Hot Off the Tony Presses: Celebrity Presenters Announced

The first wave of Tony presenters for 2016's awards show have been launched into cyberspace by the Broadway League and American Theatre Wing and they are definitely of the high caliber/high profile variety. Sprinkling some heavy duty stardust around the Beacon Theatre will be two-time Academy Award winner Cate Blanchettlast seen on the New York stage when she starred in The Maids during 2014’s Lincoln Center Summer Festivaland Oprah Winfrey, the superstar producer of The Color Purple (Best Musical Revival nominee), who scored an Oscar nomination three decades ago for playing Sophia in the film version. 

Oprah Winfrey

Announced as well were Steve Martin and Edie Brickell, the masterminds behind this season’s country-infused Best Musical nominee Bright Star, and Saoirse Una Ronan, currently embodying toxic mean girl Abigail Williams in Best Play Revival nominee Arthur Miller’s The Crucible.

Audra McDonald, a six-time Tony winner, was somehow overlooked for her killer performance in Shuffle Along or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed. Maybe six is the Tony cut-off quota and we didn’t get the memo. McDonald, whose baby bump will no doubt be turned into one of the June 12 broadcast’s biggest nudge-nudge-wink-winks, is slated to take a three-month hiatus from June 21st through September 27th.

Another New York stage stalwart lined up to present is two-time Tony winner Nathan Lane, who’s taken a bit of a Broadway sabbatical in favor of a couple of Off-Broadway roles: Hickey in the 2015 Brooklyn Academy of Music’s acclaimed production of The Iceman Cometh; and kicking off this season’s celebrity-driven White Rabbit, Red Rabbit at the Westside Theatre.

Saoirse Ronan, Cate Blanchett, Nathan Lane

Also on deck are Patina Miller, a recent Tony recipient for her role as Leading Player in the revival of Pippin, and music legend Carole King, whose life story is being spun and sung eight shows a week in the hit musical Beautiful at Broadway’s Stephen Sondheim Theatre.

As for the balance of presenter slots, since a bunch are still up for grabs I’d like to suggest Frankie Vallithe other music legend whose life story (Jersey Boys) is being spun and sung eight shows a week on Broadwayas a kindred jukebox bio bookend.

legrande tony cocktails

If you're looking to toast the Tonys a couple of weeks ahead of the big show, cocktail lounge LeGrande in the renovated Time New York hotel is running a special drink program. You can toast Spring Awakening with a blend of Red Bull and Citron Vodka, served with a lavendar garnish. Or go for a classic like The Patrick Bateman, with Glenlivet 12 served neat with a single ice cube on the side in a separate glass. The third option, the“Surprise Me,” celebrates Waitress by putting the selection of your cocktail into the hands of your server, allowing her to size you up and serve a cocktail of her choosing from the lounge’s full menu. The Tony specials run through June 12th. 224 W. 49th St., 212-320-2984,

About the Author

City Guide Theatre Editor Griffin Miller moved to New York to pursue an acting/writing career in the 1980s after graduating magna cum laude from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. Since then, she has written for The New York Times, For the Bride, Hotels, and a number of other publications, mostly in the areas of travel and performance arts. An active member of The New York Travel Writers Association, she is also a playwright and award-winning collage artist. In addition, she sits on the board of The Lewis Carroll Society of North America. Griffin is married to Richard Sandomir, a reporter for The New York Times.

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