Kevin Spacey to Host 71st Annual Tony Awards

Kevin Spacey has been picked to host this year’s Tony Awards, putting the award-winning star of “House of Cards” in the unenviable position of steering a telecast surely facing a post-“Hamilton” hangover.

The telecast on June 11 will originate from the 6,000-seat Radio City Music Hall and producers are sure to be keeping their fingers crossed that they avoid any technical or human snafus that have marred previous awards shows this year, including the wrong winner announced at the Oscars and sound issues at the Grammys.

Producers also hope Spacey will limit the audience erosion likely from the numbers last year when “Hamilton” drew 8.73 million viewers, up 35% from 2015. Last year’s host was James Corden and 2015 saw Kristin Chenoweth teaming up with Alan Cumming.

The nominations for the 2017 TONY Awards will be announced on Tuesday, May 2.

“I was their second choice for ‘Usual Suspects,’ fourth choice for ‘American Beauty’ and 15th choice to host this year’s Tony Awards. I think my career is definitely going in the right direction,” said Spacey. “Maybe I can get shortlisted to host the Oscars if everyone else turns it down.”

Spacey won the Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role for his performance in “American Beauty,” and Best Actor in a Supporting Role for his performance in “The Usual Suspects.” Recently, he starred in “Elvis & Nixon.” Next, he will be seen in the feature films “Billionaire Boys Club,” “Baby Driver” and “Rebel in the Rye.” Through his former production company Trigger Street, he produced “Captain Phillips,” starring Tom Hanks, “The Social Network” and “21,” as well having produced the Emmy nominated television series “Recount” and “Bernard & Doris.”

For over a decade, Spacey served as the Artistic Director of The Old Vic Theatre Company in London. He recently stepped down from this role, but during his time appeared on stage in productions of “National Anthems,” “The Philadelphia Story,” “Speed the Plow,” “Inherit the Wind,” “A Moon for the Misbegotten,” and the acclaimed production of the one-man show “Darrow.” Spacey won the Evening Standard and Olivier Awards for Best Actor for his role in “The Iceman Cometh,” as well as the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Featured Role in a Play in Neil Simon’s “Lost in Yonkers.” Also, he starred in the Broadway and West End productions of “Long Day’s Journey into Night,” opposite his mentor Jack Lemmon, as well as the title role in the Sam Mendes production of “Richard III,” which toured 12 cities around the world as part of the three-year Old Vic/BAM/Bridge Project.

This year marks the 71st anniversary of the TONY Awards, which were first held on April 6, 1947 at the Waldorf Astoria’s Grand Ballroom. The ceremony is presented by Tony Award Productions, which is a joint venture of the Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing, which founded the Tonys.

(AP, CBS)

‘Now That’s What I Call Music!’ to Release Broadway Album

The best-selling multi-artist album series “Now That’s What I Call Music!” will release its first all-Broadway CD, including hits from “Cats,” ”Chicago,” ”A Chorus Line,” ”The Lion King,” ”Wicked” and “The Phantom of the Opera.”

The album, set for release April 29 and featuring 18 songs usually including the original Broadway casts, will include “Seasons of Love” from “Rent,” “Defying Gravity” from “Wicked,” ”Sherry” from “Jersey Boys,” ”When I Grow Up” from “Matilda the Musical” and “Tomorrow” from “Annie.”

“In curating this album, we set out to find 18 songs that represent and celebrate the rich history of Broadway from the last 40 years,” Jeff Moskow, Head of A&R for “Now That’s What I Call Music!” said in a statement.

The series has sold more than 250 million albums worldwide. (AP)

Tony Awards Telecast Finds Home at Beacon Theatre

The next Tony Awards have found a home – a familiar one.

The Broadway League said Tuesday that the June 12 gala will be held at the 2,900-seat Beacon Theatre on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, where the Tonys were handed out 2011-12.

The 6,000-seat Radio City Music Hall has long been the preferred home for the awards because of its size and proximity to Broadway. But Radio City will be booked with the new “Rockettes New York Spectacular.”

CBS will again televise the event.

The official eligibility cut-off date will be April 28, meaning all productions on Broadway that wish to be included must have opened by that date. Nominations will be announced May 3.

