The Oscars are often referred to as the “Gay Super Bowl,” and if that’s the case, the Tonys are more like the “Gay Stanley Cup,” although in New York in June there is not a lot of ice. This year’s Tony Awards ceremony takes place this Sunday, June 12thand will be broadcast live on CBS at 8pm EST. So just how gay will this year’s “Gay Stanley Cup” (that phrase just isn’t going to take off like I’d hoped) be?
This year’s Tonys are being hosted, for the second time, by America’s Second Favorite Homosexual: Neil Patrick Harris (Ellen is #1). And he will be performing a selection from this season’s limited run All-Star production of Company, along with other boldfaced names such as Stephen Colbert, Christina Hendricks, Martha Plimpton, and Anika Noni Rose.
The front-runner for Best Original Musical, The Book of Mormon, features a gay major character, and the arguable front-runner for Best Revival of a Play is the brilliant The Normal Heart by legendary gay-rights advocate Larry Kramer. The Normal Heart also features heartbreaking and Tony-nominated performances by Joe Mantello and John Benjamin Hickey, who are both openly gay.
Other notable gay actors nominated this year include Rory O’Malley, the openly gay actor who plays the closeted gay missionary Elder McKinley in The Book of Mormon, and Tony Sheldon, playing a transsexual woman in Priscilla Queen of the Desert. The creative team behind Best Original Musical nominee Catch Me if You Can also reads like a who’s who of gay Broadway- with a book by Terrence McNally (Love! Valour! Compassion!) and Music and Lyrics by partners Marc Shaiman and Scott Whitman (Hairspray).
This Sunday’s Tonys promise to be a gay old time, so pour yourself a drink, turn down the OBC recording of Follies, and tune to CBS at 8 to join Neil Patrick Harris in toasting this year’s Tony Award nominees and winners.
Prefer to travel? Check out NYC bars hosting Tony Award parties…