Hugh Jackman Returns to Host Broadway’s Big Event: The Tony Awards, Sunday, Telecast Live from Radio City Worldwide and Simulcast in Times Square
By: Ellis Nassour
There’ll be enough star power at Sunday’s 68th Annual telecast of the Tony Awards from Radio City Music Hall, on CBS from 8-11 P.M. to light up the sky. And with smile from host-with-the-most, the X-Man himself, Hugh Jackman, maybe even the galaxy.
The stars are aligning! Tony fav, and Tony winner, Oscar nominee, Emmy winner [for hosting the Tonys], and Golden Globe winning mega film and stage star Jackman returns for the first time since 2005 to host the Tonys for the fourth time after handing the reins over to six-time Emmy nominee and two-time winner and four-time Golden Globe nominee Neil Patrick Harris, who’s on Broadway this season and nominated for a Tony [after just winning a Drama Desk Award], Sean Hayes, and Whoppi Goldberg.
The Awards are presented by the American Theatre Wing and the Broadway Leagues. Veteran executive producers Ricky Kirshner and Glenn Weiss of White Cherry Entertainment said, "We’re thrilled to have Hugh return to host. "He’s the ultimate triple threat, the consummate entertainer – actor, singer, dancer. And is second to none."
Jackman will be joined by quite the celebrated line-up of nominees [See Highlights Below] and these special guests: Kevin Bacon, Orlando Bloom, Matt Bomer, TV superhost Wayne Brady, Sir Kenneth Branagh, Zach Braff, Patricia Clarkson, LL Cool J, Bradley Cooper, Alan Cumming, Fran Drescher, Clint Eastwood, Gloria and Emilio Estefan [who’ll soon be on Broadway], Vera Farmiga Will Ferrell, Barrett Foa, James Franco, Tony Goldwyn, Jonathan Groff Maggie Gyllenhaal, Anna Gunn, Ethan Hawke, Samuel L. Jackson, composer Carole King, Judith Light, Zachary Levi, TV’s Lucy Liu, Kate Mara, Leighton Meester, Alessandro Nivola, Rosie O’Donnell, Star Trek and Glass Menagerie co-star Zachary Quinto, Daniel Radcliffe, Emmy Rossum, Liev Schreiber, Patrick Wilson, and Denzel Washington. Red Carpet arrivals begin at 6 P.M. and will be broadcast on NY1 News.
It was another year of outstanding nominated performances [ it bears repeating that Daniel and Denzel was robbed! Not nominating them is almost as puzzling as the Drama Desk nominators passing over Cherry Jones, passing over Cherry Jones, passing over Cherry Jones, passing over Cherry Jones [sorry, I keep repeating that as if in a bad dream!]:
Audra, Bryan, Bryce, Cherry, Chris, Jefferson, LaTanya, Nick [Cordero, but this may be the last time you’ll have to use his last name to I.D. him], Sophie, and Isabel Toledo’s stunning costumes that, as she put it, "were designed to perform along with the choreography." * See Below
The telecast portion [there’s an additional hour of design and special honor award presented from 7-8 P.M.] of the Tonys will open with a huge production number from After Midnight, choreographed by Drama Desk-winning choreographer Warren Carlyle and featuring not only Dulé Hill and the show’s swinging cast of absolutely amazing dancers but also Fantasia, and the legendary Patti Labelle and Gladys Knight from the hit musical’s rotating roster of guest divas.
Show highlights will include a 10th anniversary tribute to the musical Wicked. And a reunion of its co-stars Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth; and multi-platinum record star Sting, performing a song from his upcoming musical The Last Ship. Tina Fey will introduce a performance by Jennifer Hudson who’ll perform a number from the new musical Finding Neverland.
Also on hand will be the stars and casts of the nominated Best Musical and Best Musical Revival: Aladdin, Les Misérables, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, Bullets Over Broadway and Rocky.
What do you mean, you wanted to go to the Tonys but couldn’t get a ticket? Nonsense! You can be almost there by joining the throng of happy, excited fans in Times Square for the theater party of the year: Watching the entire Awards simulcast on the giant Clear Channel Spectacolor screen, beginning at 7 P.M. co-hosted by Tony nominee Kerry Butler, now starring Off Broadway in Under My Skin, and American Idol alum Justin Guarini, now co-starring in Wicked.
"It’s Broadway’s biggest event," says League executive director Charlotte St. Martin, "and, rightly so, it will be a starry, starry night. We welcome back our old friend Hugh!."
Heather Hitchens, Wing executive director, adds, "There’s nothing like celebrating Broadway’s biggest night, with Broadway’s biggest fans, right in the heart of Times Square. It’s the next best thing to being at Radio City Music Hall."
The Tony Awards, which will be seen in 45 countries. During the telecast, visit TonyAwards.com/secondscreen for exclusive behind-the-scenes coverage. Follow the Tonys at Facebook.com/theTonyAwards, @theTonyAwards on Twitter, and Instagram.com/theTonyAwards.
For a complete list of the nominations, a ballot to pick your choice for winner, video features and interviews, trivia, and a history of the Awards and the Awards namesake Antoinette Perry, go to www.TonyAwards.com.
In the Not Nominated Category, kudos to Brían, Daniel, Debra, Denzel; k.d. and Vanessa in After Midnight sashaying and shimmying in a white tux ala Marlene in Morocco; Casa Valentina’s John Cullum, the last star in the universe you’d expect to not only look fantastic in drag, but also carry it off as if it was natural to him; and the entire cast and Martin McDonagh of The Cripple of Inishmaan for providing one of the most memorable theater experiences ever.
* In the Special Awards category: the Mays/Pinkham Award to AGGTLAM’s quick-change crew, the Patti LuPone Award for Best Beration of Audience Members to Neil and Kevin Spacey, the brave gentleman at Violet who from two rows behind Playbill-zapped a texter, and the Theater Purple Heart to that audience member who requested three times that the gent next to him [who obviously was a top heart surgeon] turn off his phone and finally got up and notified the house manager, who had Security eject the guy and his tall-drink-of-water gal [not tall enough, evidently, because she was in 12" heels] so professionally, so quietly, that it didn’t disturb anyone.
[Where do these folks come from???? It’s theater, not a night out at your local bowling alley] .
2014 Tony Award Nominations Highlights:
Best Play: Act One, All the Way, Casa Valentina, Mothers and Sons, Outside Mullingar
Best Musical: After Midnight, Aladdin, Beautiful – The Carole King Musical, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder
Best Play Revival: The Cripple of Inishmaan, The Glass Menagerie, A Raisin in the Sun, Twelfth Night
Best Musical Revival: Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Les Miserables, Violet
Best Performance, Actor, Leading Role, Play: Samuel Barnett, Twelfth Night; Bryan Cranston, All the Way; Chris O’Dowd, Of Mice and Men; Mark Rylance, Richard III; Tony Shalhoub, Act One
Best Performance, Actress, Leading Role, Play: Tyne Daly, Mothers and Sons; LaTanya Richardson Jackson, A Raisin in the Sun; Cherry Jones, The Glass Menagerie; Audra McDonald, Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill; Estelle Parsons, The Velocity of Autumn
Best Performance, Actor, Leading Role. Musical: Neil Patrick Harris, Hedwig and the Angry Inch; Ramin Karimloo, Les Miserables; Andy Karl, Rocky; Jefferson Mays, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder; Bryce Pinkham, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder