OpinionStageTony Awards

Alan Cumming and Kristin Chenoweth: ‘It Takes Two’ for The Tony Awards

By Bridget McCarthy ’17 / Emertainment Monthly Stage Editor

Wilkommen to the 69th Annual Tony Awards! This year there’s not one, but two emcees, each no stranger to the Broadway stage: Kristin Chenoweth (On the Twentieth Century, Wicked, You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown), and Alan Cumming (Cabaret, Macbeth, The Threepenny Opera). CBS will broadcast the event live this Sunday, June 7 at 8/7c. Viewers can only hope the powerhouse hosting couple will have the same compelling chemistry they had in the 1999 TV movie version of Annie.

There have been some notable Tony Hosts in the past including Broadway legends Julie Andrews, Liza Minnelli, and Angela Lansbury. These divas are stage royalty, commanding the theater like the queens they are.

Julie Andrews’ medley from My Fair Lady and Camelot was inspired, demonstrating all the poise and preciseness a classic Broadway leading lady should embody. This performance was just one of the highlights during Andrews’ time cohosting with Jeremy Irons at the 45th Tony Awards in 1991 at the Minskoff Theatre.

It is impossible to forget Dame Angela Lansbury’s powerful performance of “Everything’s Coming Up Roses” from Gypsy during the 43rd Tony awards in 1989. It was so spectacular, it was used as the opener with a minimalist set – after all, what more do you need than Angela Lansbury as Mama Rose?

Icon Liza Minnelli hosted the 47th Tony Awards in 1993, but her most memorable moment that year was actually her duet with Lorna Loft. The medley showcases the best of Broadway and pays special tribute to their late mother, legend Judy Garland.

Although these female hosts are the epitome of all the glamour, poise, and power that Broadway represents, it’s undeniable that the ruler of Tony Awards Hosts is a King; and that King is no other than Neil Patrick Harris. Harris has hosted the award show four times, each with a moment that was unforgettable. His biggest performance as host would have to be the 2013 opening number, leaving the audience speechless with a standing ovation lasting over a minute long – a lifetime when the event is televised and every second counts!

If anyone could take away Harris’ title as Tony Host King, it would be Prince Hugh Jackman. Jackman has also hosted the Award Show four times, and the friendly rivalry between Hugh and Neil is noted in their hilarious 2011 duet ‘Dueling Hosts,’ filled with Broadway classics.

As for this Sunday, Chenoweth and Cumming may provide just the right combination to ultimately claim the title of best hosts of all time. After all, Chenoweth has a classically trained voice, a charming personality, and amazing comedic timing. All of which are highlighted in her charismatic 2004 Tony Award opening as Galinda the good witch in Wicked.

Meanwhile, Alan Cumming stole the show at last year’s 68th Annual Tony Awards as Emcee in Cabaret, receiving the Tony for Best Actor in a Musical for his eclectic, funny, and talented performance. This role was a reprise for Cumming, his first performance taking place at the 1988 Tony Awards.

In addition to these two star hosts at the ceremony, Darren Criss (Glee, Hedwig and the Angry Inch), Laura Osnes (CinderellaBonnie and Clyde, Grease, South Pacific), and Sierra Boggess (The Little Mermaid, The Phantom of the Opera, It Shoulda Been You) will co-host the first ever Tony Awards Red Carpet Live Stream.

This year, the Tonys seem to be saying “the more the merrier” when it comes to hosts. Viewers will get to see Cumming and Chenoweth live this Sunday on CBS at 8/7c on the 69th Annual Tony Awards.

 

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