The hilarious and theater-happy Julie Klausner will be live-blogging the 66th annual Tony Awards for Vulture on Sunday night at eight, and we’ll be bringing you a gallery of all the red-carpet drapery as soon as the thespians hit the Beacon Theater, but why wait until then to work up enthusiasm for theater’s annual trip to television? There are oh-so-many reasons to love the Tonys in general, and at least six specific ones to look forward to this year’s ceremony in particular.
Neil Patrick Harris
The man can host. Last year’s show closed with one of the best awards-show moments in living memory, with a recap rap written during the ceremony by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Tommy Kail. If he can top or even match that, we’re in for a treat.
The Lead Actress in a Play Category
Nina Arianda, Tracie Bennett, Stockard Channing, Linda Lavin, Cynthia Nixon. Take your pick! You cannot go wrong! Maybe it could be a tie and everyone could win.
The Best Play Category
Often a thin gruel in recent years, but this time there’s an honest horse race from two plays that are both respectable and audience-pleasing: Clybourne Park and Other Desert Cities. (Handicappers have been giving a slight edge to Clybourne.)
The Performance From Once
Remember how great Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova were at the Oscars in 2007? Once the musical is pretty different, and its stars, Steve Kazee and Cristin Milioti, have a very different chemistry. But the film’s tenderness and gentle dreaminess are intact, and the music has that same sweet familiarity, which will seem all the warmer compared to other shows’ bigger, flashier numbers.
Andrew Garfield is a serious contender in the featured actor in a play category — he was stunning in Death of a Salesman. Then there’s also Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, which is nominated for costumes and scenic design. (Yes, it lingered so long in “previews” that it opened in this year’s class of shows rather than last year’s.)
Stephen Sondheim Jokes
How often does one get to bust out one’s Sondheim material? Almost never. But between the Follies revival’s multiple nominations, Bernadette Peters getting the Isabelle Stevenson Award, and Sondheim’s very public disapproval of the Porgy and Bess revival — a show that wound up earning a pile of nominations — we are in for a Sondheim extravaganza.