May 27, 2012

Tips for Throwing a Tony Awards Party

Last year, I threw my first annual Tony Awards Party. It was a big hit among my theatre-loving friends, theatre-liking friends, and even my don’t-care-about-Broadway-but-came-to-support-me friends. As I write this blog, I am actively planning my second Tony Awards Party with the hope that it will be just as successful as last year’s event! 
This blog is directed at anyone who may be thinking about throwing a Tony-themed Party or anyone who is looking for new ideas to “spice up” their yearly Tony celebration.  Happy Planning! 

Because I have the guests arrive two hours before the Tony’s, there is plenty of time for games.  Last year, I compiled a list of “Tony trivia”, which included 25 questions about the Tony Awards, new or currently running musicals and plays, and Broadway “people” (actors, composer/lyricists, directors, choreographers, etc). I created most of the trivia questions myself, but the Tony Awards website offers many trivia questions specific to the history of the Tony Awards, so that is an excellent resource as well.
We also played a game of “Tony quotes”. I created a list of about 20-25 quotes from popular Broadway showtunes and the guests must determine which musical the quote originated from. The guest who achieves the most correct answers on trivia and quotes is given a prize (more on prizes below). 
Here is an example of a trivia question and a quote. 
Which actress has played Elphaba (Wicked) in more performances than any other actress? 
“I’m as corny as Kansas in August...” 

Decorations are really a matter of preference. I like to keep the lights low and decorate my living room with white Christmas lights. I also like hanging black and silver balloons around my living room. This year, I’m going to frame Broadway and New York-related photos and playbills from the Tony-nominated shows and hang them around my living room to set the mood. 

3.) FOOD
I know some theatre fans like to serve Broadway-themed food. For example, serving French food for Les Miserables or corned beef and cabbage for Once or Southern food for Memphis. I have no culinary ability, so I do not do this. Plus, I know too many picky eaters. However, I do ensure that there is plenty of food to be enjoyed. I tend to stick with pizza, sandwiches, vegetables and dip, chips and dip, fresh fruit, and a punch bowl. This year, I will be serving Broadway-themed cupcakes that will be decorated with candies relevant to this year’s Tony-nominated shows. For example, some cupcakes will be decorated with a candy guitar to represent Once or a candy star for Peter and the Starcatcher, etc. 

Until the Tony Awards begin, I have Broadway music playing in the background. I compile a playlist of songs in iTunes from ONLY the Tony-nominated shows and put it on shuffle, which usually gets everyone in Broadway mode (if they’re not already!). The only downfall to this is that some of the Tony-nominated shows have not yet recorded a cast recording by the time of the Tony Awards and so some shows are left out of my mix. 

Oh, did I forget to mention?  My Tony Awards Party is also a costume party!  My guests are required to dress up as a character from a Broadway musical or play (the show does not have to be running on Broadway currently). Last year, my guests included: the Phantom of the Opera, Elphaba from Wicked, Diana and Dan Goodman from Next to Normal, and Extraordinary Girl from American Idiot. During commercial break, I have the guests vote for best costume and the winner gets a prize! 

Last year, I was checking out decorations at iParty and I came across a mock “red carpet”. I loved the idea of the guests walking up the red carpet to get to the party and so I bought it. The red carpet was a lot of fun. I placed it in my front yard, making a path from the road to the front door, and everyone had the chance to walk on the red carpet in full costume while we took pictures. It also entertained my neighbors who drove by my house to see a green witch, a phantom, and a red carpet among other things.  Very fun. 

On the Tony Awards website, there is a printable ballot.  I print this out and take it to FedEx to have copies printed on cardstock. Cardstock makes it a little more durable in case some of the die-hard theatre fans want to save it.  Before the Tony Awards begin, everyone fills out the ballot based on who they think will win.  The guest who correctly guesses the most winners gets a prize.  

Since a Tony Awards party can become expensive, I don’t go crazy with prizes. Between the two games, the costume contest, and the ballots, I need four prizes, but last year there was a tie for the costume contest and the trivia game, so it’s a good idea to have extra prizes on hand.  The cost per prize is usually less than $5. Some examples are: Times Square themed playing cards, Broadway-themed wall calendar, Broadway-themed bookmark, NYC-themed stationery, Broadway-themed key chains or magnets, home-made fudge, and hand soap. I try to have a couple of non-Broadway-themed items available since some guests are not die-hard Broadway fans. 

I hope this is helpful! What are your ideas???? 


  1. Very thorough :) You covered every detail! Tony parties are super fun, and it's great to watch them with friends, and people who love theatre :) This should be a great help to anyone who wishes to throw a Tony Party :) There is not a lot of information out there about them, so this was a great idea to blog about!

  2. Wow! Loved reading about these award functions! Well dear I am going to attend some annual music and dance events at Chicago event space. After a long time I got this opportunity so I want to enjoy each and every moment there. Feeling so excited!