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The show goes on: Tony Awards pre-show telecast kicks off Broadway's biggest night despite strike - All The News You Must Read In One Place!
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The show goes on: Tony Awards pre-show telecast kicks off Broadway’s biggest night despite strike

The show goes on: Tony Awards pre-show telecast kicks off Broadway’s biggest night despite strike

NEW YORK — An nervy Tony Awards kicked off Sunday with a pre-show heavy on unpredictability after the Hollywood writers’ strike left Broadway’s biggest night without a script.

Entropy has been inserted into what is usually an upbeat, safe and chummy night. The strike by the Writers Guild of America has left Broadway’s biggest night to reply on spontaneity in a new venue far from the theater district.

“Tonight is unscripted, darlings,” host Ariana DeBose warned those attending the show. She revealed to the crowd the only words that will be seen on the teleprompter: “Please wrap up.”

A pre-show on Pluto TV beginning at 6:30 p.m. Eastern is being hosted by Julianne Hough and Skylar Astin. The duo will then throw to the three-hour main event led by Ariana DeBose on CBS and Paramount+ starting at 8 p.m. Eastern.

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A total of 26 Tony Awards will be handed out Sunday for a season that had 40 new productions — 15 musicals, 24 plays and one special engagement during the first post-pandemic full season.

The first award of the night went to “ Kimberly Akimbo, ” which won best score for Jeanine Tesori and David Lindsay-Abaire.

“Where do we look?” Lindsay-Abaire said. “Please support the WGA for everything that they’re fighting for.”

Broadway had some very serious works this season, like the new plays “Cost of Living” and “The Kite Runner” and revivals of “Topdog/Underdog” and “Death of a Salesman,” led by Wendell Pierce. A revival of “Parade,” about the lynching of a Jewish businessman starring Ben Platt, was also well received.

The season also had an element of the fantastical in a puppet-heavy adaptation of the lifeboat book “Life of Pi,” satire in “The Thanksgiving Play” and pure silliness in “Shucked” and “Peter Pan Goes Wrong.”

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“Some Like It Hot,” a musical adaptation of the classic cross-dressing movie comedy that starred Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon, goes into the night with a leading 13 Tony Award nominations. For the top crown, it is pitted against “& Juliet,” which reimagines “Romeo and Juliet” and adds some of the biggest pop hits of the past few decades, “New York, New York,” which combined two generations of Broadway royalty in John Kander and Lin-Manuel Miranda, and “Shucked,” a lightweight musical comedy studded with corn puns.

The critical musical darling and intimate, funny-sad “Kimberly Akimbo,” with Victoria Clark playing a teen who ages four times faster than the average human, rounds out the best musical category.

The best new play category is a competition among Tom Stoppard’s “Leopoldstadt,” which explores Jewish identity with an intergenerational story, and “Fat Ham,” James Ijames’ Pulitzer Prize-winning adaptation of Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” set at a Black family’s barbecue in the modern South.

The rest of the category is made up of “Ain’t No Mo,’” the short-lived but critical applauded work by playwright and actor Jordan E. Cooper, Stephen Adly Guirgis’ Pulitzer Prize-winning play “Between Riverside and Crazy” and “Cost of Living,” parallel stories of two caretakers and their respective patients.

The answers to some intriguing questions pend: Can Audra McDonald ( “Ohio State Murders” ) extend her record as the most awarded actor in Tony Awards history? Will either J. Harrison Ghee (“Some Like It Hot”) or Alex Newell (“Shucked”) become the first nonbinary person to win a Tony for acting? (Last year, “Six” composer and writer Toby Marlow became the first out nonbinary winner.)

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Performances are slated from the casts of “Camelot,” “Into the Woods,” “& Juliet,” “Kimberly Akimbo,” “New York, New York,” “Parade,” “Shucked,” “Some Like It Hot” and “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.”

In addition, Joaquina Kalukango — the winner of last year’s Tony for best lead actress in a musical — will sing, as will the casts from “A Beautiful Noise” and “Funny Girl.” That means there’ll be plenty of star power, from Josh Groban to Lea Michele.

It will all take place at the United Palace Theatre, in the Washington Heights neighborhood of Manhattan — a new venue for the ceremony, many miles from Times Square and the theater district.

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AP National Writer Jocelyn Noveck contributed to this report.

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Mark Kennedy is at http://twitter.com/KennedyTwits

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For more coverage of the 2023 Tony Awards, visit https://apnews.com/hub/tony-awards

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Published: 2023-06-11 23:18:21

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