Happy month of endless Hamilton celebration Tonys season, Broadway fans! This morning, delightful Book of Mormon alums Andrew Rannells and Nikki M. James announced the 2016 Tony Award nominees. Can you guess which show not only dominated the list, but actually broke the Tony nomination record—which, fun fact, was previously held by The Producers and Billy Elliot? We'll give you .5 seconds. (Don't throw away your shot.)

That's right: In a surprise to pretty much nobody, Hamilton led this year's Tony pack, picking up a staggering 16 noms. That includes nods in all the "biggie" categories (Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical, Best Original Score), a slew of acting nominations and—YAY!—a nom for genius choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler. In fact, the Best Choreography category is crowded with fantastic names this year, including Savion Glover for Shuffle Along and Hofesh Shechter for Fiddler on the Roof.

Lin-Manuel Miranda (center) and the fabulous dancers of Hamilton (photo by Joan Marcus, courtesy Hamilton)

Full list of nominations is below. Tune in to the 70th annual Tony Award ceremony June 12 to see what promises to be a fabulous set of performances—and to find out who takes home what. (And hey, Hamilton fans: Get ready for our July/August issue. Just you wait...just you wait.)

Best Play


The Father

The Humans

King Charles III

Best Musical

Bright Star


School of Rock—The Musical

Shuffle Along, Or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed


Best Revival of a Play

Arthur Miller’s The Crucible

Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge


Long Day’s Journey Into Night

Noises Off

Best Revival of a Musical

The Color Purple

Fiddler on the Roof

She Loves Me

Spring Awakening

Best Book of a Musical

Bright Star, Steve Martin

Hamilton, Lin-Manuel Miranda

School of Rock—The Musical, Julian Fellowes

Shuffle Along, Or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed, George C. Wolfe

Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre

Bright Star (Music: Steve Martin and Edie Brickell / Lyrics: Edie Brickell)

Hamilton (Music & Lyrics: Lin-Manuel Miranda)

School of Rock—The Musical (Music: Andrew Lloyd Webber / Lyrics: Glenn Slater)

Waitress (Music & Lyrics: Sara Bareilles)

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play

Gabriel Byrne, Long Day’s Journey Into Night

Jeff Daniels, Blackbird

Frank Langella, The Father

Tim Pigott-Smith, King Charles III

Mark Strong, Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play

Jessica Lange, Long Day’s Journey Into Night

Laurie Metcalf, Misery

Lupita Nyong’o, Eclipsed

Sophie Okonedo, Arthur Miller’s The Crucible

Michelle Williams, Blackbird

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical

Alex Brightman, School of Rock—The Musical

Danny Burstein, Fiddler on the Roof

Zachary Levi, She Loves Me

Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton

Leslie Odom, Jr., Hamilton

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical

Laura Benanti, She Loves Me

Carmen Cusack, Bright Star

Cynthia Erivo, The Color Purple

Jessie Mueller, Waitress

Phillipa Soo, Hamilton

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play

Reed Birney, The Humans

Bill Camp, Arthur Miller’s The Crucible

David Furr, Noises Off

Richard Goulding, King Charles III

Michael Shannon, Long Day’s Journey Into Night

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play

Pascale Armand, Eclipsed

Megan Hilty, Noises Off

Jayne Houdyshell, The Humans

Andrea Martin, Noises Off

Saycon Sengbloh, Eclipsed

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical

Daveed Diggs, Hamilton

Brandon Victor Dixon, Shuffle Along, Or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed

Christopher Fitzgerald, Waitress

Jonathan Groff, Hamilton

Christopher Jackson, Hamilton

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical

Danielle Brooks, The Color Purple

Renée Elise Goldsberry, Hamilton

Jane Krakowski, She Loves Me

Jennifer Simard, Disaster!

Adrienne Warren, Shuffle Along, Or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed

Best Scenic Design of a Play

Beowulf Boritt, Thérèse Raquin

Christopher Oram, Hughie

Jan Versweyveld, Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge

David Zinn, The Humans

Best Scenic Design of a Musical

Es Devlin & Finn Ross, American Psycho

David Korins, Hamilton

Santo Loquasto, Shuffle Along, Or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed

David Rockwell, She Loves Me

Best Costume Design of a Play

Jane Greenwood, Long Day’s Journey Into Night

Michael Krass, Noises Off

Clint Ramos, Eclipsed

Tom Scutt, King Charles III

Best Costume Design of a Musical

Gregg Barnes, Tuck Everlasting

Jeff Mahshie, She Loves Me

Ann Roth, Shuffle Along, Or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed

