The 70th Annual Tony Awards are upon us! The June 12 ceremony, broadcast at 8pm EDT on CBS, is Broadway’s big night out. This year, the Tonys are more exciting than ever. Here’s why the 2016 Tonys are a must-see.
The 2016 Tony Awards: Why to watch
James Corden is hosting.
Tony-winner (for the play One Man, Two Guvnors in 2011) James Corden will be hosting the awards. On his popular talk show, he’s proven himself a talented singer doing karaoke in his car with Adele and others. A hilarious, talented entertainer who’s used to hosting his own show, Corden should keep the June 12 awards ceremony running smoothly.
This year, Lin Manuel Miranda’s historical juggernaut Hamilton earned a record-setting 16 nominations. The unorthodox rap-meets-showtune musical has struck a chord with the American psyche, and has already won a Grammy. Billboard and Rolling Stone included the show’s album in their annual rankings of best records, and Oprah summed up her reaction to seeing the show with, “No words. Just exultation!” Expect multiple wins for Hamilton.
The live performances are way better than Youtube.
The Tonys mark the one time where you can watch numbers from the year’s best musicals without being at the theater. And while scouring Youtube for illicit clips of a favorite song can work, seeing the real thing, performed in costume, from multiple shows under one roof is far better. We’re most excited to relisten to Cynthia Erivo from the Color Purple and Jessie Mueller from Waitress.
The awards are extra-competitive this year.
Varietyhails 2016 an “ultra-competitive” year for the Tonys. An over-crowded roster of talented actors and actresses means that multiple critically-acclaimed performances failed to earn nominations. Benjamin Walker in American Psycho, Ana Villafane in On Your Feet, and Broadway icons Audra McDonald and Lea Salonga in Shuffle Along and Allegiance were all considered shoo-ins. In several categories, Hamilton is competing against itself, and there are no clear winners.
There will be more A-Listers than usual.
They call the Tonys “Broadway’s Oscars,” but this year, it’s hard to see the distinction in the nominee and presenter lists. Academy Award winners Jessica Lange, Lupita Nyong’o are nominated for awards, as are Oscar nominees Frank Langella, Michelle Williams and Sophie Okenedo. Cate Blanchett will present Tony awards along with with Saoirse Roanan and Steve Martin.
The nominees are the most diverse they’ve ever been.
While the 2016 Oscars garnered scorn for their lack of diversity, the Tony Awards this year are a shining example of how diverse theater can be. “A lot of Broadway producers are realizing that the more diverse your show is, the more diverse your audience is going to be — at least that’s the hope,” says Pun Bandhu, a spokesman for the Asian American Performers Action Coalition in a New York Times article detailing the striking level of diversity among this year’s Broadway shows.