New York Daily News
Tony Awards 2017: Kevin Spacey, ‘Great Comet,’ Bette Midler, ‘Dear Evan Hansen’ and, of course, Donald Trump
BY JOE DZIEMIANOWICZ
Friday, June 9, 2017, 6:00 AM
The Tony Awards on Sunday will celebrate the Great White Way.
But there’s also bound to be streaks of Orange.
There are simply too many close ties (one degree of separation, in some instances) to Donald Trump to ignore.
One of the presenters is Stephen Colbert — who only became a late-night ratings juggernaut once he started relentlessly trashing Trump.
And then there are the nominees themselves, whose plots sound like set-ups for gags about Trump and his administration.
Like “Oslo,” a drama that revolves around back-channel negotiations — like the ones that Jared Kushner sought with Russia.
Oh, and speaking of the Evil Empire, the musical “Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812,” is set in Tolstoy’s Russia — and just happened to get the most nominations of all. (Did Putin interfere with that, too?)
Hello, Donny, indeed!
Of course, issues and personal statements are the backbone of any awards show. But Trump is a body politic all his own. More than other commander-in-chiefs, he has cast a giant shadow over the arts — and performers feel compelled to speak out.
Still, there’s a chance that the Tonys will remain about jazz hands, not small hands.
“It’s a celebration of the season,” said Dave Boone, head writer of CBS live telecast airing at 8 p.m. “I hope Donald Trump’s name doesn’t come up much, if at all.”
Boone hopes, he added, that everyone “takes the high road.”
Good luck with that.
Then again, there’s plenty besides Trump to talk about at the 71st annual Tonys:
Stars of “Bandstand,” “Come From Away,” “Dear Evan Hansen,” “Groundhog Day,” “The Great Comet of 1812,” “War Paint,” “Falsettos,” “Miss Saigon” and “Hello, Dolly!” will perform at Radio City.
This year the field is full of tight races, including all-important ones for best musical and best play. In the former category, “Come From Away,” which is set on 9/11, and “Dear Evan Hansen,” about teenager’s lies that spin out of control, duke it out. In the latter, “Oslo,” about the peace accords, and “A Doll’s House, Part 1,” an Ibsen sequal are neck and neck.
What we do know is that producers have lined up a diverse array of stars to hand out prizes and to add luster. They include Orlando Bloom, Tina Fey, Whoopi Goldberg, Taraji P. Henson, Lin-Manuel Miranda, David Oyelowo and Scarlett Johansson.
The brightest musical casts will hit the stage, too, with performances from “Bandstand,” “Come From Away,” “Dear Evan Hansen,” “Groundhog Day,” “Great Comet,” “War Paint,” “Falsettos,” “Miss Saigon” and “Hello, Dolly!”
The Radio City Rockettes and 2016 Tony winners Cynthia Erivo and Leslie Odom Jr. will also strut their stuff.
Which raises another burning question: Will Midler, who’s set to present a prize but not perform, surprise everyone? “I don’t think so,” said Boone.
Well, we can still hope — even if that word disappeared with the last administration.
- Tony Awards: Bette Midler won’t sing but will present as will Orlando Bloom, Josh Groban (bootlegbetty.com)
- Can Bette Midler and company break the ‘Hello, Dolly!’ Tony Awards curse? (bootlegbetty.com)
- Bette Midler In Hello Dolly! Tickets Go On Sale (Link Provided), Saturday. September 17, 2016 at 10:00 AM Eastern Time (bootlegbetty.com)
- TONY AWARDS|2015 Tony Award Nominations (thedivinemisterd.com)
- Kevin Spacey tight-lipped about his plans as host of Tonys (triblive.com)