Paul Tazewell, Hamilton

Best Lighting Design of a Play

Natasha Katz, Long Day’s Journey Into Night

Justin Townsend, The Humans

Jan Versweyveld, Arthur Miller’s The Crucible

Jan Versweyveld, Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge

Best Lighting Design of a Musical

Howell Binkley, Hamilton

Jules Fisher & Peggy Eisenhauer, Shuffle Along, Or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed

Ben Stanton, Spring Awakening

Justin Townsend, American Psycho

Best Direction of a Play

Rupert Goold, King Charles III

Jonathan Kent, Long Day’s Journey Into Night

Joe Mantello, The Humans

Liesl Tommy, Eclipsed

Ivo Van Hove, Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge

Best Direction of a Musical

Michael Arden, Spring Awakening

John Doyle, The Color Purple

Scott Ellis, She Loves Me

Thomas Kail, Hamilton

George C. Wolfe, Shuffle Along, Or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed

Best Choreography

Andy Blankenbuehler, Hamilton

Savion Glover, Shuffle Along, Or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed

Hofesh Shechter, Fiddler on the Roof

Randy Skinner, Dames at Sea

Sergio Trujillo, On Your Feet! The Story of Emilio and Gloria Estefan

Best Orchestrations

August Eriksmoen, Bright Star

Larry Hochman, She Loves Me

Alex Lacamoire, Hamilton

Daryl Waters, Shuffle Along, Or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed

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After the 69th annual Tony Awards wrapped up last night, I found myself thinking: What a nice little show that was!

And super-duper props to Kristin Chenoweth and Alan Cumming for that. Their cute but understated hosting made the evening feel chummy and intimate, even though it was a ginormous production that must have been insane to orchestrate.

I mean, we saw performances by the casts of 10 different Broadway shows; an "In Memoriam" tribute featuring more than 175 people, one of whom was Josh Groban; appearances by two New York City Ballet principals, one American Ballet Theatre soloist and one Royal Ballet soloist; and, um, a High School Musical reunion (eee!). Only Chenoweth and Cumming—the King and Queen (respectively?) of Broadway—could have made hosting that behemoth look easy. Also, they both have fantastic legs and weren't afraid to show 'em, so, plus 1000 points.

"I said Fun Home, not 'phone home.' " I die. (photo Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

We heard this circus was going to involve a LOT of dancing, and we were not disappointed. The award for "Most Effort Put Into a Tony Performance" definitely goes to On the Town, whose cast blazed through a dancetastic medley that included Tony Yazbeck waltzing in the aisle with Chita Rivera (YES). The King and I's Kelli O'Hara showed us why she deserved the Tony she won later in the evening by somehow managing to polka in the world's largest hoop skirt. (And then, in one of the night's cutest moments, she did "the worm" offstage after giving her acceptance speech.) The cast of Something Rotten! made fun of every Broadway cliché known to man, including the bring-it-home tap finale, in the most delightful way possible. And Robert Fairchild and Leanne Cope classed up the joint with a beautiful, swoony pas de deux (complete with pointe shoes, yay!) from An American in Paris.

So much pretty. (photo Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

While most of the dance-world nominees didn't take home awards last night, big congrats to Christopher Wheeldon, who won the Tony for Best Choreography for his brilliant work on An American in Paris. Let's take a moment to honor him, because the broadcast didn't actually give him one. (Note to the Tonys: Best Choreographer is a big deal. GIVE US THE WHOLE DARN ACCEPTANCE SPEECH, NOT A PALTRY SNIPPET.)

Here's the full list of winners:

Best Musical

Fun Home

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical

Kelli O’Hara, The King and I

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical

Michael Cerveris, Fun Home

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play

Alex Sharp, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Best Revival of a Musical

The King and I

Best Revival of a Play


Best Play

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical

Ruthie Ann Miles, The King and I

Best Direction of a Play

Marianne Elliott, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Best Direction of a Musical

Sam Gold, Fun Home

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play

Annaleigh Ashford, You Can’t Take It With You

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical

Christian Borle, Something Rotten!

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play

Richard McCabe, The Audience

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play

Helen Mirren, The Audience

Best Book of a Musical

Lisa Kron, Fun Home

Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre

Fun Home

Best Scenic Design of a Play

Bunny Christie and Finn Ross, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Best Scenic Design of a Musical

Bob Crowley and 59 Productions, An American in Paris

Best Costume Design of a Play

Christopher Oram, Wolf Hall Parts One & Two

Best Costume Design of a Musical

Catherine Zuber, The King and I

Best Lighting Design of a Play

Paule Constable, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Best Lighting Design of a Musical

Natasha Katz, An American in Paris

Best Choreography

Christopher Wheeldon, An American in Paris

Best Orchestrations

Christopher Austin, Don Sebesky, Bill Elliott, An American in Paris

With theater critics abuzz with Tony predictions, it can be hard not to join in, especially since it's getting so close to the big event Sunday night. But one critic in particular is having a really tough time deciding who—or which show—should take home the big award.

Meet Iain Loves Theatre, your new favorite 6-year-old theater enthusiast.

A little about Iain: He's from Arlington, VA, and his YouTube theater reviews are solid gold. Example A:

Iain's also a burgeoning reporter. He's interviewed Vanessa Hudgens, the kids from The King and I and Sting. (Yes, the Sting.) On Sunday night, Iain Loves Theatre will even be covering the Tony Awards' red carpet for PerezHilton.com. Spoiler alert: Iain's tuxedo will have tails, because of course. "I really like the old-fashioned style," he told me earlier this week via FaceTime.

Here's my interview with Iain, who talks about his favorite musicals, shares his thoughts on the Tony nominees for Best Choreography and admits what really grinds his gears during a show.

Jenny Dalzell: What's the first show that really got you hooked on theater?

Iain Loves Theatre: That would be Hairspray. When I was 3 years old, my godfather directed the show and he got me tickets. We sat near the exit just in case, but I didn't need to leave. I loved it. So then I kept seeing more shows. And the first I saw on Broadway that got me hooked was Leap of Faith. That was amazing.

JD: Is there a particular dance style that works best for musicals?

ILT: There are a lot of styles that work for musicals and plays, but I think if you're only talking about musicals, probably tap and ballet would be the two best. I love tap dancing. It's really fun and happy—it just gets you moving and makes you want to snap!

JD: I think An American in Paris and On the Town might be the frontrunners for the Tony for Best Choreography. What did you like about them?

ILT: I liked how the dance in An American in Paris was very romantic. I also really liked the dancing in On the Town. I can't compare them. They both blow my mind. On the Town had great energetic dancing with flips and sailors and all these amazing things. I couldn't stop thinking about it after i saw it.

I also liked the dancing in The King and I because it showed different cultures. The Siamese characters put on a production of Uncle Tom's Cabin in the musical—it's a show within a show!—so you get to see a different kind of dancing and music, which is really great. And there's also a nice scene when Anna sings "Shall We Dance" that shows her culture and how she dances.

JD: How about the dancing in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and Something Rotten!, which are also up for Best Choreography?

ILT: Well, The Curious Incident didn't have a lot of dancing, but Alex Sharp, who plays Christopher, really knew where to move onstage. His performance was so great. I'd love to see another show with him in it. And I loved the tap in Something Rotten!. If you're coming to NYC for the first time to see a show, Something Rotten! would be amazing, because it's funny and, well, I don't want to give it away! But there are a lot of surprises.

JD: Is there anything about seeing a show that really annoys you?

ILT: There's one thing I really don't like, but it's better to tell the story. I went to Rocky, which, by the way, was more than amazing. But in the theater, there were two ladies in front of me who were texting and taking pictures and videos during the show. That's prohibited! So at intermission, my grandma and I asked them to stop. They were very rude and they told the usher that I was misbehaving!

The same thing happened when I went to Finding Neverland. Everyone in the audience around me was texting! I don't even think they saw any of the show. I just wanted to scream. And Finding Neverland is so powerful. It makes you think about a lot of real things, and sometimes sad things, like dying. It also makes you just want to see more. It's another show that theater beginners should see.

Iain Loves Theatre's 2014 Halloween costume (Photo courtesy ILT's mom)

JD: Out of all the musicals ever, is there a part you'd love to play?

ILT: I love the Phantom from Phantom of the Opera. I was the Phantom for Halloween last year and I'm going to be him again. We had vampire cape and folded the neck down. Then all I had to do was get the mask and a hat. Next year I can wear my Tony tuxedo—the Phantom wears a tuxedo in the show, so I'll really look like him.

JD: Is Phantom of the Opera your favorite cast recording?

ILT: Well, I can't listen to Phantom at night. Like you might think, it kind of creeps me out. So I like to listen to it in the daytime—except for one song that I can listen to at night, "Music of the Night," because it's about the night. I also love the recordings of Man of La Mancha and Taboo.

