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The 39th Annual Tony Awards was broadcast by CBS television on June 2, 1985, from the Shubert Theatre. Instead of a formal host, there was a group of performers/presenters. Some paid tribute to the songs of Jule Styne, Cy Coleman, Andrew Lloyd Webber, with these composers ending the broadcast by playing songs from their respective new shows. Mary Martin introduced the Special Award for Yul Brynner.[1]

39th Tony Awards
DateJune 2, 1985
LocationShubert Theatre, New York City, New York
Hosted byTony Bennett
Television/radio coverage


The ceremonyEdit

For the first time in the history of the Tony Awards, awards were not presented for the lead actor and actress in a musical and choreography.[2] According to The New York Times, "Theater historians and Tony administrators say they cannot recall an instance when one category was dropped from the awards, much less three."[3]

As Ken Mandelbaum noted: "1985: Things get bad enough musically to require the elimination of the Best Musical Actor and Actress categories, as well as the choreography prize."[4] The Associated Press wrote: "For the first time in the Tony's 39-year history, awards in three categories - best actor and actress in a musical and best choreography - were scrapped because of a lack of candidates."[5] In a further report, the Associated Press noted: "The award for best actress, musical was eliminated this season because there was only one eligible candidate. The nominating committee declined to give nominations in the leading actor in a musical and choreography categories because they did not consider any of the performances or choreography outstanding or excellent."[6][7]

Musicals represented:[8]

Presenters and Performers: Danny Aiello, Susan Anton, Hinton Battle, Deborah Bauers, Deborah Burrell, Terry Burrell, Jim Dale, Loretta Devine, Jackie Gleason, Julie Harris, Rex Harrison, George Hearn, Van Johnson, Raul Julia, Rosetta LeNoire, Mary Martin, Millicent Martin, Maureen McGovern, Rita Moreno, Mike Nichols, Stefanie Powers, Juliet Prowse, Tony Randall, Lee Roy Reams, Lynn Redgrave, Chita Rivera, Wanda Richert, Tony Roberts, Rex Smith, Leslie Uggams, Dick Van Dyke, Ben Vereen, Tom Wopat

Winners and nomineesEdit

Winners are in bold

Source: InfoPlease[9]

Best Play Best Musical
Best Revival Best Book of a Musical
Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play
Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Play Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play
Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical
Best Direction of a Play Best Direction of a Musical
Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre Best Scenic Design
Best Costume Design Best Lighting Design

Special awardsEdit


  1. ^ O'Connor, John J. "TV Reviews;'Tony Awards' On CBS, Live From Shubert", New York Times, June 4, 1985, p.C13
  2. ^ Freedman, Samuel G. " 'Biloxi' And 'Big River' Win Top Tony Awards", The New York Times, June 3, 1985, p.C15, accessed June 1, 2016
  3. ^ Freedman, Samuel G. "Two More Tony Categories Dropped", The New York Times, May 7, 1985, accessed June 1, 2016
  4. ^ Mandelbaum, Ken. "Ken Mandelbaum's Aisle View: Tony Highs And Lows" Playbill, May 11, 1997, accessed June 2, 2016
  5. ^ Kuchwara, Michael, "Neil Simon Wins First Best Play Tony; 'Big River' Captures Seven Awards", The Associated Press, June 3, 1985, Domestic News (no page number)
  6. ^ (no author). "List of Winners of 1985 Tony Awards", The Associated Press, June 3, 1985, Domestic News (no page number)
  7. ^ Winship, Frederick M. "'Big River,' 'Biloxi Blues' win Tony Awards" UPI (archives), June 3, 1985
  8. ^ "Ceremony, 1985", accessed June 2, 2016
  9. ^ "1985 Tony Awards, Winners", accessed June 1, 2016

External linksEdit