Dear Evan Hansen. Photo by Matthew Murphy, Courtesy DKC/O&M.

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?

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.

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Clockwise from top left: Photo by Loreto Jamlig, Courtesy Ladies of Hip-Hop; Wikimedia Commons; Photo by Alexander Iziliaev, Courtesy Pennsylvania Ballet; Natasha Razina, Courtesy State Academic Mariinsky Theatre; Photo by Will Mayer for Better Half Productions, Courtesy ABT

The 10 Biggest Dance Stories of 2019

What were the dance moments that defined 2019? The stories that kept us talking, week after week? According to our top-clicked articles of the year, they ranged from explorations of dance medicine and dance history, takedowns of Lara Spencer and companies who still charge dancers to audition, and, of course, our list of expert tips on how to succeed in dance today.

We compiled our 10 biggest hits of the year, and broke down why we think they struck a chord:

Christopher Duggan, Courtesy Nichols

I Am a Black Dancer Who Was Dressed Up in Blackface to Perform in La Bayadère

On Instagram this week, Misty Copeland reposted a picture of two Russian ballerinas covered head to toe in black, exposing the Bolshoi's practice of using blackface in the classical ballet La Bayadère. The post has already received over 60,000 likes and 2,000 comments, starting a long overdue conversation.

Comments have been pouring in from every angle imaginable: from history lessons on black face, to people outside of the ballet world expressing disbelief that this happens in 2019, to castigations of Copeland for exposing these young girls to the line of fire for what is ultimately the Bolshoi's costuming choice, to the accusations that the girls—no matter their cultural competence—should have known better.

I am a black dancer, and in 2003, when I was 11 years old, I was dressed up in blackface to perform in the Mariinsky Ballet's production of La Bayadère.


Here's the First Trailer for the "In the Heights" Movie

Lights up on Washington Heights—because the trailer for the movie adaptation of the hit Broadway musical In the Heights has arrived. It's our first look into Lin-Manuel Miranda's latest venture into film—because LMM isn't stopping at three Tony awards, a Grammy award, and an Emmy.

Enter Our Video Contest