Big commercial hit and small, creative musical lead Tony Awards

Wed Jun 3, 2015 12:49pm EDT
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By Patricia Reaney

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Broadway is preparing for its biggest night on Sunday with the 2015 Tony Awards, U.S. theater's highest honors, following a record-breaking season with a commercial hit vying with an edgy musical for the top prize.

Tony winners Alan Cumming and Kristin Chenoweth, who is also a nominee, will co-host the show that will be broadcast live on CBS television from Radio City Music Hall.

The best musical prize has turned into a race with "An American in Paris," with a score by George and Ira Gershwin, and the lesbian coming-out story "Fun Home" in the lead.

"An American in Paris" had a slight edge among a poll of 14 theater experts on the awards show tracking website

"It's the big commercial hit, 'American in Paris' versus the small, critical darling, 'Fun Home,'" said Paul Sheehan, Gold Derby's executive editor.

Producer Debbie Bisno described 2014-2015, in which attendance topped 13.1 million and grosses soared to $1.36 billion, as "an incredibly robust, creative season."

"The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time," a British import about a 15-year-old math whiz with Asperger Syndrome, is the top bet to take home the Tony for best play.

Its young star, recent Juilliard School graduate Alex Sharp, could also top multiple Oscar nominee Bradley Cooper as the physically deformed male in "The Elephant Man" and English actor Bill Nighy's wealthy restaurateur in "Skylight" for the best actor award in a play.   Continued...

Actress Carey Mulligan attends the 2015 Tony Awards ' Meet the Nominees Press Junket' in New York April 29, 2015. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz