THE TONY AWARD
If your nickname is Tony and you are an actress, director, producer, philanthropist and co-founder of the American Theatre Wing, you must be Antoinette Perry. Ms. Perry has been immortalized since her death in 1946 with an award, the Tony, created the following year to recognize excellence in live performance from Broadway to Hollywood. Initial performers and presenters included Mickey Rooney, Ethel Waters, David Wayne and Herb Shriner while winners that first evening included Arthur Miller, Helen Hayes, Agnes de Mille, Ingrid Bergman, Patricia Neal, Elia Kazen and Jose Ferrer.
That celebratory ceremony has continued to grow in honor and prestige and this year, the 70th, is no exception. On Sunday, June 12, the musical sensation “Hamilton” by Lin-Manuel Miranda may walk away (or run away or rap away) with many or all of its record 16 nominations. It follows 15 years later its closest competitor, Mel Brooks’ musical “The Producers” in 2001 and “Billy Elliot: The Musical” in 2009 with 15 each.
While Angela Lansbury earns kudos for hosting or co-hosting the most ceremonies with five, this year’s honors go to Tony Award-winner James Corden, the late night talkshow host of The Late Late Show fame. He won his Tony for the lead in “One Man, Two Guvnors." Joining him on stage to do the honors will be Barbra Streisand, who hasn’t appeared at the awards since 1970, as well as Oprah, Cate Blanchett, Steve Martin, Edie Brickell, Carole King, Audra McDonald, Saoirse Ronan, Patina Miller and Nathan Lane.If you don’t have a coveted ticket to New York’s Beacon Theatre, where the awards are presented by the Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing, make a reservation for the gala celebration at the Chestnut Street Playhouse in Norwich where the fun and festivities begin at 6:30 p.m. with hosts Lisa Foss and Maureen Pollard in charge of the night.Come prepared to enjoy delicious food from Olde Tymes Restaurant of Norwich as well as raffles, trivia contests, a silent auction and a pool of predictions. The event will be shown on a giant screen in the intimate black box theater. For tickets ($50), go to http://bit.ly/CSPTony or call 860-886-2378.As for the 24 varied categories, will Steve Martin and Edie Brickell’s “Bright Star” shine as the best musical? Will Arthur Miller’s drama “The Crucible” headline as Best Revival? With either Jeff Daniel in “Blackbird” or Frank Langella in “The Father” scoop Best Actor in a play? How will “Eclipsed” stand up to “King Charles III”? Half the fun is guessing the outcome, judging the gowns and hearing the acceptance speeches! Be there so your voice and vote are counted.Heads up that the Chestnut Street Playhouse will be offering its second 2016 Main Stage production with John Patrick Shanley’s probing drama “Doubt: A Parable” from June 16-26, Thursday to Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. It’s 1964, the Bronx, and the nun who heads the Catholic school has doubts about the conduct of a new young priest with a student. Is it inappropriate? Tickets are $20.If you are a theater lover, then the Tony Viewing Party at the Chestnut Street Playhouse, 24 Chestnut Street, Norwich, is a perfect way to celebrate the stars in front of and behind the glorious curtain.