The biggest moments on Sunday’s Tony Awards show may not come from nominated shows.
There will be a show stopping performance from Lea Michele and the cast of “Funny Girl.” This is ironic since “Funny Girl” received just one nomination when it was eligible last year. The show was a misfire. But Lea Michele arrived last September, the show became a hit, and there are standing ovations every night.
“Funny Girl” cannot be eligible again, and neither are actors who take over roles. But when Lea Michele hits that stage Sunday night, theater fans will sell out the rest of her run this summer.
Not nominated this year is the Neil Diamond musical, “A Beautiful Noise.” The book wasn’t good, and the score is made up of Diamond’s old hits. But the Tony are counting on Will Swenson bringing down the house as Diamond. There will undoubtedly be a medley of the big songs ending with a huge singalong to “Sweet Caroline.” Another showstopper. PS Will Neil Diamond attend?
The Tony will also play up the killer moment from last year’s show by having 2022 Best Actress in A Musical winner Joaquina Kalukango perform in a real spotlight. That should be amazing. And there will be performances from all the new nominated musicals including Camelot, Into The Woods, & Juliet, Kimberly Akimbo, New York New York, Parade, Shucked, Some Like It Hot and the best — Sweeney Todd with Josh Groban and Annaleigh Ashford.
To kick things off: Oscar winner Ariana DeBose will perform the opening, and we’ll see how she hosts the show beyond that without a script.
The Tonys are a little odd this year. The Writers Guild strike means there’s no script everyone will wing it. There’s no picket line but the WGA has asked its Tony nominees not to attend, including Tom Stoppard, the likely playwright of choice for his extraordinary “Leopoldstadt.” The speeches should be memorable.
And, of course, the venue: the United Palace Theater in Washington Heights. Not Radio City Music Hall. Maybe this was for Lin-Manuel Miranda, promoting the neighborhood. The theater has nothing to do with Broadway but it’s beautiful and historic. I hope they show all of its art and architecture on CBS beginning at 8pm on Sunday. (A pre show starts at 6:30pm on PlutoTV.)