June 11th, 2011
01:02 PM ET
The Tony Awards are always an exciting night, bringing together theater stars past and present, as well as some of Hollywood as well.
This year's ceremony should prove similar, and in true Tonys fashion, there are a few extremely close races that are too close to call. As Patrick Healy of the New York Times points out, rarely have we had "so many major Tony categories stuffed with shows that would win in any other year."
As is true with most awards, most nominees are just happy to be there, as it allows “Tony Award-nominated” to be added to the marquee. But sometimes, the difference between winning and losing can often mean life or death for certain productions. This rings true especially for smaller plays, which makes the race for best play all the more exciting. Two British imports ("War Horse," "Jerusalem") will be facing off against two from this side of the Atlantic ("Good People," "The Mother-– with the Hat"), and it’s anyone’s guess who will take the prize.
Above all else, this year’s ceremony should provide the glitz, glamour, fun and surprises that we have come to expect. But what else should you be looking forward to at this year’s 65th annual Tony Awards? Let’s take a look.
10. Performances: The performances at the Tonys can often make for some extremely memorable television, most evident by the fact we still haven't forgotten Jennifer Holliday's heart-wrenching "Dreamgirls" performance at the 1982 ceremony. These performances can often be a chance for one to catch a glimpse of a musical they might not ordinarily see, and this year there will be plenty.
Musical numbers from "The Book of Mormon," "The Scottsboro Boys," "Anything Goes," "Catch Me If You Can," "Sister Act," and 2010 Tony winner "Memphis" will all be performed. The most exciting performance, however, will feature the cast of April 2011's revival of Stephen Sondheim's "Company." The limited-run performance was sold out, and featured Tony-Award winners Patti Lupone and Anika Noni Rose, as well as "Mad Men's" Christina Hendricks, and funny men Stephen Colbert, Jon Cryer and Tony host Neil Patrick Harris.
9. Neil Patrick Harris as host: Sure, he has been in this situation before, hosting the Tonys back in 2009, the same year he almost hosted the Emmys. What many people might not know is that Harris actually has some Broadway street cred to his name, having starred in the Tony award winning musical revival of Stephen Sondehim's "Assassins," as well as having starred as the Master of Ceremonies in Cabaret. But who can forget his show-stopping number at the end of the 2009 awards ceremony?
8. "Harry Potter": Daniel Radcliffe may have been snubbed for his performance in "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying," but the "Harry Potter" star will still get to perform due to the show's best musical revival nomination. It's not his first time appearing on Broadway (that would be 2008's "Equus"), but this is his first time tackling a song-and-dance routine. Could this be the beginning of a bright future on stage? We can only begin to imagine what type of magic he has up his sleeve.
7. Whoopi Goldberg: Whoopi is always fun to watch on stage during award ceremonies, which you should remember from watching her multiple hosting duties at the Oscars. But this year could prove somewhat different. Not only a producer on "Sister Act," a musical adaptation of her 1992 hit (she already has one Tony for producing "Thoroughly Modern Millie"), but she has a lot invested in this production. Whoopi performed the role of Mother Superior in its original run on the West End, and has been with it since its inception. If the musical does not do well at this year’s ceremony, which is expected, will Whoopi try to pump up buzz for the musical and make another appearance on Broadway?
6. "Spider-Man": Not only will the people behind the music and lyrics of "Spider-Man," be making an appearance, but the production will also get to perform (it wasn't eligible for this year's ceremony, as it doesn't officially open until the next day). Most people have probably heard about the musical based on the popular comic book, but probably more bad than good. The buzz on the re-worked version is much better this go-around, but this will still be most people's first time catching a glimpse of "Spider-Man" 2.0. Can the musical production repair its reputation and perhaps be at next year's ceremony, but as a nominee?
5. Catherine Zeta Jones: CJZ, the reigning best actress in a musical winner, is presenting at this year's Tony Awards.
4. Hollywood: How will the film-to-musical adaptations do this year? Two of them are up for the all-important best musical ("Catch Me If You Can" and "Sister Act"), and will have performances on this year's telecast, along with fellow adaptation "Priscilla." But both should be prepared for defeat at the hands of this year's frontrunner (see No. 1). In terms of acting categories, it seems that Tony voters shied away from rewarding big Hollywood stars as compared to last year, when Denzel Washington and Scarlett Johansson won. Will this signal a turn in the opposite direction, away from adapting films into musicals and casting big well-known stars? Don't count on it.
3. Sutton Foster: She's the closest thing we have to Broadway royalty to right now. The five-time Tony Award-nominee (and winner for "Thoroughly Modern Millie") is starring in the beloved revival of Cole Porter's "Anything Goes," and is expected to collect her second Tony Sunday night.
2. The stars: The Oscars it's not (does anyone watch to see what the celebrities are going to be wearing?), but there will still be plenty of stars to go around on Sunday. This year, past winners expected to present include Viola Davis, David Hyde Pierce, Matthew Broderick, Joel Grey, Vanessa Redgrave, as well as theater legend and five-time winner Angela Lansbury. Luckily, some other big names in both film and television, including many of those snubbed this season, will still come out to support the American Theater Wing, including Chris Rock, Robin Williams, Samuel L. Jackson, Ben Stiller and "The Big Bang Theory's" Jim Parsons. Don't be shocked to see some last minute surprise appearances as well.
1. "The Book of Mormon": The closest thing to a surefire hit from this year's batch is a musical from the co-creators of "South Park" and the composer behind "Avenue Q," about Mormon missionaries in Uganda (yes, you read that correctly). The religious satire is nominated for 14 awards, including best musical, best score and two nominations for best actor. Can the show trump, or at least match, the 12 Tonys that Mel Brook's "The Producers" received back in 2001?
But you tell us, what are you looking forward to at this year’s Tony Awards? Take a look at all the nominees. Tune into CBS on Sunday, June 12 from 8-11 p.m. ET to see the presentation of the major awards and performances. And if you’re in New York City, head to Times Square, where they'll be broadcast on the Jumbotron.
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