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2015 Tony Awards: Stars, Entertainment, and a Lot of Tweeting


Sunday’s 69th annual Tony Awards, presented by the Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing, will be more of a social event than usual. As Kristin Chenoweth and Alan Cumming co-host the live three-hour telecast from Radio City Music Hall from 7 -10 P.M. on CBS, there’ll be live tweeting during the ceremony.

Thanks to NewYork.com, Tony nominees have banded together to use #MyTonys, giving viewers the behind-the-scenes scoop about what’s going on, especially doing those endless commercial breaks. What will vivacious Chenoweth and charming Cumming, both Tony winners, be doing when off stage? What’ll six-time nominee Kelli O’Hara be doing with her thumbs? Better still, will the sixth time be the charm? When they’re not pacing the aisles, will Brian d’Arcy James, Christian Borle, and Brad Oscar be tweeting about which plays were actually written by the Bard? Nominee Andy Karl and his wife Orfeh will be sharing happenings as they happen. With the largest contingent of producers ever [some shows had more producers than cast members], what will they be tweeting about their rivals?

TonyExecutive producers Ricky Kirshner and Glenn Weiss (White Cherry Entertainment) announced that more than 175 performers – the most in a single number in Tony history – will join Josh Groban for a special performance.

Those making appearances include Jason Alexander, Rose Byrne, Bobby Cannavale, Anna Chlumsky, Harry Connick, Jr., Bradley Cooper, Bryan Cranston, Larry David, Taye Diggs, Sutton Foster, Jennifer Grey, Joel Grey, Neil Patrick Harris, Marg Helgenberger, Dulé Hill, Nick Jonas, Kiesza, Judith Light, Jennifer Lopez, Joe Manganiello, Debra Messing, Patina Miller, Jim Parsons, Bernadette Peters, David Hyde Pierce, Phylicia Rashad, Amanda Seyfried, Sting, Kiefer Sutherland, Rita Wilson, Thomas Sadoski, and Tommy Tune.

Tony winners Jessie Mueller (Beautiful) and James Monroe Iglehart (Aladdin) will co-host the Creative Arts Awards, which will take place off-camera during the ceremony’s first hour. The 14 categories include special, designer, choreographer and other awards (a cue the Oscars should take with their endless list of technical categories).

The entertainment- packed evening will celebrate Jersey Boys’10-year anniversary on Broadway with the cast performing “Oh, What a Night.”

TonyNomineesSeason14-15There’ll be more performances than ever from nominated shows in the Best Musical and Best Revival of a Musical categories: a medley of “An American in Paris (pas de deux),” “S Wonderful,” and “I Got Rhythm” by nominees Robert Fairchild, Leanne Cope, Brandon Uranotitz, Max von Essen, and the cast of An American in Paris;  “Ring of Keys” from Fun Home with nominees Michael Cerveris, Judy Kuhn, Beth Malone, Sydney Lucas, and Emily Skeggs; “A Musical” featuring nominees James, Borle, Oscar, and the cast of Something Rotten!; and “Love and Love Alone” and “I Would Never Leave You by nominee Chita Rivera and the cast of The Visit.

From the nominated musical revivals: Getting to Know You” and “Shall We Dance?” from The King and I, with nominees O’Hara, Ken Watanabe, and Ruthie Ann Miles; A medley of “Lonely Town,” “New York, New York,” and “Times Square Ballet” from On the Town, with nominee Tony Yazbeck and cast; and a medley of “Life Is Like a Train,” “On the 20th Century,” “I’ve Got It All,” and “Babette” featuring nominee Chenoweth, Peter Gallagher, Karl, and the cast of On the Twentieth Century

No grudges are being by producers Harvey Weinstein and Madison Square Garden against the massive army of Tony nominators who snubbed Finding Neverland. They’re paying a hefty fee to have Matthew Morrison, Kelsey Grammer, and cast perform “Stronger.” Joining them will be Vanessa Hudgens, nominee Victoria Clark, Corey Cott, and the cast of 99%-snubbed Gigi will perform “The Night They Invented Champagne.” Lisa Howard, Adam Heller, and Tyne Daly will sing “Jenny’s Blues” from It Shoulda Been You.

