63rd Annual Tony Awards to Be Presented June 7 at Radio City

Tony Awards   63rd Annual Tony Awards to Be Presented June 7 at Radio City Alice or Allison? Billy Elliot The Musical or Next to Normal? Kiril, David or Trent — who will speak first? All these questions and more will be answered during the 63rd Annual Tony Awards, which will be broadcast on CBS beginning at 8 PM ET.
The Tony Award
The Tony Award Photo by Tony Award Productions

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.

Tony Award winners Cynthia Nixon (Rabbit Hole) and Lin-Manuel Miranda (In the Heights) announced the nominations for the 63rd Annual Tony Awards May 5.

Billy Elliot, The Musical earned 15 nominations, the most of any show of the season. Billy Elliot and Mel Brooks' The Producers are now tied for the most Tony nominations ever received by one show.

Other shows that fared well include Next to Normal (11), Hair (8), Shrek the Musical (8), Mary Stuart (7), The Norman Conquests (7), God of Carnage (6) and Joe Turner's Come and Gone (6).

The nominees for the 2009 Tony Awards follow:

Best Play

Best Play

Dividing the Estate
God of Carnage
Reasons to Be Pretty
33 Variations

Best Musical

Billy Elliot, The Musical
Next to Normal
Rock of Ages
Shrek The Musical

Best Book of a Musical

Billy Elliot, The Musical, Lee Hall
Next to Normal, Brian Yorkey
Shrek The Musical, David Lindsay-Abaire
[title of show], Hunter Bell

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
Mary Stuart
The Norman Conquests
Waiting for Godot

Best Revival of a Musical

Guys and Dolls
Hair
Pal Joey
West Side Story

Best Special Theatrical Event

Liza's at The Palace
Slava's Snowshow
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

David Alvarez, Trent Kowalik, and Kiril Kulish ‚ Billy Elliot, The Musical
Gavin Creel, Hair
Brian d'Arcy James, Shrek The Musical
Constantine Maroulis, Rock of Ages
J. Robert Spencer, Next to Normal

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

David Bologna, Billy Elliot, The Musical
Gregory Jbara, Billy Elliot, The Musical
Marc Kudisch, 9 to 5: The Musical
Christopher Sieber, Shrek The Musical
Will Swenson, Hair

Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical

Jennifer Damiano, Next to Normal
Haydn Gwynne, Billy Elliot, The Musical
Karen Olivo, West Side Story
Martha Plimpton, Pal Joey
Carole Shelley, Billy Elliot, The Musical

Best Scenic Design of a Play

Dale Ferguson, Exit the King
Rob Howell, The Norman Conquests
Derek McLane, 33 Variations
Michael Yeargan, Joe Turner's Come and Gone

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

David Hersey, Equus
David Lander, 33 Variations
Brian MacDevitt, Joe Turner's Come and Gone
Hugh Vanstone, Mary Stuart

Best Lighting Design of a Musical

Kevin Adams, Hair
Kevin Adams, Next to Normal
Howell Binkley, West Side Story
Rick Fisher, Billy Elliot, The 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

Acme Sound Partners, Hair
Paul Arditti, Billy Elliot, The Musical
Peter Hylenski, Rock of Ages
Brian Ronan, Next to Normal

Best Direction of a Play

Phyllida Lloyd, Mary Stuart
Bartlett Sher, Joe Turner's Come and Gone
Matthew Warchus, God of Carnage
Matthew Warchus, The Norman Conquests

Best Direction of a Musical

Stephen Daldry, Billy Elliot, The Musical
Michael Greif, Next to Normal
Kristin Hanggi, Rock of Ages
Diane Paulus, Hair

Best Choreography

Karole Armitage, Hair
Andy Blankenbuehler, 9 to 5: The Musical
Peter Darling, Billy Elliot, The Musical
Randy Skinner, Irving Berlin's White Christmas

Best Orchestrations

Larry Blank, Irving Berlin's White Christmas
Martin Koch, Billy Elliot, The Musical
Michael Starobin and Tom Kitt, Next to Normal
Danny Troob and John Clancy, Shrek The Musical


* * *


Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre
Jerry Herman

Regional Theatre Tony Award
Signature Theatre, Arlington, Va.

Isabelle Stevenson Award
Phyllis Newman

Tony Honor for Excellence in the Theatre
Shirley Herz

For more information visit www.tonyawards.com.