What’s Worth Watching: Broadway’s Biggest Night

Kirstin Chenoweth Tony Awards
Matthew Doyle/Courtesy of SLATE PR
Kirstin Chenoweth Tony Awards

The 69th Annual Tony Awards (Sunday, June 7, 8/7c, CBS)

Curtain up! Even if you don’t attend Broadway (or touring) shows as a habit, the Tony Awards is usually among the year’s most thoroughly entertaining awards shows because of the caliber of talent recreating numbers from the season’s most acclaimed new and revived musicals. This year’s ceremony, from the giant Radio City Music Hall stage, is co-hosted by Tony winner Alan Cumming (for the 1998 revival of Cabaret) and Emmy and Tony winner/current nominee Kristin Chenoweth—who is embroiled in one of the year’s tightest races, for Best Leading Actress in an Musical. As the dazzling diva of Roundabout Theatre’s sparkling On the Twentieth Century revival, Chenoweth is up against six-time nominee Kelli O’Hara, the newest Mrs. Anna in a splendid Lincoln Center revival of The King and I. (Living legend Chita Rivera is also nominated, for Kander and Ebb’s final produced musical, The Visit, but seems a long shot.)

Among the most likely slam dunks: Helen Mirren adding another trophy to her shelf for playing Queen Elizabeth II (which won her an Oscar for The Queen) in The Audience; a re-imagined version of the Oscar-winning musical An American in Paris winning for Best Musical; the stunningly immersive adaptation of the best-selling The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time taking Best Play, with its young star Alex Sharp (fresh out of Juilliard) a front-runner for Leading Actor over bigger marquee names like Bradley Cooper (The Elephant Man) and Bill Nighy (Skylight). Regardless of who wins, the Tonys is a spectacle to behold—and be sure not to miss the show-stopping production number from the musical spoof Something Rotten!, which is anything but.