Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Sunday’s Tony Awards Must-Sees: Mass Singalong of “Sweet Caroline” with Neil Diamond (?), Lea Michele Knock Out “Funny Girl” Performance Even Though Not Nominated


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.)

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedmanhttps://www.showbiz411.com
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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