Tony Update: Stars Added, Songs Chosen, Plays Videotaped

Tony Awards   Tony Update: Stars Added, Songs Chosen, Plays Videotaped
More stars have been added to the lineup of presenters at the June 1 Tony Awards broadcast.

More stars have been added to the lineup of presenters at the June 1 Tony Awards broadcast.

Bernadette Peters, Susan Sarandon, Jimmy Smits, Alec Baldwin and Marilu Henner, will join the previously announced Julie Andrews, Glenn Close, Whoopi Goldberg, Roseanne, Matthew Broderick, Mary Tyler Moore, Christine Baranski and others. Rosie O'Donnell will host.

Contrary to previous reports, scenes from nominated new plays will be showcased on the CBS-TV broadcast, in brief, taped segments with synopses specially written by the plays' authors (Horton Foote, Pam Gems, Alfred Uhry, David Hare).

Production numbers from the three currently-running, nominated musicals -- Steel Pier, Titanic and The Life will be staged live, as will numbers from the four nominated Best Musical Revivals, though the producers are unlikely to do anything with Juan Darien, which closed earlier this year. Here are the new musical production numbers:
* "Tomorrow" from Annie, featuring Brittny Kissinger.
* "Everybody Dance" from Steel Pier, featuring Gregory Harrison, Debra Monk, Joel Blum & Karen Ziemba).
* "My Body" from The Life featuring Sam Harris, Lillias White & Pamela Isaacs).
* "Launching," the opening ensemble sequence from Titanic.
* "Bon Voyage" from Candide, with Jim Dale & Andrea Martin.
* "All That Jazz" from Chicago, with James Naughton, Bebe Neuwirth, Ann Reinking.
* "Shy" (Once Upon A Mattress with Sarah Jessica Parker.

There are no current plans to showcase a number from nominated but closed Juan Darien, or non-nominated Jekyll & Hyde, Play On! or Dream. However, there will be an opening number, featuring host O'Donnell, cavorting with members of the long-running Broadway musicals Beauty & The Beast, Rent, Cats, Smokey Joe's Cafe, Grease! and Noise/Funk. Oddly enough, Phantom Of The Opera, The King And I and Miss Saigon have not been mentioned for that segment. Among the stars chosen to either present awards or introduce segments during the three-hour Tony show will be Andrews (who declined her Best Actress nomination in 1996 and boycotted the Tony ceremony when Victor/Victoria was nominated for no other Tony), Christine Baranski (The House Of Blue Leaves), Matthew Broderick (Master Harold...And The Boys), Glenn Close (Sunset Boulevard), Whoopi Goldberg (Forum), Mary Tyler Moore (Breakfast At Tiffany's), Martin Short (The Goodbye Girl), Susan Sarandon, Marilu Henner (Grease, Alec Baldwin (A Streetcar Named Desire), Jimmy Smits and Roseanne (The Wizard Of Oz).

At a press conference April 4 the American Theatre Wing not only announced that the 1996-97 Tony Awards would be held at Radio City Music Hall and hosted by Rosie O'Donnell, but the awards would have an extra hour, 8-9 PM (EST), to be broadcast on public television. During that extra hour, ten awards will be given out live, with 12 more to follow during the 9-11 PM CBS-TV telecast. Short interviews will also be rolled into the first hour, featuring such notables as actors Christopher Plummer, Bebe Neuwirth, Andrea Martin, Robert Cuccioli, directors Michael Blakemore (The Life), Anthony Page (A Doll's House), Charles Nelson Reilly (The Gin Game, Walter Bobbie (Chicago), Scott Ellis, Julie Taymor (Juan Darien), choreographers Wayne Cilento (Dream), Joey McKneely (The Life), Ann Reinking (Chicago) and Susan Stroman (Steel Pier), and designers Beverly Emmons (lighting for Jekyll & Hyde), Martin Pakledinaz (costumes for The Life), Ken Billington and William Ivey Long.

Michael Blakemore (The Life), Anthony Page (Doll's House), Wayne Cilento (Dream), Joey McKneely (choreog. The Life), Beverly Emmons (lighting for Jekyll), Martin Pakledinaz (costumes for The Life). Playbill On-Line posts news, features and selections from the exclusive Tony Playbill every day in a special directory at: bin/plb/news?cmd=list&selector=tony which can be found under "Tony News" on the navigation bar on the left side of every page on the website. Take a moment to glance over and check it out, under "News."

-- By David Lefkowitz

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