Happy Tony night, Rushers! The most exciting event of the Broadway season has arrived. As you gear up for the ceremony, watch the stars arrive at the Beacon Theater’s red carpet below! The live red carpet webcast begins at 5:45 p.m. EST.
While you watch some of the biggest names in Broadway arrive, check out Stage Rush’s Tony-related content, and you’ll be completely set to predict all the big awards.
The back-and-forth chatter of who will go home a winner on Tony Awards night must come to and end, as the ceremony this Sunday draws closer. Stage Rush predicts the winners below!
AUDIO: Listen to Stage Rush editor Jesse North give his Tony Award predictions on WGHT radio’s “Curtain Call” (hosted by Teisha Bader).
The Motherf**ker With The Hat
War Horse (WILL WIN)
I’ve heard rumblings of a desire for an American playwright to take the award this year, but War Horse is too commercial and awe-inducing not to win. Read more
When Rory O’Malley called his mother in Ohio to tell her the happy news that he had been nominated for a Tony Award for his performance in The Book of Mormon, she suggested that he double check. “She said, ‘Are you sure? How do you know?’” O’Malley recalled. “I said, ‘It was on TV, Mom.’” Despite the momentary disbelief, O’Malley cites sharing the news with his supportive mom as the highlight of his Tony journey. “She certainly worked just as hard, if not harder, on my dreams by being who she is and raising me.”
O’Malley is proud of where he comes from and who he is. A Cleveland native with a firm Irish Catholic background, O’Malley knew he was gay from an early age and went on to co-found the gay rights organization Broadway Impact shortly after California’s Proposition 8 was passed in 2008. The non-profit, which he formed with two-time Tony nominee Gavin Creel, aims to educate about marriage equality with involvement from the Broadway community.
Given O’Malley’s proactive nature, it’s ironic that in the new musical The Book of Mormon, he plays Elder McKinley, a closeted gay man who fools himself into thinking that curing his homosexuality is as simple as turning off a light switch. He sings about it in one of the show’s most memorable songs, “Turn It Off,” a hilarious, tap-dance-filled number about blithely suppressing all unpleasant feelings. “I don’t know how many similarities there are between Elder McKinley and I. I certainly didn’t have the feeling to ‘turn it off’ in that way; at least not that long in my life,” O’Malley said. “You have to be yourself, be your own person, your own man. That’s a process. There are lots of Elder McKinleys out there. I hope they learn that too.”
VIDEO: Rory O’Malley on his spotlight number, “Turn It Off,” and the evolution of Elder McKinley
Tuesday morning, Brad Fleischer woke up to a text message on his phone from a friend that said, “bleep the Tonys.” Fleischer thought, ‘What does that mean?’ Since it was the morning the Tony Award nominations were announced, Fleischer knew it couldn’t be good. Fleischer costars with Robin Williams in Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo, which received three Tony nominations—Best Featured Actor in a Play for Arian Moayed, Lighting, and Sound Design. While the Bengal Tiger team is honored with the nominations, it was expected that the show, written by Rajiv Joseph, would be a contender in more competitive categories like Best Play, Best Direction, and also score a Best Leading Actor nomination for Williams. Fleischer, who seemed undaunted by the Tony news, said he was satisfied simply performing the show for its audiences, but noted a desire for the creative time to be recognized.
“I am on stage with the best young actors I’ve ever worked with, and Robin Williams—I have zero to complain about,” Fleischer said. “But it’s hard because we’re all a part of this play and we feel for Rajiv and Moises [Kaufman, the director]. This play wouldn’t exist without them.”
Bengal Tiger, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 2010, premiered at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City, California in 2009 with the same cast (minus Williams). It moved to the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles before announcing its Broadway run with the A-list Hollywood star in the title role. Fleischer called the experience a thrilling ride with no regrets. “The Tonys are that weird feeling that makes it seem like a hitch, but if the crowds keep coming, that’s all that matters,” Fleischer said. “We’re doing this for the audience.”
The Tony nominations were not the only significant event to impact the cast of Bengal Tiger this week. The play takes place during U.S. combat in Iraq in 2003. Not surprisingly, when the news broke Sunday night that Osama bin Laden had been killed in Pakistan, like the rest of the world, Fleischer was floored. “Whatever your reaction is to bin Laden’s death, as you start talking about it with your friends, you just start remembering the moments of the war,” Fleischer said. “My first thought was that I am so proud to be a part of this production at this time. You do theater to hopefully be moved by things. I am beyond interested to see how this news is going to affect our performances this week.”
VIDEO: Brad Fleischer talks about working with Robin Williams, the excitement (and reality) of Broadway, and stage stunts going awry.