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Watching the Tony Awards "alfresco" in Times Square

Perhaps it was a premonition, but this photo was taken before the Tony Awards began - and it won Best Musical
Perhaps it was a premonition, but this photo was taken before the Tony Awards began - and it won Best Musical

Tony Awards night is always exciting in New York City.  Filled with tradition, the Broadway show community goes all out to put on a good show and celebrate.

The Tony Awards being broadcast outdoors in Times Square

With the 2009 changes that went into effect blocking off traffic in Times Square, a new tradition has been born.  Times Square becomes an outdoor theater where people can go to watch the Awards show on jumbo screen.  This was the second year this event has taken place. 

The simulcast was on a Clear Channel Spectacolor HD screen mounted very high up on a building near the corner of 47th Street and Broadway facing Times Square where 1,000 chairs were set up to let people sit down and watch the show.  And very comfortable chairs they were.  As advertised, the simulcast went on rain or shine.  Luckily, it stayed dry until about 10:00 when a slight mist was present, but not enough to send anyone running off.

Constantine Maroulis, a 2009 Tony nominee and star of Broadway's Rock of Ages served as the host for the evening.  He did a good job interacting with the large crowd and handling the trivia questions that were displayed on the jumbo screen when the rest of the world had to watch commercials.  He had some interesting stories as he guided us through the evening.  Not an easy job to do in such a fast moving place as Times Square; but he was up to the task.

A few observations about being a part of the simulcast:

  • People were in a really good mood and enjoying themselves.  The 1,000 seats were filled for the entire evening although some people left and new ones came in to take their places. 

  • The crowd applauded just like they were inside Radio City Musical Hall.  When the nominees were announced, the crowd applauded each one and then gave a big applause for the winners.

  • There were volunteers on hand to help out and they did a great job.  They seemed to be enjoying being there and that added to the spirit of the event.

  • No one was in a very big hurry to leave when the show ended.  What could have been a NY rush hour stampede turned out to be a lot of people who were enjoying the experience and were not ready to leave.

The Tony Awards show was a good one this year.  Congratulations to all the nominees and the winners.  And thanks to all who were involved with organizing and doing the Times Square simulcast.  Let's hope this tradition continues on.


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