The Tony Awards have stars – and those who are usually out of the spotlight

NEW YORK — Darren Criss’ favorite night of the year has arrived. It’s the Tony Awards. “I’m never silent about the Tonys. I love the Tonys,” he says.

Criss won’t just be watching the Tonys on Sunday, he’ll be working as well. He’s co-host with Julianne Hough of an hour-long pre-Tony celebration at Radio City Music Hall, and he even wrote an original song about the show he’ll be performing, revealing “a bit of my nerdy inclinations. “.

Criss and Hough will cast the Creative Arts Tonys on Paramount+, then hand over hosting duties to Ariana DeBose for the main three-hour CBS TV show from the same stage, live coast-to-coast for the first time.

The season – with 34 new productions – represents a full return to theaters after nearly two years of pandemic-enforced shutdown. In the last Tonys nine months ago, winners were drawn from just 18 eligible plays and musicals, and many competitive categories were exhausted.

DeBose, the Tony-nominated theater veteran and Oscar-winner for “West Side Story,” said Broadway had to attend a party.

“I feel like if ever there was time, now is the time,” she said. “I think it’s a triumph to just have gotten to this point, to have made art and to have a show.”

The telecast will feature performances from this year’s Tony Award-nominated musicals including “A Strange Loop,” “Company,” “Girl from the North Country,” “MJ,” “Mr. Saturday Night”, “Music Man”, “Paradise Square” and “Six”. The original cast members of the 2007 Tony Award-winning musical “Spring Awakening” will also team up and perform.

“A Strange Loop,” a theatrical meta-journey about a playwright writing a musical, enters the show with 11 Tony nominations. Close behind with 10 nominations each are “MJ,” an organic musical by the King of Pop stuffed with his greatest hits, and “Paradise Square,” a musical about Irish immigrants and black Americans scrambling to survive. New York at the time of the Civil War.

The best actresses in a musical are Sharon D Clarke of the revival of “Caroline, or Change” and Joaquina Kalukango of “Paradise Square”. The best actor in a musical may be Jaquel Spivey of “A Strange Loop” against Myles Frost as the King of Pop in “MJ the Musical.”

“The Lehman Trilogy,” Stefano Massini’s play spanning 150 years about what led to the collapse of financial giant Lehman Brothers, is the top contender for Best New Game, while David Morse in a revival of ” How I Learned to Drive” by Paula Vogel is the main contender for Best Actor in a Play. Her co-star, Mary-Louise Parker, could become the first actor to receive the Tonys for Best Actress in a Play back-to-back.

The producers are once again expanding the show through streaming partner Paramount+, adding an extra hour before the three-hour main awards telecast to celebrate Tony’s creative nominees in categories including sound design and lighting. . Often in the past, these acceptances were taped earlier and inserted into the broadcast.

Criss and Hough — who each had roles this spring on Broadway — are hosting this first hour, which will air exclusively on the streaming network.

“I think they recognized that a lot of the moments that weren’t made public were worth showing and were worth showing and were worth giving to the people who lived through those really amazing moments. a little recognition and recognition,” said Criss, who stars in a cover of David Mamet’s “American Buffalo.”

Hough, who made her Broadway debut with a role in the all-girl political comedy “POTUS,” was impressed with the talent level of her peers.

“I always consider Broadway performers and creatives to be artistic athletes, because ability, tenacity, discipline, hard work and everything that goes into it – and artistry – is just beyond that.” , the “Dancing with the Stars,” said the veteran.


Mark Kennedy is at

ABC News

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