The 64th Annual Tony Awards air tonight on CBS.
The play Red and a revival of campy musical La Cage aux Folles are among the top contenders heading into U.S. theatre’s top honours for Broadway, the Tony Awards, that will be handed out tonight.
Among the well-known actors and actresses nominated for the awards being broadcast from New York’s Radio City Music Hall tonight are Denzel Washington, Scarlett Johansson, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Christopher Walken and Jude Law.
Critics are split on whether Washington, 55, who has returned to Broadway in a hailed performance in the August Wilson play Fences, or British actor Alfred Molina will win best actor, while Viola Davis is widely tipped to win best actress playing Washington’s wife in Fences.
Molina received strong reviews for his performance as abstract artist Mark Rothko in Red, which is widely tipped to win best play after being transferred from London’s
West End. Red competes with Next Fall, Time Stands Still and In the Next Room or the Vibrator Play for the Tony’s top award.
But U.S. critics are split on their choice for best musical between rock band Green Day’s American Idiot, Memphis, a romp that looks at the roots of rock ‘n’ roll, and Fela! a dance musical telling of Nigerian Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti.
Fela! is the surprise critical hit of last season, and it picked up the most Tony nominations along with La Cage aux Folles.
British stage veteran Douglas Hodge, who made his Broadway debut alongside Kelsey Grammer in La Cage aux Folles as a gay couple dealing with their son’s impending marriage, has earned the most buzz for best musical actor, along with lesser odds for Sahr Ngaujah from Fela!
La Cage aux Folles is expected to win the best revival of a musical, competing with A Little Night Music which stars Catherine Zeta-Jones. Zeta-Jones appears even with Memphis star Montego Glover in the race for best actress in a musical.
This year’s 64th annual Tony Awards will be hosted by Will & Grace star Sean Hayes, who is nominated for best actor in a musical with Promises, Promises. Celebrity presenters will include Katie Holmes, Angela Lansbury, Cate Blanchett, Antonio Banderas and Laura Linney.
Hayes, a gay actor who was at the centre of a recent controversy when a Newsweek magazine writer criticized his portrayal of a straight character in Promises, Promises, told reporters in a conference call that he and co-star, Kristin Chenoweth, will perform at the Tonys, but he did not give away details.
He said that Tony producers had planned numbers from several shows and that Green Day would perform, but he did not elaborate or address the Newsweek controversy.