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BWW's EXCLUSIVE 2011 Tony Rehearsal LIVE Blog!

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The American Theatre Wing's 65th Annual Antoinette Perry "Tony" Awards presented by The Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing, will air on CBS on Sunday, June 12th from 8:00 - 11:00 PM (ET/PT time delay) live from the Beacon Theatre. 

Now, join BroadwayWorld.com's Editor-in-Chief Robert Diamond for an exclusive blog from LIVE Tony Rehearsals... Spoilers Ahead!

1:23 PM - It's now time for the special closing number, which I cannot reveal the details of, but it's lovable as well. Keep your browser tuned to BroadwayWorld.com for the day and the night for exclusive coverage, and lots of excitement!

1:22 PM - A stand-in for Chris Rock is out to present Best Musical. 

1:17 PM - Katie Finneran and Laura Benanti are back one last time -- they're out of awards, but they wanted to let everyone know to remain in their seats after the Best Musical Award because there will once again be a special closing number for the show. They also took one last opportunity to tell producers that they are not to rush the stage, but instead to go to the 'Winners Circle Stairs'. 

1:13 PM - We're back with a stand-in for Catherine Zeta-Jones presenting Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play and Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical. Both are VERY tight races. 

1:08 PM - A great performance and now back to commercial where they are showing 'previews' of shows coming to Broadway -- the return of HAIR, Frank Langella's return to Broadway in MAN AND BOY, Tyne Daly in MASTER CLASS, GODSPELL's Broadway return, OTHER DESERT CITIES and REBECCA in Spring 2012. 

1:02 PM - Onstage now is Paul Shaffer, to introduce a little disco song he wrote called 'It's Raining Men'. 

1:01 PM - And now, Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical. 

12:59 PM - A stand-in is now here for Daniel Radcliffe to present Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play. 

12:57 PM - We are now being treated to highlights from the PEE-WEE HERMAN show while they set the stage for next performance, from PRISCILLA, which will take place, post-break with Paul Shaffer, Martha Wash and of course the show's cast!

12:54 PM - Once again, it's Laura Benanti, back for Best Lighting Design for a Play. 

12:51 PM - Now it's a stand-in for Tyne Daly to introduce the 'In Memorium' segment about those who we lost this year. 

12:48 PM - After they sang and danced up a quick storm, onstage is Kelsey Grammer to present Best Revival of a Musical. Will it be ANYTHING GOES or HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS WITHOUT REALLY TRYING? We'll find out tonight! 

12:46 PM - A couple of stand-ins on stage for Craig Bierko and Stephen Colbert, both of whom are expected here tonight. 

12:43 PM - Now an actress making her Broadway debut in CHICAGO, the still-stunningChristie Brinkley introducing the ALL-STAR cast of COMPANY re-united on the Tony stage to perform 'Side By Side'. 

12:42 PM - They're now showing (very) short clips from all of this year's plays, about 5 seconds per play.  

12:40 PM - Welcomed to the stage now are James Earl Jones and Vanessa Redgrave to present a segment on the past year in plays. 

12:35 PM - Laura Benanti is back to present Best Lighting Design of a Musical!

12:33 PM - Holy tapping... Almost makes me wish that I was good at something other than web work. Maybe in my next lifetime? BTW, thanks to those who have emailed that they saw me on CBS this morning. Haven't seen it myself yet. 

12:31 PM - Sitting nearby is Kathleen Marshall who is proudly (and closely) watching her very talented cast rehearse their big tap number. 

12:30 PM - To introduce the company of ANYTHING GOES is none other than Joel Grey who got extremely loud applause as he was introduced. Now, here's Sutton Foster leading the cast in the show's title number. 

12:26 PM - Onstage is Samuel L. Jackson, who will be seen on Broadway later this year in THE MOUNTAINTOP. He's asking audience members who are standing in front of the teleprompter to sit down. When he tells you to sit down, you do. He's now presenting the award for BEST PLAY. 

