‘Airline Highway’ by Lisa D’Amour, directed by Joe Mantello. Photo (detail) by Joan Marcus


When it comes to awards shows, The Tonys know how to do it.

And those folks should. They are, after all, in the business of theatrical presentations. No second takes. No edits. Live, all the time. You’re either ready or you’re out.

One of Brevard’s most crazed theater fanatics is Rita Moreno. She’s actually going to the Tonys tonight and to the after party at the Plaza Hotel. She told me she’s wearing “Armani” for the Red Carpet. We’ll give you more updates on that as the evening progresses. But yes, she’s head over heels….

'An American in Paris' Photo by Matthew Murphy

‘An American in Paris’ Photo by Matthew Murphy

Now to get YOU into that same excitement.

Here are some factoids: This is the 69th annual Antoinette Perry “Tony” Awards. It is presented by the American Theatre Wing and produced with the Broadway League…two really huge Broadway organizations filled with movers and shakers.

The big awards show starts at 8 p.m. tonight on CBS and will be hosted by Kristin Chenoweth and Alan Cumming. The new Red Carpet segment begins at 5:30, but doesn’t get engaged until 7 p.m. You can watch live streaming of that on, a really good website that has all sorts of goodies.

'The Audience,' with Dakin Matthews and Helen Mirren. Photo by Joan Marcus.

‘The Audience,’ with Dakin Matthews and Helen Mirren. Photo by Joan Marcus.

BTW, that red carpet is on West 50th St., outside Radio City Music Hall, the venue holding the ceremony. Some of the design houses involved include Michael Kors, Vera Wang, Marc Jacobs, Zac Pozen and Oscar de la Renta. The push for a grander Red Carpet was made primarily by celebrated costume designer William Ivey Long (a man who loves to “dish” and say it’s just “entre nous,”…I know that because I interviewed him years ago when he first “broke out”).

The musical numbers and scenes presented in during the Tonys are performed by actual cast members (most of the time) on a recreation of the sets used in the Broadway houses. According to The New York Times, Broadway show producers “spend between $100,000 and $400,000 to rehearse and create sets for numbers that, generally in less than four minutes, strive to introduce the shows and persuade viewers to purchase seats.”

Some of the more hotly contested categories are for Best Musical. While rumors have it that “An American in Paris” is a shoe-in, something that may steal the wind is the new musical “Fun Home,” about a lesbian dealing with the suicide of her gay father.

Alex Sharp in "the Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time." Photo by Joan Marcus.

Alex Sharp in “the Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.” Photo by Joan Marcus.

The race for best actress in a leading role in a musical is thought to be among Chita Rivera (“The Visit”), Kristin Chenoweth (“On the Twentieth Century”) and Kelli O’Hara (“The King and I”). There are a lot of soft hearts cheering for Ms. O’Hara who has been nominated six times in previous years but never won a Tony.

A couple of Hollywood actors — Bradley Cooper (“The ELephant Man”) and Bill Nighy (“Skylight”) — are up for best actor in a leading role in a play. But the competition appears to be between Alex Sharp (“The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time“) and Steven Boyer (“Hand to God”).

While, for some reason, the Tony Awards producers decree that winners for scenic design, costume design, lighting design and more should not be part of the televised proceedings, you can catch snippets of their wins sometimes near commercial breaks or on line. Same thing with the Regional Theatre Tony Award, which this year went to the Cleveland Play House. (For a story on this, click here.)

Michael James Scott (Center) and cast of 'Something Rotten.' Photo by Joan Marcus.

Michael James Scott (Center) and cast of ‘Something Rotten.’ Photo by Joan Marcus.

The musical numbers presentations for the 2015 Tonys opens, according to the NYT, with “On the Twentieth Century,” although Brian d’Arcy James just said on the Red Carpet that his show, “Something Rotten!” is kicking it off. We’ll see who’s got it right. Others presented come from “Fun Home,” “The King and I,” “An American in Paris,” “The Visit,” “Gigi,” “Finding Neverland” and “It Shoulda Been You.” I

For a smart little appetizer of the talent, see The New York Times “In Performance” with some of the nominees by clicking here.