Tony Awards will Lean on Songs and Celebrities
NEW YORK (AP) — Relax, Idina. At this star-studded ceremony, no one is going to mangle your name.
The Tony Awards celebrating Broadway start Sunday evening, which means Idina Menzel is among friends. The former star of “Rent,” who returned this year with “If/Then” onstage and “Frozen” in movie theaters, heard John Travolta famously mispronounce her name at the Oscars in March. That won’t happen on Sunday — theater fans consider her royalty.
The Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing, joint producers of the show, will host the glittery ceremony from Radio City Music Hall. It will be broadcast live by CBS.
Producers of the telecast will hope to build on last year’s 7.24 million viewers — the show’s largest audience in four years — with Hugh Jackman playing the role of host. Fans of former emcee Neil Patrick Harris, take heart: He’ll be performing from his hit show “Hedwig and the Angry Inch.”
Stars slated to help present awards include Bradley Cooper, Kevin Bacon, Clint Eastwood, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Will Ferrell and Liev Schreiber. Some Hollywood royalty who showed up onstage this season like Denzel Washington, Daniel Radcliffe, James Franco and Rachel Weisz didn’t win nominations and may skip the show. Viewership may also be tested by Game 2 of the NBA Finals.
Some 870 Tony voters — members of professional groups such as the Wing, the League, Actors’ Equity Association, the Dramatists Guild and the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society — decided the final 26 competitive awards. Only Broadway shows that opened in the 12 months ending April 24 are eligible.
A music-heavy lineup has been promised that includes all the best new musical nominees — “Aladdin,” ”After Midnight,” ”Beautiful: The Carole King Musical” and “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder” — and some overlooked ones, including “Rocky,” ”Bullets Over Broadway,” and Menzel’s show “If/Then.” Three revivals — “Les Miserables,” ”Violet” and “Cabaret” — will also be featured. Sting will perform a song from his Broadway-bound musical, “The Last Ship.”
This year, Broadway producers have a reason to party. The season’s box offices hit a record total gross of $1.27 billion — up from $1.13 billion the previous season — and attendance was up 5.6 percent to 12.2 million.
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