12:25 PM - Neil Patrick Harris is now suggesting his new ideas for combining reality shows with Broadway, ranging from The Real Housewives of JERUSALEM to HOW TO SUCCEED on the Jersey Shore WITHOUT REALLY TRYING, PIPPINTERVENTION and more. 

12:24 PM - Back from break again. BTW, it's currently FREEZING in the Beacon. No doubt it'll warm up with a full audience tonight, but now --- brrrr. 

12:23 PM - And now to entertain the audience for the rest of the break, is Colin Quinn on video from LONG STORY SHORT. 

12:20 PM - Back to commercial and while the kids (loudly) celebrate in the lobby, Laura Benanti is back to present Best Scenic Design of a Musical. 

12:18 PM - The center aisles are filled with cast members and special kids helping the cast out with a rousing version of "Steal Your Rock 'N' Roll". The talented kids could not be any cuter. 

12:16 PM - Now back to Neil Patrick Harris to talk about Audemar's Piguet who bought out the house of MEMPHIS. In celebration, it's the cast of last year's Tony-winning best musical for an encore performance - MEMPHIS! 

12:15 PM - With standins for the show's producers, we've now seen the first attempt at just letting one producer up on stage to accept the award, and sending the others to the winner's circle 'stairs'. Seems like it will work well! Certainly was faster than in year's past. 

12:12 PM - Please welcome, two time Tony nominee - Patrick Wilson. Wilson is onstage with his very cute son to present Best Revival of a Play. Videos are now playing from each of the nominees, ARCADIA, THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST, THE MERCHANT OF VENICE and THE NORMAL HEART, which is my vote for what it's worth (not much). 

12:10 PM - Marg Helgenberger is now on stage to introduce the videos of the next two plays, The Mother***** with the Hat, introduced by Bobby Cannavale talking about the play, and next is Seth Numrich talking about WAR HORSE, complete with a horse cameo of course... and now, there's a horse puppet on stage carrying host Neil Patrick Harris. 

12:08 PM - Cast members from MEMPHIS are on stage to introduce 'Steal Your Rock and Roll'. They're askng audience members to keep the aisle clear for the performance and to sing along in the 'Na Na Na Na' section of the song. I think we've got it!

12:06 PM - 'Raise Your Voice' raised the roof at the Beacon and now we're back to commercial so the lovely Katie Finneran and Laura Benanti are back to remind producers of nominated plays, musicals and revivals as to where they have to go if their show wins. Only designated acceptors and approved individuals are invited on stage, other producers will appear in the 'Winners Circle' on the right side of the house, instead of storming the stage as in past years. Gulp. 

12:02 PM - Performing 'Raise Your Voice', it's Patina Miller and the cast of SISTER ACT!

12:01 PM - Whoopi Goldberg's stand-in is here to introduce a musical based on 'a little movie I was in' - SISTER ACT. As she speaks on stage left, the crew is bringing on set pieces from the show. 

11:58 AM - Back to Neil Patrick Harris introducing Robin Williams (who is here!) to present Best Book of a Musical. Williams hilarious opening line - "Coming to Broadway next season, Moammar Kadafi in 'Catch Me If You Can', the Shiite will Hit the fan!"  

11:57 AM - And next is Mark Rylance on screen talking about JERUSALEM. These short video pieces are actually pretty effective (or as effective as you can be) talking about the plots and casts of the plays in quick sound bites. 

11:56 AM - Onstage is Jim Parsons, making his Broadway debut this season in THE NORMAL HEART. Parsons is introducing cast members from the nominated plays who will talk (in pre-taped videos) about the plots of their plays. First up, GOOD PEOPLE. 

11:53 AM - Now they're thanking Tony Sponsor Audermars Piaget. As a side-note for any fellow geeks reading. Here in the Beacon at least, Verizon's mobile 4G hotspot is working 3x as fast as Sprint's did. 

