The Tony Awards are on Sunday! Which probably means nothing for most of America.
But for high school theater nerds and gay men like myself, it’s the chance to catch one of the few awards shows that still knows how to be both interesting and entertaining.
Granted, neither of those words can be used to describe this year’s crop of nominated shows (A Christmas Story for Best Musical? Really?); but do you really want to miss the rare chance to see Tom Hanks and Cyndi Lauper win the same prize on the same night?
If you answered that question with a “no!”, continue reading this post for a complete guide to this year’s telecast. Otherwise, enjoy baseball, I guess?
Matilda Is Probably Going to Win
Although it didn’t get the most nominations, Matilda enters Sunday with the best reviews and buzz of the season, which should be enough to take the night’s most coveted award, Best Musical. Tony voters love a hit!
But Cyndi Lauper Might, Too
Lauper’s uplifting score for Kinky Boots also earned raves, and her famous status could give her the edge over Matilda’s Tim Minchin in the race for Best Original Score. Seriously, who wouldn’t want to see Cyndi Lauper win a Tony?
Neil Patrick Harris Is Hosting
After a successful run last year, NPH will take the stage to celebrate Broadway before he does the exact same thing for television at the Emmys this fall.
Best Actress in a Play Is Apparently the Most Competitive Category
All five ladies in this category — Laurie Metcalf, Amy Morton, Kristine Nielsen, Cicely Tyson and maybe Holland Taylor — have a decent shot at winning. Conventional wisdom seems to agree that 79-year-old Tyson will take home the Tony for her well-received performance in The Trip to Bountiful; but it could also go to Metcalf for her devastating performance as a woman battling dementia in The Other Place, or maybe Morton for going toe-to-toe with Tracy Letts in ‘Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?’ Either way, this one is A Race.
Which Probably Can’t Be Said About Best Actor
Sometimes, Tony voters can’t resist a star turn from a mega-Hollywood player, even when said star doesn’t actually deserve to win. In other words: Look for Tom Hanks to charm his way to a victory here for his Broadway debut in the late Nora Ephron’s ‘The Lucky Guy.’ Because, c’mon, it’s Tom Hanks!
Scarlett Johansson Is Presenting
Speaking of stars: Scarlett Johansson, who won her own Tony in 2010 for ‘A View From the Bridge,’ is one of the Many Famous Faces who will be presenting at this year’s ceremony. Also presenting: Cuba Gooding Jr.; and, yes, Tom Hanks.
Judith Light Could Go Two-for-Two
Light finally got her moment in the Tony spotlight last year when she won Best Featured Actress in a Play for ‘Other Desert Cities.’ Will she repeat this year for ‘The Assembled Parties’? It’s possible; but with a category that also includes Condola Rashad (The Trip to Bountiful) and Judith Ivy (The Heiress), it won’t be easy.
Best Direction of a Musical Is a Toss-Up
Will voters go with Matthew Warchus for his edgy take on a Roald Dahl classic? Or will they choose Diane Paulus’ inventive work on Pippin, instead? I don’t know. I’m asking you.
So Is Best Actress
With the four youngsters from Matilda receiving a special award, Best Actress will essentially come down to Laura Osnes, who was great in Cinderella, and Patina Miller, who reinvented a role originated by a man in Pippin. Who will win? I’ll actually answer this one and go with Miller, if only because I still haven’t forgiven Osnes for her turn in Grease: You’re The One That I Want.
That Girl From That Kathie Lee Gifford Musical Is Nominated
Carolee Carmello somehow managed to get nominated for ‘Scandalous,’ a show that closed after three weeks and was written by Kathie Lee Gifford. Which should give you an idea of how weak this season really was.
Orphans Is Nominated; Alec Baldwin Was Not
All that backstage drama between Baldwin and Shia LaBeouf resulted in just two Tony nominations for the now-closed Orphans: one for Best Rival of a Play; the other, ironically, for their former co-star, Tom Sturridge.
The Tony Awards air Sunday night at 8PM on CBS.