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Tonys vs. Tony

Musical TheaterTheaterFilm FestivalsMoviesTelevisionCelebrities

Sure, Tony Soprano could get whacked when "The Sopranos" airs its last episode this Sunday night at 9, but he could also take out the Tony Awards.

Unfortunately, Broadway's awardcast is squaring off against the grand finale of one of TV's greatest series. It must also compete against Game 2 of the NBA finals ( Cleveland Cavaliers vs. San Antonio Spurs).

To add muscle to its draw, the Tonycast is loading up with socko entertainment for its air time an hour before "The Sopranos."

Angela Lansbury will introduce the opening number at Radio City Music Hall: a high-stepping extravaganza combining the Rockettes with the cast of the current revival of "A Chorus Line." There will also be production numbers of all other shows up for best musical or revival, with the exception of "The Apple Tree."

Among the performers will be Bernadette Peters, Patti LuPone and Bebe Neuwirth. They'll be joined by Tony darling Harvey Fierstein, who returns to the Rialto next season in the tuner version of "A Catered Affair."

Also added to the lineup were two-time Tony winner Matthew Broderick, "Scrubs" star Zach Braff, and Donny Osmond.

In 1982, Osmond made the wrong kind of Broadway history when he opened and closed in "Little Johnny Jones" on the same night. He returned to the boards last fall as the dastardly Gaston in "Beauty and the Beast." So successful was his four-month run that he is scheduled to reprise the role for one night when the musical closes July 29 after a run of 13-plus years.

There is little suspense surrounding who'll win some of the top awards races. Tom Stoppard's hefty trilogy "The Road to Utopia" is expected to be the easy winner of best play, an award that has gone to three of his previous shows: "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead" (1968), "Travesties" (1976) and "The Real Thing" (1984).

An overwhelming majority of awards gurus believe the prize for best musical will be claimed easily by "Spring Awakening," a celebration of young love and lust that transferred from Off-Broadway.

The most suspense surrounds the race for best actress, where expert opinion is split three ways: Eve Best ("Moon for the Misbegotten"), Julie White ("The Little Dog Laughed") and Angela Lansbury ("Deuce"). If Lansbury prevails for her role as an aging tennis star, she'll tie Julie Harris' record of five for the most Tony Awards for acting.

All of Lansbury's previous wins were on the musical side ("Mame," "Dear World," "Gypsy" and "Sweeney Todd"). All of Harris' victories were for dramas: "I Am a Camera," "The Lark," "40 Carats," "The Last of Mrs. Lincoln" and "The Belle of Amherst."

The other nominee who could tie the record is Audra McDonald, who has four Tonys for work as a featured actress. Two were for musicals ("Carousel" and "Ragtime") and two were for plays ("Master Class" and "A Raisin in the Sun").

This year she is up for best actress in a musical for her work as a spinster who finds fleeting love in "110 in the Shade." The only other time she competed in this category was in 2000 for "Marie Christine," for which she lost, as she predicted, to Heather Headley of "Aida." This year she won't say if she thinks she will win or lose, but nearly all pundits are picking Christine Ebersole to win for her dual roles in " Grey Gardens."

See a full rundown of the Envelope's Tony predictions by pros from Entertainment Weekly, USA Today, Back Stage, Playbill and the L.A. Times. Click here.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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