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Online: http://www.TonyAwards.com (AP)

TKTS Offers Theatergoers Chance to Skip Lines

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Times Square’s iconic TKTS booth is celebrating its 40th birthday by introducing a new way for theater lovers to avoid lines.

The Theatre Development Fund, the nonprofit that runs the booth selling discount Broadway and off-Broadway tickets, announced Wednesday a Fast Pass program that allows anyone who has bought a ticket from the booth to return within seven days and skip the wait when they buy another ticket.

Interested patrons must bring a ticket stub that proves they’ve bought a TKTS ticket within seven days and they’ll be ushered through to the booth’s first window, which is reserved for full-price tickets to future performances and is usually not as busy as the other windows handling discounted tickets.

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Online: http://www.tdf.org (AP)

‘Sopranos’ Star James Gandolfini Dies of Cardiac Arrest

“It’s good to be in something from the ground floor. I came too late for that and I know. But lately, I’m getting the feeling that I came in at the end. The best is over” – Tony Soprano

Hospital officials in Rome say “Sopranos” actor James Gandolfini died of a heart attack.

Dr. Claudio Modini, head of the emergency room at the Policlinic Umberto I hospital, said Gandolfini arrived at the hospital at 10:20 p.m. Wednesday and was pronounced dead at 11 p.m. after reanimation efforts in the ambulance and hospital failed.

Doctors say an autopsy be performed, as required by law.

Gandolfini’s portrayal of the brutal but emotionally delicate crime boss Tony Soprano was the center of one of TV’s greatest drama series and turned the mobster stereotype on its head. Sopranos’ creator David Chase calls Gandolfini “one of the greatest actors of this or any time,” adding that much of his genius “resided in those sad eyes.”

Gandolfini grew up in New Jersey, and the state’s governor calls the actor’s death “an awful shock.” Saying he was a “huge fan,” Gov. Chris Christie says Gandolfini was “a fine actor, a Rutgers alum and a true Jersey guy.”

Gandolfini won three Emmy Awards for his role as Tony Soprano and worked steadily in film and on stage after the series ended. He earned a 2009 Tony Award nomination for his role in “God of Carnage,” and his film roles included playing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta in “Zero Dark Thirty.” (AP)

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Tony Awards Viewership Jumps Up to 7.24 Million

CBS’ Tony Awards telecast saw viewership jump to 7.24 million people, the show’s largest audience in four years.

According to preliminary Nielsen figures released Monday, Sunday’s show crowning “Kinky Boots” as best musical saw an increase of more than 1.2 million people over last year’s show. Neil Patrick Harris returned to host for the fourth time.

The broadcast was up against an episode of “Mad Men” on AMC and Game 2 of the NBA finals between San Antonio and Miami on ABC. Last year’s telecast was seen by 6 million viewers, down significantly from 2011’s 6.9 million.

Updated ratings figures will be available on Tuesday.

CBS, the longtime home for the annual Tony telecast, recently agreed to continue airing the show until 2018.

“Kinky Boots” is the big winner at the Tony Awards. The feel-good musical wins six Tonys including best musical, best original score and best leading man.

Oscar-winner Tom Hanks leaves empty-handed. The Broadway newcomer was nominated for his role in the play “Lucky Guy.” But Hanks was beaten by Tracy Letts, for his role in “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”

Cyndi Lauper wins a Tony for the music for Kinky Boots. Star Billy Porter also wins.

Other winners last night included Cicely Tyson and Judith Light.

Neil Patrick Harris was back for his fourth turn as host, as Broadway honored its best in New York last night. (AP)

‘Les Miserables’ Musical Broadway-Bound

Someone is dreaming the dream: “Les Miserables” is coming back to Broadway.
Producer Cameron Mackintosh said Monday that the national tour of the epic musical about life in 19th-century France will make a stop on Broadway in March 2014 at a Shubert theater.
The move comes on the heels of the Oscar-nominated big screen adaptation directed by Tom Hooper and starring Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe and Anne Hathaway.
It will mark the third time the show has made it to Broadway. The original landed in 1987 and played 6,680 performances, ranking as the third-longest-running musical in Broadway history. A revival was mounted in 2006 but closed in 2008.
The national tour, currently in South Carolina, began in November 2010 and has played 64 cities throughout North America.
Online: http://www.LesMis.com (AP)