Photo Credit: CBS
This Sunday, June 10th, Broadway will again descend onto the stage of the famed Radio City Music Hall to celebrate the 72nd Annual TONY® Awards. This year’s awards ceremony will be hosted by distinguished pop and theatre artists Sara Bareilles and Josh Groban and will feature live performances from some of the biggest shows and names on Broadway. Dance Network has put together a list of the FIVE big things to watch for on this year’s telecast:
1. The Performances and Presenters
Every year the TONY® awards telecast offers theatre fans an opportunity to see live performances from the productions nominated for Best Musical and Best Revival Of A Musical. It’s the best chance for those outside of New York City to get a real taste of the current season on Broadway.
This year, expect to see performances from both of the twelve-category nominated musicals Mean Girls, and SpongeBob SquarePants, as well as Disney’s film to stage translation of Frozen, the Broadway transfer of Atlantic Theatre Company’s The Band’s Visit, and the much lauded revivals of Carousel, Once On This Island, and Lincoln Center’s My Fair Lady.
There are sure to be a solid share of theatrical, film, and music stars making their way onto the massive Radio City stage to present awards. This year, The TONY® Awards is reporting Uzo Aruba, Matt Bomer, Claire Danes, Armie Hammer, Tatiana Maslany, Leslie Odom, Jr., Jim Parsons, Zachary Quinto, Andrew Rannells and more will be on hand to present.
Leslie Odom Jr. and Katherine McPhee announce the 2018 TONY® nominees on May 1st. Photo Credit: Jenny Anderson/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions
Music icon Bruce Springsteen and film, stage, and tv star John Leguizamo will each receive a Special TONY® Award for their theatrical contributions, and legendary dancer and performer Chita Rivera and composer Andrew Lloyd Webber will both receive the Special TONY® Award For Lifetime Achievement In The Theatre.
2. The Hosts
Popular music sensations and Broadway veterans, Sara Bareilles and Josh Groban take on the hosting duties this year, providing a mainstream draw to the fine arts event.
Bareilles, fresh of her duties playing the starring role of Jenna in Waitress— the musical she also composed— was nominated for a 2016 TONY® for Best Original Score (Music And/Or Lyrics) Written For The Theatre. Groban, who originated the role of Pierre in Natasha, Pierre, And The Great Comet Of 1812, was nominated for a 2017 TONY® for Best Performance By A Leading Actor In A Musical for his portrayal.
The duo seem excited about the opportunity, and their audience, without a doubt, will be expecting to hear the two sing.
3. Who Will Win Best Musical?
Photo Credits: Joan Marcus/Matthew Murphy/Deen van Meer
Always the most exciting category of the evening, the winner of the coveted Best Musical TONY® medallion is the final award presented in the evening. Of the four nominated new musicals, the speculation of which production will take the trophy is very much up in the air. The Drama Desk Awards, presented last Sunday evening, awarded SpongeBob SquarePants with the trophy for Outstanding Musical, but, since the highly acclaimed The Band’s Visit was nominated in 2017 as an Off-Broadway contender, it was not eligible this year. Mean Girls and Frozen have had tremendous starts competing and campaigning for the award as well, and with brand recognition riding strong for both franchises, it’s truly anybody’s game.
4. The Best Choreography Category
Christopher Gattelli, Casey Nicholaw, Steven Hoggett, Justin Peck. Photo Credits:IBDB/Getty/BroadwayWorld
Since PBS discontinued their broadcast of the Creative Arts TONY® ceremony in 2010, fans interested in the winners of Best Choreography — (as well as Best Sound Design of a Play/Musical, Best Costume Design of a Play/Musical, Best Scenic Design of a Play/Musical, Best Lighting Design of a Play/Musical, Best Book, Best Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre, and Best Orchestrations)— will have to pay special attention to the made-for-tv packages the TONY® Awards producers put together to announce the winners. The packages, often presented just before commercial breaks, usually include only snippets of the winners’ acceptance speeches.
Nominated this year for Best Choreography are Casey Nicholaw for Mean Girls, Steven Hoggett for Harry Potter And The Cursed Child: Parts One and Two, New York City Ballet soloist and resident director Justin Peck for Carousel, and Christopher Gattelli for both My Fair Lady and SpongeBob SquarePants.
Peck seems to be a heavy favorite for the award; he won both the Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards earlier this season.
Dance Network will announce the winner of the TONY® for Best Choreography as soon as it’s public.
5. The Acceptance Speeches
Acceptance speeches, at least in recent years, have become another huge reason fans turn into to award shows. With Lin-Manual Miranda’s famous, “Love is love is love is love…” acceptance sonnet from his 2016 win for the score of his musical Hamilton, to Oprah’s early 2018 Golden Globe speech that stirred rumors of a Presidential run, fans are sure to tune in to see what their favorite celebs might say next on live television.
In the recent past, political issues and social media campaigns have driven the on-stage colloquy of speeches and the online discussions that immediately follow. Social crusades like #OscarsSoWhite and #BroadwaySoWhite have taken the web by storm, prompting further discourse on representation onstage and in film. These discussions have brought about important questions that the nominating committee, producers and creatives have been nudged to address; so, will fans see award winners or presenters press these issues?
This season, proponents of a more equal representation onstage and in TONY® recognition have already stirred deliberation as four caucasian male choreographers were nominated for Best Choreography (while the three women— one of whom is African-American —and the Latinx male choreographer who were also eligible, were overlooked). The four nominated dance creators, all of whom critics and fans believe created remarkable works, are all duly eligible, yet the ideality of representation, it has been argued, was lost in the season’s nominees.
The #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, which have also made significant traction in the last year, have gained a prominent uptick in their award show visibility. Theatre fans and TONY® spectators will remember it was just last season that the now accused sexual assault perpetrator Kevin Spacey hosted the ceremony. With the enormous impact of the indictment of film and theatrical producer Harvey Weinstein on rape and criminal sexual act charges in New York, and the almost weekly stream of new accusations and apologies of entertainment figures, will theatre and dance fans at least see these social issues acknowledged in speeches?
If they do, it’ll certainly make for some historic television. Guess we’ll all have to watch.
WHEN and WHERE: The 2018 TONY’s® will broadcast Sunday, June 10th, LIVE on CBS. A CBS Red Carpet Special will be available via Facebook LIVE from 5:00 - 7:00 P.M. ET. as well as a LIVE webcast of On Stage Special: TONY® Awards LIVE From The Red Carpet through SPECTRUM NEWS NY1 from 5:30 - 7:30 P.M. ET.
Dance Network will be TWEETING all Sunday evening long providing the latest on the winners, the performances, and the latest breaking dance and theatre news.
Michael Mahany is a writer, host, and serves as the New York City Correspondent for Dance Network. Follow him on and .