On Sunday night, will Broadway’s runaway hit run the trophy table?
Well, not all, of course: It can’t grab a statuette for best revival or for best featured actor in a play. But it is possible that its 16 nominations, a record, could result in 13 Tonys — one more than reigning champ “The Producers,” which in 2001 scooped up 12 wins — including for best musical, the evening’s most coveted award.
And given the hoopla surrounding “Hamilton” — a level of public and media enthusiasm unlike anything I’ve witnessed in two decades of covering theater — wouldn’t a history-making sweep be a fitting capstone for a groundbreaking musical about the making of history?
I will be rooting for “Hamilton” to rack up the lucky 13, and not just because it makes a better story to write in the press room of New York’s Beacon Theatre, from which CBS will broadcast the three-hour proceedings hosted by James Corden.
No, it’s because “Hamilton” deserves them. It’s because the theater community needs to acknowledge with outsize emphasis what this work and its creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda, have done: made seeing this musical a national obsession, and musical theater a vital link, again, at last, in the American cultural chain.
Here’s what else to watch for:
Celebrity guests: Host Corden (a Tony winner himself for “One Man, Two Guvnors”) will get help from fellow winners Angela Lansbury, James Earl Jones and Neil Patrick Harris. Barbra Streisand will take the stage at the Tonys for the first time since 1970.
Also on the guest list: Claire Danes, Jake Gyllenhaal, Daniel Dae Kim, Diane Lane, Lucy Liu, Uzo Aduba, Blair Underwood, Oprah Winfrey, Cate Blanchett, Carole King, Nathan Lane, Steve Martin and Edie Brickell.
Performances: The telecast will offer performances from all nine new and revival musicals nominated: “Hamilton,” “Fiddler on the Roof,” “Waitress,” “Bright Star,” “She Loves Me,” “School of Rock,” “The Color Purple,” “Shuffle Along” and “Spring Awakening,” as well as “On Your Feet!,” which missed the new musical cut.
“Spring Awakening,” which closed in January, turned to Kickstarter to raise $200,000 to defray the costs of appearing on the show.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Where to watch
James Corden hosts the Tony Awards show at 7 p.m. Sunday on CBS.