JD: What's your favorite activity outside of theater?

ILT: Playing soccer with my dog, Coco. I like to kick the ball outside for him, and he always brings it back to me. I also take Tae Kwon Do. I'm a big collector of things, especially $2 bills. I'm also a part-time magician.

Iain with Chita Rivera (via Iain Loves Theatre)

JD: Who are you excited to see on the red carpet?

ILT: Miss Chita Rivera. I met her when I went to see The Visit, and she's so fantastic. I'm also hoping to see Matthew Morrison, who played J.M. Barrie in Finding Neverland. He was more than fantastic. And I'll look like a miniature him: He wears a tuxedo with tails in the show, and my tuxedo for Sunday has tails, too.

I'm really hoping to see Kelli O'Hara. I've met her before and, oh my gosh, she's amazing. I'd also love to see Mr. Ken Watanabe, also from The King and I, Mr. Alex Sharp from Curious Incident and Ms. Kristin Chenoweth—I really want to meet her! I also can't wait to see the kids from King and I and Fun Home. They're amazing. I love kids who love musicals. Anyone who likes musicals is my kind of person!

Be sure to follow the Broadway and Tony Award adventures of Iain Loves Theater on Facebook and Twitter!

Pop quiz! Who's getting really excited for this Sunday's Tony Awards?

a) The Broadway community.

b) Your grandma.

c) Anybody who loves dance.


e) All of the above.

The correct answer, of course, is E. But let's put special emphasis on C here for a minute, shall we? Because the official lineup of Tony Award performers was recently announced, and holy LaDucas is it ever jam-packed with dance.

Oh yeah. There's gonna be a LOT of this. (Robert Fairchild and Leanne Cope in An American in Paris; photo Sara Krulwich/New York Times)

First of all, there'll just be more performers on stage, period, than at any previous Tony Awards. And since this was a particularly glorious year for dance on Broadway, a lot of them are going to be world-class dancers.

Top highlights include:

-the American in Paris mashup of "An American in Paris (pas de deux)," "'S Wonderful" and "I Got Rhythm," featuring Tony nominees Leanne Cope and Robert Fairchild doing fellow nominee Christopher Wheeldon's choreo;

-On the Town's medley of "Lucky to Be Me," "New York, New York" and "Times Square Ballet," with choreography by Josh Bergasse performed by Tony nom Tony Yazbeck and the stellar ensemble (hi Ricky Ubeda!);

-"Stronger" from Finding Neverland, featuring Mr. Schue Matthew Morrison and Kelsey Grammer doing Mia Michaels' oh-so-Mia choreography.

In case you're wondering what Mia choreo on Broadway looks like, here's a sneak preview. (The cast of Finding Neverland; photo Sara Krulwich/New York Times)

Also, Kirstin Chenoweth and Alan Cumming—whom I'd like to present with a pre-Tonys award for Broadway People I'd Like to Be Best Friends With (prize is a selfie with yours truly; COME FIND ME TO CLAIM IT!)—will be hosting. So, that'll be great, obviously.

Click here for the full list of performances, and be sure to catch all the musical theater action this Sunday at 8 pm ET on CBS.

The Tonys are coming, the Tonys are coming! It's like musical theater Christmas!

The 2015 Tony Award nominations were announced this morning by the ever-glamorous Broadway (and TV and movie) star Mary Louise Parker and Bruce Willis (whom you know as "Dancing with the Stars" front-runner Rumer Willis' dad). And guys, there are so many amazing things to report. Because, well, ballet.

Robert Fairchild and Leanne Cope in Christopher Wheeldon's An American in Paris (Photo by Angela Sterling, courtesy Boneau/Bryan-Brown)

New York City Ballet principal Robert Fairchild and Royal Ballet first artist Leanne Cope received Tony nominations for their lead performances in An American in Paris. Christopher Wheeldon—ballet choreographer extraordinaire—earned TWO nominations for the show, for both best direction and best choreography of a musical.

Joshua Bergasse also earned a nom for his choreography of On the Town. Remember when he taught us 16 counts of the number "New York, New York"? You might want to revisit that combo before June 7—if the cast performs it at the awards ceremony, you can dance along with them in front of your TV. (Y'all know I certainly will be.)

Joshua Bergasse (front) rehearsing the cast of On the Town (Photo by Jenny Anderson, courtesy Matt Ross Public Relations)

Other choreographers nominated include Casey Nicholaw (Something Rotten!), Christopher Gattelli (The King and I) and Scott Graham and Steven Hoggett for Frantic Assembly (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time).

