Our 6 Biggest Questions About This Year's Tony Awards
It's that time of year again. The Tony Awards are this weekend, and frankly, we can't decide on which performance we're most excited to see—Andy Blankenbuehler's swing-infused Bandstand choreography? Whatever the kooky-cool Natasha, Pierre, and The Great Comet of 1812 cast has up their old-fashioned sleeves (and, by default, Josh Groban's golden pipes)? Best Actor in a Musical favorites Ben Platt (Dear Evan Hansen) and Andy Karl (Groundhog Day) duking it out? Can the answer just be yes, all of the above?
In contrast to last year's Hamilton-mania, there's a sea of new musicals vying for the top prizes (with no clear front runners except for in a couple of key categories), and most of them are prepping what are sure to be fantastic performances. (Not to worry, Hamilfans: Lin-Manuel Miranda is set to present, and Leslie Odom Jr. is on the performer list.) In a way, the uncertainty is making for an even more exciting buildup to the Tonys than usual. Here are six of our biggest questions going into this year's ceremony.
What will the opening number look like?
The Tonys struggled to find a host this year before finally landing on Kevin Spacey. The Oscar-winning actor is an unconventional choice—he's generally known more for dry humor than the song-and-dance antics that have defined past hosts such as James Corden, Neil Patrick Harris and Hugh Jackman. So what does this mean for the opening number? Maybe they'll go with something similar to this year's Oscars, when Justin Timberlake opened the night with a live performance of his Best Original Song nomination. Or maybe a Groundhog Day–inspired spoof with Spacey repeating the lead-up to the ceremony over and over again? Whatever they've decided, it's the Tonys—it has to be fabulous.
Will Andy Blankenbuehler take home another Tony for his choreography?
Andy Blankenbuehler. Photo by Rachel Papo.
He may have missed out on a direction nod, but the Hamilton choreographer is once again nominated for his moves, this year in Bandstand. Sam Pinkleton is another strong contender after getting the entire theater moving in Great Comet. Also in the ring: Kelly Devine (Come From Away), Denis Jones (Holiday Inn), and Peter Darling and Ellen Kane (Groundhog Day).
Are we actually going to see the Best Choreography award this year?
The London cast of Groundhog Day in rehearsal. Photo by Manuel Harlan, Courtesy Boneau/Bryan-Brown.
A bone to pick with the Tonys broadcast: A number of awards are handed out during commercial breaks due to time constraints, and Best Choreography for a Musical is typically one of them. These choreographers are a HUGE part of what makes the performances during the telecast so much fun—so why not let them get their nods on air? *steps off soap box*
How will Great Comet transfer to a more conventional stage?
The cast of Natasha, Pierre, and The Great Comet of 1812. Photo by Evgenia Elisseva, Courtesy Matt Ross PR.
The staging at the Imperial Theatre has audience members onstage and cast members in the aisles, the balcony and several platforms that wind through the orchestra seats—and the performers engage with nearby audience members constantly. So how will they take Sam Pinkleton's energetic choreography and move it to Radio City's more traditional space for the show's (rumored) medley? We have absolutely no idea, though we suspect there will be a lot of dancing in the aisles.
Will Bette Midler sing?
Bette Midler in Hello, Dolly! Photo by Julieta Cervantes, via playbill.com.
Okay, so the star of the Hello, Dolly! revival is undoubtedly taking home Best Actress in a Musical (barring a massive upset, of course), but rumor has it that she won't be performing with the cast.
Who will get Best New Musical?
Come From Away. Photo by Matthew Murphy, Courtesy Polk & Co.
Unlike last year, when Hamilton was obviously going to sweep, there's no clear favorite amongst this year's nominees. According to The New York Times, it'll be a toss-up between Dear Evan Hansen and Come From Away, both emotionally affecting musicals on unlikely topics (a teenager's sudden popularity after a classmate's suicide; the interactions between the residents of a small town in Canada and airline passengers grounded there on 9/11). But who knows: Great Comet or Groundhog Day could produce a surprise upset.
You can tune in to the 2017 Tony Awards this Sunday at 8/7c on CBS.
It's a cycle familiar to many: First, a striking image of a lithe, impossibly fit dancer executing a gravity-defying développé catches your eye on Instagram. You pause your scrolling to marvel, over and over again, at her textbook physique.
Inevitably, you take a moment to consider your own body, in comparison. Doubt and negative self-talk first creep, and then flood, in. "I'll never look like that," the voice inside your head whispers. You continue scrolling, but the image has done its dirty work—a gnawing sensation has taken hold, continually reminding you that your own body is inferior, less-than, unworthy.
It's no stretch to say that social media has a huge effect on body image. For dancers—most of whom already have a laser-focus on their appearance—the images they see on Instagram can seem to exacerbate ever-present issues. "Social media is just another trigger," says Nadine Kaslow, a psychologist who works with the dancers of Atlanta Ballet. "And dancers don't need another trigger." In the age of Photoshop and filters, how can dancers keep body dysmorphia at bay?
If "Fosse/Verdon" whet your appetite for the impeccable Gwen Verdon, then Merely Marvelous: The Dancing Genius of Gwen Verdon is the three-course meal you've been craving. The new documentary—available now on Amazon for rental or purchase—dives into the life of the Tony-winning performer and silver-screen star lauded for her charismatic dancing.
Though she's perhaps most well-known today as Bob Fosse's wife and muse, that's not even half of her story. For starters, she'd already won four Tonys before they wed, making her far more famous in the public eye than he was at that point in his career. That's just one of many surprising details we learned during last night's U.S. premiere of Merely Marvelous. Believe us: You're gonna love her even more once you get to know her. Here are eight lesser-known tidbits to get you started.
Every dancer knows that how you fuel your body affects how you feel in the studio. Of course, while breakfast is no more magical than any other meal (despite the enduring myth that it's the most important one of the day), showing up to class hangry is a recipe for unproductive studio time.
So what do your favorite dancers eat in the morning to set themselves up for a busy rehearsal or performance day?
When it comes to dance in the U.S., companies in the South often find themselves overlooked—sometimes even by the presenters in their own backyard. That's where South Arts comes in. This year, the regional nonprofit launched Momentum, an initiative that will provide professional development, mentorship, touring grants and residencies to five Southern dance companies.