Yes, the biggest night on the Broadway calendar is upon us. "How I Met Your Mother" star Neil Patrick Harris, who has been seen on Broadway in Assassins, Cabaret and Proof, hosts the three-hour event, which is again being held at the famed Radio City Music Hall.
Harris has been busy promoting the annual ceremony, with TV appearances on "The View" and "Late Show with David Letterman." In fact, on the latter the former "Doogie Howser" star offered the nightly Top Ten list, which was titled "Top Ten Signs You've Hired a Bad Tony Awards Host." Among the list were such statements as "Spends first 20 minutes tangled in the curtain; Quits after ten minutes, citing 'mercury poisoning from sushi'; Plans to have a bare-assed Angela Lansbury lowered onto Eminem;" and, the number one reason, "He's straight."
The evening will begin a few hours earlier than the CBS broadcast: At 6 PM ET TonyAwards.com will offer live Red Carpet coverage of the arrival of the evening's stars. The Creative Arts Awards, which "honor behind-the-scenes excellence on Broadway," will also be webcast at TonyAwards.com beginning at 7 PM.
Tony Award winners Laura Benanti and Brian Stokes Mitchell will host the presentation of the Creative Arts Awards, which will likely include Best Scenic Design of a Play, Best Scenic Design of a Musical, Best Costume Design of a Play, Best Costume Design of a Musical, Best Lighting Design of a Play, Best Lighting Design of a Musical, Best Sound Design of a Play, Best Sound Design of a Musical, Best Orchestrations and Best Book of a Musical. The Regional Theatre Award will also be presented to the Arlington, VA's Signature Theatre during the pre-telecast segment.
The televised ceremony boasts a star-studded list of presenters from the worlds of TV, film and theatre. Those scheduled to present the coveted Tony Awards include Lucie Arnaz, Kate Burton, Kristin Chenoweth, Jeff Daniels, Hope Davis, Edie Falco, Will Ferrell, Carrie Fisher, Jane Fonda, Hallie Foote, James Gandolfini, Lauren Graham, Colin Hanks, Marcia Gay Harden, Nicole Kidman, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Lange, Frank Langella, Angela Lansbury, Samantha Mathis, Audra McDonald, Lin-Manuel Miranda, David Hyde Pierce, Piper Perabo, Oliver Platt, Susan Sarandon, Kevin Spacey, John Stamos and Chandra Wilson. As for entertainment, the CBS broadcast will feature performances by Dolly Parton and the cast of 9 to 5: The Musical; Elton John and the cast of Billy Elliot, The Musical; Liza Minnelli; Stockard Channing; and the band Poison with the cast of Rock of Ages.
All of this year's Tony-nominated Best Musicals and Best Musical Revivals will perform, including Billy Elliot, The Musical; Guys and Dolls; Hair; Next to Normal; Pal Joey; Rock of Ages; Shrek the Musical; and West Side Story. Playbill.com has learned that the cast of Next to Normal, led by Tony nominee Alice Ripley, will perform "You Don't Know," while the Billy Elliot performance will feature all three Tony-nominated Billys: Trent Kowalik, Kiril Kulish and David Alvarez. The Shrek cast will also perform "What's Up, Duloc?"
Touring productions will also be represented. Becky Gulsvig, who is on tour as Elle Woods in Legally Blonde, The Musical, will perform a song from that musical based on the film of the same name. The Jersey Boys performance will feature several actors currently playing the role of Frankie Valli in various productions: Joseph Leo Bwarie, representing the Toronto company; Rick Faugno, representing the Las Vegas company; Courter Simmons, representing the national tour; and Dominic Scaglione, Jr. representing the Chicago company. And, Michelle Dawson, Kittra Wynn Coomer and Rachel Tyler, who star in the North American tour of Mamma Mia! at the Pioneer Center in Reno, NV, will perform a song from that international hit.
For those in the Radio City audience, members of the Chicago hit Million Dollar Quartet will perform during commercial breaks.
And, what's new this year?