Chita Rivera—as in West Side Story, Fosse and OVERALL BROADWAY LEGEND CHITA RIVERA—received a nomination as best female lead performer in a musical for her role in The Visit. She plays an aging bajillionaire who returns to her small hometown to seek revenge on a former boyfriend—and the town itself. And while she doesn't do a whole lotta dancing in the show, I think we can expect a pretty stellar performance at the Awards. After all, it's her 10th Tony nomination, so...go big or go fun home, amirite?

All in all, An American in Paris racked up 12 Tony nominations—the most this year, tied with Fun Home. Get the full list of nominees here, and start placing your bets now! Who do you think should win for best choreography? Was anyone (or any show) snubbed? Let us know what you think in the comments!

In case you missed the best night on TV—a.k.a the live broadcast of the Tony Awards—Dance Spirit's got your back. Here's a rundown of the show's highlights, a couple of its more cringe-worthy moments, and some of our favorite (and least-favorite) red carpet outfits.

Hugh Jackman with the cast of After Midnight
(photo Sara Krulwich/The New York Times)

The Highlights: 

–Hugh Jackman as host. It's great to see Wolverine back on the Radio City Music Hall Stage, singing and dancing with the stars of Broadway. He even cut a rug with Dulé Hill and the fabulous cast of After Midnight. Sure, his opening number (with all that awkward hopping) wasn't as fabulous as NPH's extravaganza last year, but his serenading of the female best actress nominees—in both the play and musical categories—stole my heart.

Bryce Pinkham (center) and the cast of A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder
(photo Heather Wines/CBS)

–The performances, obv. After Midnight, Aladdin and Bullets Over Broadway were especially impressive—so. much. tap. dancing.  And here's to genie James Monroe Iglehart's win for best featured actor in a musical. But I was especially enamored with the performance from A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder—the Tony winner for best musical. In case you chose to take your bathroom break during the number, you can re-watch it here. There's not much movement, but the witty trio really brought down the house.

–The crazy Music Man rap. My viewing party went pretty nuts when Hugh Jackman busted some rhymes from The Music Man—and then even more nuts when LL Cool J and T.I. joined in. The beats—commemorating the song "Rock Island" from 1957's The Music Man, supposedly the first-ever rap—came courtesy of Questlove of The Roots. (Pretty cool.) Here's the song in the 1962 film; compare it to the Tony Award shenanigans here.

Melanie Moore with Jennifer Hudson in Finding Neverland. (photo Heather Wines/CBS)

–Melanie Moore as Peter Pan. When Finding Neverland hits the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, MA, this summer, "So You Think You Can Dance" Season 8 winner (and DS cover star) Melanie Moore will get the opportunity to work with Mia Michaels again: Mama Mia will be choreographing the new musical. The full cast has been announced (helloooo, Jeremy Jordan!). Unfortunately, Jennifer Hudson, who sang in last night's preview, is not in the show.

Jessie Mueller (left) with Carole King. (photo Heather Wines/CBS)

–Jessie Mueller and Carole King together (again) on one stage. I certainly felt the Earth move under my feet during this performance. Jessie Mueller is fantastic as the iconic singer/songwriter Carole King in Beautiful, and I suspect she'll be fantastic in roles to come. Congrats on your Tony for best leading actress in a musical, Jessie!

–The dreamy Matthew Bomer announcing a new Tony Awards partnership with his alma mater, Carnegie Mellon University. Next year the Tonys will celebrate one elementary, middle or high school theater teacher who really makes a difference. Know someone who you think deserves special recognition? Read about the new award here.

Jenni Barber (left) and Christine Dwyer (photo Heather Wines/CBS)

The Missed Opportunities:

–Wicked's 10th anniversary performance. Yes, Christine Dwyer and Jenni Barber sang an amazing rendition of "For Good." But weren't you just a little disappointed that Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth didn't pop out to sing a line or two? I mean, we know Idina was there—she sang something from her new musical If/Then. Lame, Tony Awards. Lame.

–The absent-from-TV award for best choreography. Remember last year, when we got to see Jerry Mitchell accept his choreography award on TV? Apparently the producers forgot about that precedent, and After Midnight's Warren Carlyle received his award for best choreography during a commercial break. Boooooo! Maybe if we give his acceptance speech video a ton of online views, the producers will get the point for next year.