11:50 AM - SPIDER-MAN finished their number (safely) and back during the latest break is Katie Finneran to present the award for Best Scenic Design of a Play. Just a reminder that these creative awards that are taking place during commercial breaks will only be seen in the Beacon and in Times Square but we'll be announcing the winners live on BroadwayWorld.com here too!

11:46 - Bono and The Edge are here (well, their stand-ins are), joking that they missed the deadline for nominations, but promising that the show will open on Tuesday night. They're here to introduce Reeve Carney and Jennifer Damiano performing from SPIDER-MAN: TURN OFF THE DARK. Will we see them back at next year's Tonys? We'll find out. In the meantime -- 'If the World Should End'. 

11:42 AM - Wild applause for their fun-filled number which will have everyone talking after tonight's broadcast! Brooke Shields is now called to the stage to present Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical!

11:39 AM - And now the pair are singing a medley together -- "Anything you can do I can do better, A host like that...." and now they're doing a dance-off into 'You're the top...' 

11:37 AM - Jackman is motioning for Harris to stay on the stage and asking for applause for 'Neil Patrick Harrison', noting that 'for a guy who does sitcoms, he's great!'. Harris giving it back to him though, we'll save the rest of the witty banter as a surprise for tonight. Definitely a highlight. 

11:35 AM - This year's Tonys definitely feel very performance heavy (a good thing IMHO). We're now back from break with Neil Patrick Harris center stage to introduce Hugh Jackman, 'a talented actor and one-time host of this show'. 

11:32 AM - Katie Finneran is back to present Best Costume Design of a Musical. The likely favorite tonight is PRISCILLA, but as always, anything can happen. 

11:31 AM - Those expecting hilarity from THE BOOK OF MORMON will not be disappointed with the fantastic presentation of "I Believe" from the show. Wonderful! 

11:27 AM - Onstage is THE BOOK OF MORMON's Andrew Rannells singing "I Believe"!

11:26 AM - Stephen Colbert's stand-in is now here to introduce THE BOOK OF MORMON!  

11:25 AM - The award (for rehearsal only) goes to Laura Benanti, who has bounded up on the stage to 'accept' her award. She's noted that now no matter what happens, she can say that she 'won' today.

11:24 AM - Neil Patrick Harris is here introducing (the stand-in for) Harry Connick Jr, who will present the award to the Best Performance to a Featured Actress in a Musical. 

11:20 AM - In the house is Hugh Jackman, and we're back from break, Neil Patrick Harris is onstage to Ted Chapin and Angela Lansbury on stage to talk about the presentation of the 65th Annual Tony Awards and to talk about the American Theatre Wing. So far, the loudest applause of the day have gone to the beloved Lansbury. 

11:18 AM - Back to an actual 'commercial', a promo video is showing for the Drama Book Shop, also being honored this year. Kudos to them!

11:17 AM - And now we're back to 'commercial', but Katie Finneran is back on stage to present the award for Best Costume Design of a Play...

11:14 AM - A great promo for the upcoming tour, and a reminder that the show had a shorter-than-it-deserved run on Broadway, the cast is back together and fantastic!

11:12 AM - Academy Award nominated Actor Don Cheadle (well, his stand-in) is here to introducing the cast of THE SCOTTSBORO BOYS to loud applause. 

11:11 AM - Next, David Hyde Pierce is also announcing the nominees (and winner) for Best Direction of a Play. 

11:08 AM - And, now back to the show, introducing David Hyde Pierce, who is here to give the award for Best Direction of a Musical. He's excited to give this award because he's got friends who have been nominated and will soon be directing himself for the first time. 

11:07 AM - He got 7 in for those keeping track, we'll see how he does tonight!

11:06 AM - Neil Patrick Harris is back on stage, promising that he's not going to be doing a full show of SPIDER-MAN jokes, so he's instead giving himself 30 seconds to get through as many jokes as he can. 

11:04 AM - They're now showing a video highlighting the work of animal trainer extraordinaire and new Tony winner, Bill Berloni - many cute animals, mostly rescues who have 'starred' in numerous Broadway shows. 

