Tonys Seek Ratings Riches As Broadway Bounces Back

The Tony Awards come to CBS this Sunday at a time when Broadway is seeing robust attendance and box office grosses.

Can the financial and creative health of New York’s Broadway Theater District translate into ratings health for the Tonys?

Viewership for the Tonys has grown in small increments since 2021 when it hit a record low of 2.8 million total viewers.

The nation and the world were still in the throes of COVID fears, which had the effect of depressing live-theater attendance. There were no Tony Awards at all in 2020, when theaters closed entirely.

The 2021 Tony Awards were held in September for the first time in the Awards’ 77-year history.

Over the years, they have always been staged in spring. Except for 2021, they have been a June attraction consecutively since 1977.

After the low point of 2021, viewership edged up to 3.9 million in 2022 and 4.3 million in 2023.



The largest Tonys viewership in the recent history of the awards was 8.7 million in 2016, the year “Hamilton” won the Tony for Best Musical. The Best Play was “The Humans.”

By all appearances, Broadway has bounced back. A total of 35 shows are playing right now.

For the week ending June 2, the shows had gross ticket sales of $33.66 million with attendance of 280,253 people, according to That’s up about $2 million from the same week last year.

Fun fact: The old warhorse “The Lion King” had the highest gross that week -- $2.09 million in tickets sold.

“The 77th Annual Tony Awards” will air Sunday on CBS, live from the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center, from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. Eastern. CBS has aired the Tonys every year since 1978 (except 2020). The show will also stream live on Paramount+.

“West Side Story” Oscar winner Ariana DeBose -- seen at last year’s Tonys in the above photo -- returns as host.

This year’s top nominees are “Hell’s Kitchen” for Best Musical and “Stereophonic” for Best Play -- each with 13 nominations.

With seating capacity for 2,550, the Koch Theater is larger than the largest Broadway theater -- The Gershwin, with 1,933 seats. The smallest is the Hayes Theater with 597 seats. All theaters designated as Broadway theaters must have minimum seating of 500.

Next story loading loading..