x

Culture

Tony Awards Has Stars — and Those Usually Far from Spotlight

NEW YORK (AP) — Darren Criss’ favorite night of the year has arrived. It’s the Tony Awards. “I’ll never shut up about the Tonys. I love the Tonys,” he says.

Criss will not only be watching the Tonys on Sunday, he’ll also be working. He’s co-host with Julianne Hough of a one-hour pre-Tony celebration at Radio City Music Hall, and he’s even written an original song about the show that he’ll perform, revealing “a bit of my nerdy proclivities.”

Criss and Hough will be handing out creative arts Tonys on Paramount+ and then pass hosting duties to Ariana DeBose for the main three-hour telecast on CBS from the same stage, live coast to coast for the first time.

The season — with 34 new productions — represents a full return to theaters after nearly two years of a pandemic-mandated shutdown. At the last Tonys nine months ago, the winners were pulled from just 18 eligible plays and musicals, and many of the competitive categories were depleted.

This image released by The Press Room shows, foreground from left, Hailee Kaleem Wright, Karen Burthwright and Sidney Dupont during a performance of “Paradise Square.” (Alessandra Mello/The Press Room via AP)

DeBose, the Tony-nominated theater veteran and freshly minted Oscar winner for “West Side Story,” said Broadway is due for a party.

“I feel like if there was ever the time, the time is now,” she said. “I think it’s a triumph to have simply made it to this point, to have made art and to have a show.”

The telecast will have performances from this year’s Tony Award-nominated musicals, including “A Strange Loop,” “Company,” “Girl from the North Country,” “MJ,” “Mr. Saturday Night,” “Music Man,” “Paradise Square” and “Six.” The original cast members of the 2007 Tony-winning musical “Spring Awakening” will also reteam and perform.

This image released by Polk & Co. shows Billy Crystal during a performance of “Mr. Saturday Night.” (Matthew Murphy/Polk & Co. via AP)

“A Strange Loop,” a theater meta-journey about a playwright writing a musical, goes into the show with a leading 11 Tony nominations. Right behind with 10 nominations each is “MJ,” a bio musical of the King of Pop stuffed with his biggest hits, and “Paradise Square,” a musical about Irish immigrants and Black Americans jostling to survive in New York City around the time of the Civil War.

The best actress in a musical frontrunners are Sharon D Clarke from the revival of “Caroline, or Change” and Joaquina Kalukango of “Paradise Square.” The best actor in a musical may come down to Jaquel Spivey from “A Strange Loop” versus Myles Frost as the King of Pop in “MJ the Musical.”

“The Lehman Trilogy,” Stefano Massini’s play spanning 150 years about what led to the collapse of financial giant Lehman Brothers, is the leading best new play contender, while David Morse in a revival of Paula Vogel’s “How I Learned to Drive” is the leading contender as best actor in a play. His co-star, Mary-Louise Parker, could become the first actor to receive consecutive Tonys for best actress in a play.

This image released by O & M Co./DKC shows Hugh Jackman, foreground left, and Sutton Foster with the cast during a production of “The Music Man” in New York. (Julieta Cervantes/O & M Co./DKC via AP)

Producers are once again expanding the show thanks to streaming partner Paramount+, adding an extra hour before the three-hour main awards telecast to celebrate the creative Tony nominees in such categories as sound design and lighting. Often in the past, those acceptances were recorded earlier and shoe-horned into the telecast.

Criss and Hough — who each had roles this spring on Broadway — are hosting that first hour, which will be aired exclusively on the streaming network.

“I think they’ve recognized that a lot of the moments that have not made it to the public view were worth showing and worth presenting and worth giving the people who had these really amazing moments a bit of acknowledgment and recognition,” said Criss, who stars in a revival of David Mamet’s “American Buffalo.”

This image released by O & M Co./DKC shows Myles Frost during a performance of the musical “MJ.” (Matthew Murphy/O & M Co./DKC via AP)

Hough, who made her Broadway debut with a role in the woman-only ensemble of the political comedy “POTUS,” has been impressed by the talent level of her peers.

“I always look at Broadway performers and creatives as like artistic athletes, because the ability and the tenacity and the discipline and the hard work and everything that’s put into it — as well as the artistry — is just beyond,” the “Dancing with the Stars” veteran said.

 

 

RELATED

The financially struggling Metropolitan Opera will present 18 productions in 2024-25, matching the current season and pandemic-curtailed 2019-20 for the fewest since 14 in strike-shortened 1980-81.

Top Stories

Columnists

A pregnant woman was driving in the HOV lane near Dallas.

General News

NEW YORK – Meropi Kyriacou, the new Principal of The Cathedral School in Manhattan, was honored as The National Herald’s Educator of the Year.

Video

Jimmy Carter Becomes First Living Ex-President with Official White House Christmas Ornament

WASHINGTON (AP) — Former President Jimmy Carter has another distinction to his name.

JERUSALEM  — International efforts to broker a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas appeared to gain new momentum Thursday as the White House said a visit by a senior envoy with Israeli leaders was “going well” and other mediators reported encouraging signs from the warring parties.

ATHENS - With improvement changes made by the leadership of the Ministry of Justice and after a two-day lengthy debate and intense confrontation between the government and the opposition, the draft bill for the new penal code was voted by a majority in the plenary session of the Hellenic Parliament.

LAS VEGAS  — Hydeia Broadbent, the HIV/AIDS activist who came to national prominence in the 1990s as a young child for her inspirational talks to reduce the stigma surrounding the virus she was born with, has died.

NEW YORK – Greek-American John Avlon, a Democrat and former CNN political analyst, announced on February 21 that he is running for Congress in New York’s 1st Congressional District, the New York Times reported, noting that he is entering “a crowded congressional primary to try to flip a Republican-held swing seat on Long Island.

Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. [email protected]

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.