If you're a theater fan, Tony Sunday is your Super Bowl. That's no exaggeration. Maybe you don't wear a lucky jersey to support your favorite team, but you probably wear that Wicked t-shirt you've had for ten years. And you probably have your go-to Tony snacks, maybe even Broadway-inspired drinks. And you definitely cheer and boo at the screen until your face turns blue. But for those of you who have never seen a Broadway show, and for those of you who are forced to watch with your theater-crazy BFF or SO, Tony Sunday can still be fun. I promise. Here's why.
1. The Performances
Okay, so you’re too poor/too far for the Great White Way. So what? For one special evening you can forget about your bank account and revel in the magic of live theater from the comfort of your living room. And sure, you may get a little resentful that you’ll never make it to NYC to see the actual show, but you can always watch these performances on repeat on YouTube! Here’s a great (non-Hamilton) one from last year:
2. The Fashion
The best part of any award show is always the fashion, let’s be real. The Tony’s are no different, with enough glitz and glam to satisfy even the most judgmental viewers at home chilling in sweats, shoulder-deep in a bag of Doritos. Theater actors often joke at their own expense that they aren’t as A-List as TV or film stars, but on Tony Sunday, they prove that they are definitely cool enough to hang with the Hollywood cool kids.
3. The Presenters
Speaking of Hollywood, you’ll still see plenty of familiar faces on Broadway’s big night. Even if you can’t tell your O’Hara's from your Benanti's or your Swenson’s from your Creel’s (although really, you should, because they're all super talented), keep your eyes peeled for your favorite celebrities, especially when it comes to the presenters. This year, Orlando Bloom, Stephen Colbert, Tina Fey, Taraji P. Henson, and Scarlett Johansson have all joined the star-studded list this year, to name a few. Not too shabby.
4. The Host
Nothing seems more daunting to me than hosting an award show. Honestly. You have to impress a lot of people—the ones in the audience, and the ones at home. That’s a lot of pressure! Tony hosts have it even harder because not only are they expected to be funny, they’re also expected to perform. Maybe that’s pushing it, but looking back at recent hosts like Neil Patrick Harris and James Corden, those boys have set the hosting bar high. This year, host Kevin Spacey has a lot to prove, especially to those who are wondering exactly how/why he was chosen, of all people, to serve as Broadway’s master of ceremonies. Time will tell, but in the meantime, take a look back at Neil Patrick Harris’ opening number from 2013, because it’s honestly the greatest eight minutes and five seconds you could ever hope to experience in your entire life:
5. The Speeches
If you still aren’t convinced, here’s one final reason that may actually surprise you. The speeches. Listen, I’m not above running for the mute button every time a winner starts rambling, or DVR’ing an award show just so I can fast forward. We all do it. We’re only human. But! Speeches on Tony Night are different. They’re special. Theater people are a passionate group, and it’s contagious. And probably more than any other “brand” of celebrity, Broadway people get it. There’s a “realness” to them that seems accessible, almost like their achievements are your achievements. Maybe it’s because the fruits of their labor are meant to be shared with us face-to-face, with nothing separating the audience from the magic on stage except the thin veil of dust bouncing airily in the stage lights. No cameras, no screens. And maybe it’s because these people will take the time to greet audiences at the stage door once the curtain goes down. And maybe it’s because, when it’s all over, they'll depart not by limo or giant chauffeured SUV, but by foot or by subway. Just like you. So when these winners give their speeches, they’re worth listening to, because they can really mean something, not just to them, but also to you. Plus sometimes you get something like Lin Manuel Miranda’s speech last year, an instant, quotable classic to be sure:
Be sure to watch the Tony Awards this Sunday at 8/7c on CBS.