The opening number for the CBS portion of this year's Tony Awards broadcast will feature a salute to composer Richard Rodgers, who would be celebrating his 100th birthday this year. A host of theatre favorites will take part in the Rodgers medley, which will culminate with the cast of the current revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Oklahoma! singing part of the show's title tune. Roy Somlyo, president of the American Theatre Wing, confirmed this information at the recent Tony Nominees luncheon.
The company of the Trevor Nunn-Susan Stroman Oklahoma! will also perform "The Farmer and the Cowman" as its official number later in the program, according to a show spokesman. Songs from Thoroughly Modern Millie, Urinetown, Mamma Mia!, The Sweet Smell of Success and Into the Woods will also be part of the two-hour CBS broadcast, which will be hosted by Tony winners Bernadette Peters and Gregory Hines.
At press time, it seems that Thoroughly Modern Millie's number will include "Forget About the Boy" as well as a portion of the show's title tune. Urinetown is scheduled to perform their second-act show stopper "Run Freedom Run," led by Hunter Foster and the show's company, according to Variety. The ABBA musical Mamma Mia! will feature a medley of tunes performed by the company and led by its three stars, Louise Pitre, Judy Kaye and Karen Mason, a spokesperson for the show told PBOL. The Sweet Smell of Success will offer John Lithgow and the show's chorus singing "Dirt," a tribute to the gossip found in the daily newspaper columns. And, the Into the Woods company will sing parts of its Act I finale and its second-act anthem, "Children Will Listen."
Playbill On-Line has also learned that likely presenters for the ceremony will include Harry Connick Jr., who composed the score to this season's Thou Shalt Not; Lea Salonga, who will star in next season's revival of Flower Drum Song; Joanna Gleason, star of the original production of Into the Woods, which is back on Broadway this season; Calista Flockhart, who began her career on the stage before achieving "Ally McBeal" fame; Hugh Jackman, the Australian heartthrob who starred in the original mounting of the Royal National Theatre's production of Oklahoma!; Whoopi Goldberg, a Broadway veteran who is one of the producers of Thoroughly Modern Millie; the star of stage and screen Mary Tyler Moore; husband-and-wife actors Liam Neeson — who stars in this season's The Crucible — and Natasha Richardson; Anne Heche, who will soon make her Broadway bow in the Pulitzer Prize winning Proof; Tony-winning composer Marvin Hamlisch, who wrote the score for this season's The Sweet Smell of Success; rapper Mos Def, currently starring in the Pulitzer Prize-winning play Topdog/Underdog; Emmy-winning actress Doris Roberts; Tony winner Jerry Orbach, who starred in the original cast of The Fantasticks, which closed this year after an unprecendented run; two-time Tony winner Donna Murphy; former "Knots Landing" actress Michele Lee; and that "Sex and the City" star, Cynthia Nixon.
The American Theatre Wing's 56th Annual Antoinette Perry "Tony" Awards ceremony will be broadcast live on June 2. PBS stations begin the national telecast at 8 PM EST with "The First Ten Awards: Tonys 2002," produced for PBS by Thirteen/WNET New York. CBS will televise "The 2002 Tony Awards" beginning at 9 PM. Radio City Music Hall is located on Sixth Avenue between 50th Street and 51st Street in New York City.