On May 27, an email to members of the Writers Guilds of America East and West (collectively referred to as the WGA) asked union members to refrain from attending the 76th annual Tony Awards in person as the nationwide WGA strike continues.
“We understand that the theater community depends on the enthusiasm and visibility generated by a televised awards show, but this is still a television production on a struck network, so we are asking Guild members not to attend the ceremony in person,” reads the notice obtained by Broadway News.
The WGA previously ruled that, despite the ongoing strike, the Tonys would be permitted to proceed with the June 11 televised show on CBS, Paramount+ and Pluto TV, after the Broadway League and American Theatre Wing agreed to specific terms about the broadcast, including an unscripted program. The WGA also stated that they would not picket the awards show. This decision was reached after many writers of stage and screen appealed to the WGA to allow the Tonys to proceed on time and on television.
This latest request for WGA members to stay home affects both guests and nominees. Playwright Martyna Majok, nominated in the Best Play category for her drama “Cost of Living,” is a self-proclaimed member of the WGA. Jeremy O. Harris, a producer on the Tony-nominated revival of “The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window,” is also a WGA member.
The May 27 letter recommended that nominated members make a contingency plan in the case of their win, writing: “The show’s producers have agreed that Guild members may pre-tape acceptance speeches just in case, and we encourage you to do this or to ask a non-member proxy to accept that award and speak on your behalf.”
Consequences for members who opt to attend the Tonys are not known.
Broadway News reached out to playwrights about the latest request but had not heard back at the time of publication.