When the Tony Awards presentation gets underway Sunday night from
Perhaps most emblematic of those efforts is an appearance by
FULL COVERAGE Tony Awards 2015
How Chenoweth and Cumming will fare is one question awaiting viewers. There are plenty of others when the telecast gets underway Sunday at 8 p.m. EDT/PDT on CBS. Here are six to watch:
‘Home’ or ‘Paris’: Best musical is seen as Broadway's top prize, conferring honors and ticket sales to shows that would have struggled without it. "A Gentlemen's Guide to Love & Murder" and
The two shows shared the honor of most overall noms, and one will almost certainly win best musical. There's a good chance it will be "Home." With its accessible music and dramatic story, it offers something for all constituencies. But two-horse races can be unpredictable when they're not at Belmont. "Something Rotten!" the meta-musical about 16th-century theater producers who need to devise a tuner to rival Shakespeare, evokes comparisons to "Monty Python's Spamalot," which won best musical a decade ago.
Feature presentations: If the Tonys are full of surprises elsewhere, they’re really chockablock with upset candidates in the featured actor category. To wit: The six nominees for featured actor in a play this year -- Richard McCabe (“The Audience”),
Kelli's time? It's hard enough to take on a national sweetheart who also happens to be hosting the show. It's even harder if you're trying to break your own five-time losing streak. That's what musical mainstay Kelli O'Hara will seek to do when she tries to win an elusive Tony on her sixth try, for her performance as Anna in the revival of "The King & I," a show almost certain to win best revival of a musical.
O’Hara often seems to have the lead position only to be one-upped: See under 2008, when she took on a legendary show in “South Pacific” and was bested by Patti Lupone in the “Gypsy” revival. In her path this year is an equally formidable bunch. They include Chenoweth, nominated for her turn in the critically admired “On the Twentieth Century,” and
Helen and Patty: OK, so it's not a surprise. But in a time when there’s much just frustration about roles for older women in Hollywood, the Tonys provide a refreshing antidote. Exhibits A and B:
Play acting: At the Oscars this year, best actor was an unusually deep field, and it seems to be carrying over to the Tonys, whose lead-actor-in-a-play race is one of the most diverse. That's not the only thing the two fields have in common: Bradley Cooper is another. The "American Sniper" actor is not only nominated but has a good shot to win for his portrayal of Merrick in "The Elephant Man."
But for all his supporters, Cooper is hardly a lock. You could make a case for
The actor most likely to win, though, is Alex Sharp. If his performance as a sweet but tortured young man in British import "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time" (a near-certainty to win best play) isn't remarkable enough, his back story is: This is Sharp's first professional job.
NPH: So about that Harris appearance. This will be the first time since 2010 he won't be a Tonys nominee or host. (Last year, he didn't host but won actor in a musical for "Hedwig and the Angry Inch" and also had performed a raucous number from that show.) It will also be his first major award-show appearance since his rather ignoble Oscar performance in February. How much will he acknowledge his sputter of an evening? Harris isn't above laughing at himself. Then again, he also might want to put it as far in the rear-view mirror as possible. The best medicine for a bad memory is forgetting, or a spirited musical number.