The Best Dressed:

The history-making Audra McDonald, who took home her sixth Tony Award. She also became the first performer to win in all four acting categories (featured musical, featured play, leading musical and leading play). Yeah, she's legendary—and stylish to boot, in this pretty printed gown. (photo Walter McBride/Broadway World)

The always effortlessly gorgeous Sutton Foster. She didn't leave with a win, but her performance for Violet was strong.
(photo Walter McBride/Broadway World)

And the Worst:

The flashy Fran Drescher. She may be on Broadway in Cinderella, but believe it or not, this over-the-top tangerine dress is not a costume.
(photo Walter McBride/Broadway World)

The weighed-down Kate Mara. This dress just looks heavy. Here's hoping Netflix turns "House of Cards" into a musical so Kate can redeem her look as a Tonys presenter next year.
(photo Walter McBride/Broadway World)

What did you think of the telecast? Which performance was your favorite, and who did you think was best dressed? Was any show or artist robbed of an award? We want to hear what you have to say!

16 days until this year's Tony Awards!

We can hardly wait, so we've been making some predictions to pass the time. Sure, we've spent some time debating which nominee will take home the Tony for our favorite category, Best Choreography. (Will it be Bullets Over Broadway, Rocky, Aladdin, or After Midnight???) But what we really care about is the ceremony itself. I mean, no one knows how to put on a spectacular awards show quite like a room full of Broadway's brightest. We're dying to know: Who's gonna open the ceremony? What excerpts will the nominated shows choose to perform? What other celebs can we expect to see up on that stage?

Well just this morning, Michael Riedel of The New York Post filled us in on some of the deets:

After Midnight will open the show—a coveted honor.

Virgil "Lil' O" Gadson (center) and Karine Plantadit (right) dance it out in After Midnight (photo by Matthew Murphy)

Jessie Mueller of Beautiful: The Carole King Musical will perform a song from the musical. (Hopeful rumors suggest Carole King will join her.)

Jessie Mueller in Beautiful: The Carole King Musical (photo by AP)

And Sting will preview a couple of songs from his upcoming musical The Last Ship.

(Photo by Frank Ockenfels)

We still have so many questions, though. Most importantly, will we get to see "Friend Like Me" from Aladdin? (Please, Disney, please!)

Plus, there's rumor of some sort of mega-finale, featuring the casts of all the nominated musicals. Not sure what that's about, but we have high hopes!

Make sure to tune in to the 68th Annual Tony Awards—airing June 8 on CBS at 8pm EST—to see what other surprises are in store.

Musical Theater

The Tony Awards celebrate Broadway’s best and brightest. This year, they’ll be broadcast live from NYC on June 8, hosted by Hugh Jackman. The performances throughout the evening—including the opening number and excerpts from the nominated shows—are always a highlight. But are those of us watching at home missing any of the action? We asked Charlie Williams, who has performed at the Tony Awards for the past four years as a dancer in the opening and as part of the casts of Memphis and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, to let us in on a few behind-the-scenes secrets.

What happens during commercials?

Nothing, actually. Often there are comedians or a director of ceremonies to keep the live audience engaged. Other times they play clips of past Tony Awards on the big screens.

What was most surprising the first year you performed at the Tonys?

The camera hides a lot of the show’s craziness. It’s really a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants, roller coaster kind of night. The cameras (typically 6 to 12 of them) add an extra layer to the performances. We don’t get to rehearse with the cameramen, who are sometimes also onstage. But they know how to dodge the battements and still get the shots.

Charlie Williams performs at the 2013 Tony Awards. (Photo by Andrew H. Walker)

The dancers in the opening number audition for the event—are any of them also in nominated shows?

No. It’s practically impossible to do both, although last year, some of the performers from nominated shows appeared in the opening. But no matter what, the casts from each show get ready at their own theaters. Then they board buses that take them to Radio City Music Hall right before their scheduled performances during the show. (The routes are even blocked off, so the buses don’t get stuck in traffic.) Afterward, they wait backstage until the final award for Best Musical, at which point the winning show performs again.

That seems hectic.

The whole day is crazy. The dress rehearsal that morning is a full run-through with hair and makeup—even the buses. On top of that, in between the two runs, you typically have a regularly scheduled Sunday matinee to perform. But every second of the exhaustion is worth it.

Do you have a favorite part of the evening?

The very end, when the nominated shows line up backstage before the last award. We all know only one group gets an encore. But we’re not giving each other the side-eye; we’re all in it together. There’s crazy energy back there. At my first Tony Awards, I was in Memphis, and when we heard our show won, we ran onstage and did our number to close the evening. It was a total pinch-me moment.


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