Despite recently finding himself at the center of a media maelstrom after a Newsweek writer said he was too gay to play straight, Promises, Promises star Sean Hayes told reporters he has zero anxiety over hosting Sunday’s splashy Tony Awards ceremony. “I’ve never hosted anything before, but I never had any ambition to host or to be a host, so it takes the pressure off whether I kill or don’t kill. I’m just going to go out and have fun,” Hayes said.
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And fun is guaranteed, thanks to a guest list that’s star-packed even by Broadway’s increasingly celebrity-driven standards. Jude Law, Denzel Washington, Christopher Walken, Liev Shreiber, and Alfred Molina will battle to earn the title of Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play. “Being on Broadway, and in the theater community as a whole, is like coming home again for me,” Washington told BroadwayWorld.com. The actor added that the ceremony will be “like one big family reunion.” Big-name stars such as Laura Linney, Kelsey Grammer, Scarlett Johansson, Sean Hayes, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Angela Lansbury, and Viola Davis are also up for awards this year.
Though its central players were largely inched out of the performance categories, Fela!—the Jay-Z, Will Smith, and Jada Pinkett Smith-produced, dance-filled musical—is tied with the revival of La Cage aux Folles for a solid 11 nominations each. The revival of August Wilson’s Fences, starring the Oscar-winning Washington and Oscar-nominated Davis, trails just slightly behind with an impressive 10 nods.
Despite those notable nominees, however, some Broadway favorites, such as Nathan Lane and Bebe Neuwirth, were passed over for their roles in the largely reviled musical take on The Addams Family. Broadway baby Kristen Chenoweth was also snubbed for her role in Promises, Promises, and despite winning an Emmy for one of his three turns as Tony host, Hugh Jackman did not make the cut for his limited run in A Steady Rain, nor did his co-star Daniel Craig. Adding to the drama of omitted nominees, the Green Day musical American Idiot was widely viewed as a frontrunner when it opened in April, and while it was nominated for Best Musical, its actors, choreographer, and director were all shut out of nominations, making Idiot the underdog to Best Musical frontrunners Fela! and Memphis. Race’s David Mamet was also left off the list of directors for his efforts, and Bye, Bye Birdie was one of the few revivals that didn’t catch the committee’s eye.
The 64th Annual Tony Awards air from Radio City Musical Hall Sunday on CBS.