Helen Hunt, 1998 Oscar winner for As Good as It Gets and star of Lincoln Center's upcoming production of Twelfth Night, will participate in the June 7 Tony ceremony at Radio City Music Hall. Other stars scheduled to appear are Alec Baldwin (Macbeth at the Public Theater), Marisa Tomei (Broadway's Wait Until Dark), Nathan Lane (Manhattan Theatre Club's Mizlansky/Zilinsky), Angela Lansbury (four-time Tony winner), Annette Bening, Liam Neeson (Broadway's The Judas Kiss), and Bebe Neuwirth (a Tony winner in 1997 for Chicago). Rosie O'Donnell is hosting for the second year in a row.
The broadcast will feature live production numbers from all four new musical nominees -- Ragtime, The Lion King, The Scarlet Pimpernel and the closed Side Show -- and musical revival nominees -- 1776, Cabaret and The Sound of Music. It was not announced which particular songs would be performed. However, Alan Cumming, star of Cabaret, had previously told Playbill On-Line that his show would most likely perform that musical's opening number, "Willkommen." Unlike recent Tony ceremonies, the four nominated new plays -- Art, Freak, Golden Child, and The Beauty Queen of Leenane -- will also receive a featured spot on the telecast. Tonys spokesman Keith Sherman said it was not certain how the plays would be represented on the telecast, but previous reports have suggested that the four playwrights may provide synopses of their works.
For the second year in a row, the first hour of the awards (8-9 PM) will be a semi-taped broadcast on Public Television. This allows the presentation of all 20 Tony Awards to be broadcast live (as opposed to previous years, which sometimes had a cut-and-paste feel for the pre-taped technical and design awards). The PBS hour will take a look at the 1997-98 season through interviews with directors Julie Taymor, Frank Galati, and Garry Hynes; actors Alan Cumming and Brian Stokes Mitchell; and playwright Terrence McNally. The program will also feature footage of best score nominee Paul Simon working of the now defunct musical The Capeman.
The line-up for the awards on both PBS and CBS is as follows:
PBS (8-9 PM EST): Direction (Play, Musical), Score, Book, Orchestrations of Musical; Choreography, Lighting, Scenic, Costume Design.
CBS (9-11 PM EST): Best Play, Musical, Leading Actor (Play, Musical), Leading Actress (Play, Musical), Featured Actor (Play, Musical), Featured Actress (Play, Musical), Revival. O'Donnell will serve as a producer of the event, with Walter C. Miller -- who's directed Tony broadcasts since 1987 -- serving as executive producer. Roy Somlyo will again serve as managing producer of the Tonys, as he has since 1987. In 1999, however, he'll step down and be succeeded by Edgar Dobie, former president of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Really Useful Company. Somlyo will stay on as a consultant for two further years.
-- By Robert Simonson