A press release noted the largess of the Tony Awards, stating “It upholds a valued tradition of recognizing the excellence of the entire Broadway season.” Yes, as long as the check’s in the mail. (All shows with production numbers pay a fee.)

Not to be forgotten, there’ll be salutes to Play nominees The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, Disgraced, Hand to God, and Wolf Hall, Parts One and Two.

The Tony Administration Committee is awarding a Special Tony to John Cameron Mitchell, who wrote the book for the 1998 Off-Broadway production of Hedwig and the Angry Inch for which he won an Obie Award (with co-creator/songwriter Stephen Trask). He appeared on Broadway in Big River, The Secret Garden (Drama Desk nomination), and Six Degrees of Separation. Off-Broadway: Larry Kramer’s The Destiny of Me (Obie Award, DD nomination).

Will three hours be enough? And don’t forget a fourth hour that precedes the telecast where creative and honorary awards are meted out.

There were 10 original musicals this season. The Awards category for Musical is
usually open to four, but can be expanded to five. Are the nominators saying that among the other shows — Dr. Zhivago, Finding Neverland, Gigi, Honeymoon in Vegas, It Shoulda Been You, The Last Ship (which, at least, got a nod for Best Score) — they couldn’t find another honoree.

It’s completely puzzling how they ignored the many deserving elements
of mega blockbuster Finding Neverland – such as the performances of Morrison, Grammer, and Laura Michelle Kelly. Many have questioned how 50 nominators couldn’t find value in the numerous elements of the musical – such as previous Tony- winning director Diane Paulus, featured actor Rory Donovan, and Scott Pask’s scenic design.

For more information including the full list of nominees, free Times Square simulcast, a meet-the-hosts feature, photo gallery, multimedia, trivia, and the history of the Awards, including a revealing feature on Tony namesake Antoinette Perry, visit www.TonyAwards.com.

Follow the Tonys on the site, as well as on Facebook, Twitter, and @TheTonyAwards on Instagram and Twitter.

2015 Tony Award nomination highlights

Best Play:
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Simon Stephens

Ayad Akhtar

Hand to God
Robert Askins

Wolf Hall. Parts One and Two
Hilary Mantel and Mike Poulton

Best Musical:
An American in Paris
Fun Home
Something Rotten!
The Visit

Actor in a Leading Role/Play:
Steven Boyer, Hand to God
Bradley Cooper, The Elephant Man
Ben Miles, Wolf Hall Parts One & Two
Bill Nighy, Skylight
Alex Sharp, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Actress in a Leading Role, Play:
Geneva Carr, Hand to God
Helen Mirren, The Audience
Elisabeth Moss, The Heidi Chronicles
Carey Mulligan, Skylight
Ruth Wilson, Constellations

Actor in a Leading Role/Musical:
Michael Cerveris, Fun Home
Robert Fairchild, An American in Paris
Brian d’Arcy James, Something Rotten!
Ken Watanabe, The King and I
Tony Yazbeck, On the Town

Actress in a Leading Role/Musical:
Kristin Chenoweth, On the Twentieth Century
Leanne Cope, An American in Paris
Beth Malone, Fun Home
Kelli O’Hara, The King and I
Chita Rivera, The Visit

Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theater:
Fun Home
M: Jeanine Tesori; L: Lisa Kron

The Last Ship
M, L: Sting

Something Rotten!
M, L: Wayne Kirkpatrick, Karey Kirkpatrick

The Visit
M: John Kander; L: Fred Ebb

Best Revival/Play:
The Elephant Man
This Is Our Youth
You Can’t Take It with You

Revival of a Musical:
The King and I
On the Town
On the Twentieth Century

For Actor/Actress in a Featured Role/Play and Musical and a complete list of the nominations, visit TonyAwards.com.

ellis-nassourEllis Nassour is an Ole Miss alum and noted arts journalist and author who recently donated an ever-growing exhibition of performing arts history to the University of Mississippi. He is the author of the best-selling Patsy Cline biography, Honky Tonk Angel, as well as the hit musical revue, Always, Patsy Cline.

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