “cheers to the past, and cheers to the future of theater!”.


Before the Tony Awards, I spoke with Jamie Lawrence to hear about his role as the Assoc. Music Director of the program. “I’ve been a part of the show for many years and I’ve written a lot of music for the Tony Awards… I also play the piano and synthesizers throughout the performance… and I have conducted the Tony Awards as well!”, said Jamie. I found out later that everyone in the show didn’t know what would be performed until a month before the broadcast, and Jamie wrote most of his music within two-weeks time. Wow!

Jamie has won five Emmy Awards for his music and has been nominated for another ten! He has worked on films such as My Best Friend’s Wedding, Arthur Miller: Writer, The Private Lives of Pippa Lee, and has scored for many documentaries for HBO. As an orchestrator and arranger, he has penned arrangements for numerous musical luminaries such as Jessye Norman, Quincy Jones, Smokey Robinson, Audra McDonald & Adam Guettel, and Herbie Hancock. Currently, he is writing music for MuMu!

On the red carpet, we got to see so many of our favorite performers, like Sahr Ngaujah from Moulin Rouge: The Musical! (click here to watch our interview), Tom Hiddleston who was in Betrayal, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Lin Manuel-Miranda, Adrienne Warren from Tina, Rita Moreno (who played Anita in the original West Side Story that premiered at Winter Garden 64 years ago on the same night as the Tony’s), and so many more!

It was a dream to go inside the theater and actually be in “room where it happened”! It was really fascinating to see how everything was set up for the awards ceremony and the television broadcast. There were cameras everywhere and the producers sat in the boxes on each side with a ton of monitors around them to ensure they got the right shot. There was even a pulley camera that would sweep across the audience to get close up shots of the performers that you can see in the photo above.

One of our favorite things about the night was the feeling of hope and excitement in the air that everyone felt knowing that there are so many opportunities ahead now that theaters are opening back up. We were also thrilled that many of the acceptance speeches highlighted the necessary effort for Broadway to diversify and fully welcome all. Kenny Leon put it best, “No diss to Shakespeare, no diss to Ibsen, to Chekhov, to Shaw — they’re all at the table. But the table’s got to be bigger.”

Now it’s YOUR TURN to experience this excitement! Mask up, head to your local theater, and support what your community is creating! If you are going to be visiting the big apple anytime soon, check out our ‘5 Must-See Performance Destinations in New York City’ for ideas of where to see some of the best arts in the city. Don’t forget to share your favorite performances with us by tagging us on Instagram with #RedCurtainAddict!

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© Red Curtain Addict 2021