By Michael Riedel
WHO'S on first at the Tony Award telecast?
Details are starting to leak out about the show, which CBS will broadcast June 9 from Radio City Music Hall.
The opening act is always key, since that's when the greatest number of viewers tune in (as the evening drags on, the ratings begin to resemble those for "Smash"). In the past, producers have lobbied hard to front-load the Tonys with their nominated musicals.
They have dreams of "Smokey Joe's Cafe," which kicked off the 1995 Tonys with a rollicking medley of Leiber and Stoller hits. The exposure added a year to the show's Broadway run and helped launch a lucrative tour.
This year, no single show will kick off the telecast. Every Broadway show - and I mean every show - will be part of the opening.
So look for Simba and Elphaba, the Phantom and the Jersey Boys, Diana Ross (not the real one!) and Donna from "Mamma Mia!"
And - in his first Tony appearance - Spider-Man!
The producers of "Spider-Man, Turn Off the Dark," no doubt nervous about their weakening box office, have decided to end their boycott of the Tony Awards and allow their star, Reeve Carney, to perform.
That's a lot to cram into one number. Says a Tony source: "It's a bit of a mess right now. And I'm not sure how happy people are going to be if they get lost in some sort of Broadway mosh pit."
For the past few years, the Tonys have been drifting away from the once iron-clad rule that only nominated productions can appear on the telecast. CBS wants entertainment and sees the telecast as one big advertisement for Broadway. The program will go even further in that direction this year. And that's because the most popular new show in town - "Motown" - wasn't nominated for Best Musical.
A source says "Motown" and its classic song catalog will be "heavily featured" on the Tonys.
Although the show was pretty much savaged by critics, the people who book theaters around the country can't wait to get their hands on it. The road producers, as they're called, were in town two weeks ago for their annual conference and to size up the new shows. "Motown" was at the top of their list.
"It's an absolute home run in every market," one road producer says.
Not so the season's mostnominated and praised musicals - "Matilda" and "Kinky Boots," which one producer dubbed "Billy Elliot 2" and "Hairspray 2."
"Matilda" may be too English for some markets, "Kinky Boots" a little too camp.
The producers of both need a catchy number on the awards show to prove to the road that these musicals have mainstream appeal.
The list of celebrity presenters is a little light this year. The biggest gets are Tom Hanks, nominated for "Lucky Guy," and Scarlett Johansson, who starred in one of the season's biggest misfires, "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof."
She gets classy points for agreeing to appear on the Tonys even though nobody liked her show.
All the new shows will be introduced by actors appearing in long- running musicals. So the little newsboys from "Newsies" will introduce the little orphans from "Annie." The ladies from "Mamma Mia!" - clad in their Super-Trooper outfits - will introduce "Kinky Boots."
Look for host Neil Patrick Harris to show up in a pair of thigh- high red leather boots at some point in the evening.
So much for Broadway being "not just for gays anymore."
Originally published by Michael Riedel.
(c) 2013 The New York Post. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.
A service of YellowBrix, Inc.
Most Popular Stories
- High-Tech Home Theaters Undergoing a Revolution
- Sales of New Homes Fell 14.5 Percent in March
- Obama Opens Japan Trip with Sushi Stop
- Hollywood Bets Big Again on Summer Movies
- Amazon Prime Grabs Classic HBO TV Series
- Procter & Gamble Income Up on Cost Cutting
- Boeing Flying High With Strong First Quarter
- Nestle, Superior Grocers Promote Healthy Meals
- China Slows Down: The Cohen Column
- Bernanke Wishes He'd Explained the Crisis Better