"Ugly Betty" star Mark Indelicato is the official TonyAwards.com Celebrity Tweeter for Tony Awards weekend. The young actor, according to press notes, "will be Tweeting messages and photos about his experiences backstage – his encounters with Tony winners as they first step off-stage, what performers are doing right before they take the stage, and sneak-peek at what happens in the Wings of Radio City Music Hall." TonyAwards.com's Twitter feed is http://twitter.com/TheTonyAwards; to follow Indelicato go to http://twitter.com/markindelicato.
Playbill Magazine editor Blake Ross will also be Tweeting during the Tony telecast (at twitter.com/playbillmag), and Playbill.com will provide full coverage backstage in the Tony press room including a Tony Blog. Updated news stories about winners, and exclusive Tony night photos, will also appear on Playbill.com 7-11 PM.
The Tony Awards will also be simulcast in Times Square on the Clear Channel Spectacolor HD Screen from 7-11 PM and will feature the pre-telecast Creative Arts Awards and the Tony Awards broadcast; Katie McGee and Irena's Vow star Tovah Feldshuh will co-host. Seating will be provided in Duffy Square.
The nominees for the 2009 Tony Awards follow:
Dividing the Estate
God of Carnage
Reasons to Be Pretty
Billy Elliot, The Musical
Next to Normal
Rock of Ages
Shrek The Musical
Best Book of a Musical
Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre
Billy Elliot, The Musical
Music: Elton John
Lyrics: Lee Hall
Next to Normal
Music: Tom Kitt
Lyrics: Brian Yorkey
9 to 5: The Musical
Music and Lyrics: Dolly Parton
Shrek The Musical
Music: Jeanine Tesori
Lyrics: David Lindsay-Abaire
Best Revival of a Play
Joe Turner's Come and Gone
The Norman Conquests
Waiting for Godot
Best Revival of a Musical
Best Special Theatrical Event
Liza's at The Palace
Soul of Shaolin
You're Welcome America. A Final Night with George W. Bush
Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play
Jeff Daniels, God of Carnage
Raúl Esparza, Speed-the-Plow
James Gandolfini, God of Carnage
Geoffrey Rush, Exit the King
Thomas Sadoski, Reasons to Be Pretty
Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play
Hope Davis, God of Carnage
Jane Fonda, 33 Variations
Marcia Gay Harden, God of Carnage
Janet McTeer, Mary Stuart
Harriet Walter, Mary Stuart
Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical
Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical
Stockard Channing, Pal Joey
Sutton Foster, Shrek The Musical
Allison Janney, 9 to 5: The Musical
Alice Ripley, Next to Normal
Josefina Scaglione, West Side Story
Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Play
John Glover, Waiting for Godot
Zach Grenier, 33 Variations
Stephen Mangan, The Norman Conquests
Paul Ritter, The Norman Conquests
Roger Robinson, Joe Turner's Come and Gone
Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play
Hallie Foote, Dividing the Estate
Jessica Hynes, The Norman Conquests
Marin Ireland, Reasons to Be Pretty
Angela Lansbury, Blithe Spirit
Amanda Root, The Norman Conquests
Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical
Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical
Best Scenic Design of a Play
Best Scenic Design of a Musical
Robert Brill, Guys and Dolls
Ian MacNeil, Billy Elliot, The Musical
Scott Pask, Pal Joey
Mark Wendland, Next to Normal
Best Costume Design of a Play
Dale Ferguson, Exit the King
Jane Greenwood, Waiting for Godot
Martin Pakledinaz, Blithe Spirit
Anthony Ward, Mary Stuart
Best Costume Design of a Musical
Gregory Gale, Rock of Ages
Nicky Gillibrand, Billy Elliot, The Musical
Tim Hatley, Shrek The Musical
Michael McDonald, Hair
Best Lighting Design of a Play
Best Lighting Design of a Musical
Best Sound Design of a Play
Paul Arditti, Mary Stuart
Gregory Clarke, Equus
Russell Goldsmith, Exit the King
Scott Lehrer and Leon Rothenberg, Joe Turner's Come and Gone
Best Sound Design of a Musical
Best Direction of a Play
Best Direction of a Musical
* * *
Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre
Regional Theatre Tony Award
Signature Theatre, Arlington, Va.
Isabelle Stevenson Award
Tony Honor for Excellence in the Theatre
For more information visit www.tonyawards.com.