Hollywood Reporter's Guide to the 2017 Tonys: What to Know About Sunday's Show

Kevin Spacey will host the Broadway honors ceremony, set to air on CBS.

The best of Broadway will be honored at the 71st annual Tony Awards, set to take place Sunday evening at the Radio City Music Hall in New York.

House of Cards star Kevin Spacey will make his debut as the show's emcee. Although best known for starring in Oscar-winning films, Spacey has a lengthy résumé of noteworthy performances on the stage. In 1991, he won a Tony for his performance in Lost in Yonkers and has also starred in productions of Long Day’s Journey Into Night, The Iceman Cometh and Richard III. He also served as artistic director of London's Old Vic for more than a decade.

The Tony Awards will begin at 8 p.m. ET (tape-delayed on the West Coast) on CBS. Prior to the show's broadcast, live coverage of the red carpet from NY1 will stream from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on TonyAwards.com and CBS.com. Erich Bergen will host the CBS Red Carpet Special via Facebook from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.


There are no clear frontrunners along the lines of last year's monster hit Hamilton to dominate the race, which means the 2017 ceremony will be an unusually competitive one. Leading the new musical field with 12 nominations is Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812, an electro-poperatic retelling of a chapter of War and Peace starring nominees Josh Groban, Denee Benton and Lucas Steele. That is followed by the nine nominations for the viscerally emotional Dear Evan Hansen, starring nominee Ben Platt as a depressed high-schooler caught up in a lie that acquires a life of its own in the social media bubble. Also, Come From Away, which relates the true-life tale of how a small town in Newfoundland hosted thousands of unexpected visitors from rerouted planes stranded after 9/11, has seven nominations, as does Groundhog Day, starring Andy Karl in the Bill Murray film role of jaded TV weatherman Phil Connors, stuck on a loop in small-town Pennsylvania.

The most-nominated new play is A Doll's House, Part 2 with eight mentions (four for its entire main cast). It stars Laurie Metcalf as Nora, the proto-feminist heroine of Henrik Ibsen's 1879 drama, who returns 15 years after walking out on her husband and children. Another lead contender is Oslo, J.T. Rogers' political thriller of the nine months of secret back-channel peace negotiations that led to the Oslo Accords between Israel and Palestine.

Hello, Dolly!, the blockbuster production starring Bette Midler in the title role, is the favorite in the musical revival category with 10 nominations. And two shows are tied with six noms each in the play revival race: Lillian Hellman's The Little Foxes, starring nominees Laura Linney, Cynthia Nixon and Richard Thomas; and August Wilson's Jitney, an ensemble led by nominee John Douglas Thompson.

Performances and Presenters

Leslie Odom. Jr. and Cynthia Erivo, both winners in 2016, are set to perform at this year's Tony Awards, as will the Radio City Rockettes. The ceremony is also set to feature performances by the casts of the musicals Bandstand; Come From Away; Dear Evan Hansen; Falsettos; Groundhog Day; Hello, Dolly!; Miss Saigon; Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812; and War Paint.

Scott Bakula, Sara Bareilles, Orlando Bloom, Rachel Bloom, Stephen Colbert, Brian d’Arcy James, Tina Fey, Sutton Foster, Josh Gad, Whoopi Goldberg, Jonathan Groff, Mark Hamill, Taraji P. Henson, Christopher Jackson, Allison Janney, Scarlett Johansson, Anna Kendrick, Keegan-Michael Key, Nick Kroll, John Legend, John Lithgow, Patina Miller, Lin-Manuel Miranda, John Mulaney, David Oyelowo, Chazz Palminteri, Sarah Paulson, Lea Salonga, Tom Sturridge, Tommy Tune, Olivia Wilde and 2017 Tony nominees Sally Field, Ben Platt, Groban and Midler are slated to take part in the telecast.

As previously announced, James Earl Jones, two-time Tony winner for Fences and The Great White Hope, will receive the Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theater.