11:02 AM - Back on stage is Laura Benanti, to present Best Sound Design of a Play. She also thanked the actor who tweeted her a picture of his 'trophy', and congratulations. 

11:01 AM - Deservedly loud applucase for the cast of CATCH ME IF YOU CAN who now is exiting through the house as we go into the next commercial break.

10:58 AM - And now Aaron is telling the show's story, and introducing co-star (Tony nominee) Norbert Leo Butz to very loud applause, who is now leading the cast in "Don't Break the Rules".

10:57 AM - Now on stage is the star of CATCH ME IF YOU CAN, Aaron Tveit to introduce that show's production number beginning wiith 'Live in Living Color'. 

10:54 AM - John shared his 'Broadway moment' and now it's Viola Davis on stage, last year's Tony Winner and she is here to present Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play. 

10:50 AM - NPH is calling up to the stage John Leguizamo. John is at the Puerto Rican Day parade at the moment, but his stand-in is amusing on his own, doing a few minutes of John's standup from his accalimed GHETTO KLOWN. 

10:48 AM - We're back from the first commercial break with Neil Patrick Harris who is explaining that there's one Play this evening with a title that can't be mentioned on TV, so he's suggesting some alternatives. Sadly, they've decided on the Mother with the Hat. 

10:45 AM - Back on stage are Laura Benanti and Katie Finneran back on stage - "Told you we'd be back, just like SPIDER-MAN". They're back to give out the award for Best Sound Design. 

10:44 AM - Loud applause for the cast of HOW TO SUCCEED, and now it's off to the first 'commercial break'. 

10:40 AM - The night's first performance, it's 'Brotherhood of Man', led by Daniel Radcliffe. The digital backdrops look great and kudos to the cast's high-energy at this early (for Broadway) hour. 

10:38 AM - The cast is now on stage for 'Brotherhood of Man', it's the 50th anniversary of the show and the performance will be conducted by the original conductor of HOW TO SUCCEED on Broadway. 

10:37 AM - It's two Tony winners, both for the same role. Robert Morse and Matthew Broderick are on stage to WILD applause and are here to introduce the first performance from the night for HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS, nominated for Best Revival! 

10:36 AM - The first Tony presenter will be Alec Baldwin, presenting Best Performance by a Featured Role in a Play. This year, it's all first time nominees! 

10:35 AM - As promised, I can't tell you what happens during the opening numbers but expect cameos, hilarity and more. It's a GREAT number and a perfect way to begin this year's show. 

10:30 AM - It's the official start of the show now and on stage is Neil Patrick Harris! 

10:27 AM - Just under 3 minutes to the dress rehearsal for the awards themselves, the house is buzzing with many of the nominated shows creative teams in the house to watch their numbers. 

10:23 AM - That's it for the pre-show awards... They'll be back in 5 minutes to start the official rehearsal for the live broadcast! The other creative awards will be presented throughout the night during commercial breaks. 

10:21 AM - Next up, Best Choreography. Right now they're running through the pre-show rehearsal for the awards that will be given out before the broadcast. The only place to watch these awards will be in the Beacon or at the Times Square Simulcast. We'll be bringing you the winners LIVE on BroadwayWorld.com tonight and highlights will be shown throughout the broadcast. 

10:20 AM - The second pre-show competitive award will be Best Score...

10:18 AM - Onto the competitive awards, up first, it's Best Orchestrations! 

10:15 AM - It's now time to honor the Lookingglass Theater Company of Chicago, this year's Regional Theater honoree. A film is now being show about some of the theatre's great work including 55 (!) world premieres. Accepting the award will be David Schwimmer, who's not here.

10:14 AM - Katie Finneran and Laura Benanti are now back onstage to honor the briliant Handspring Puppet Company, the creatives behind the innovative WAR HORSE, their first Broadway production. 

10:13 AM - Making it easier for those hitting 'refresh', new entries will now be posted at the top. Ensler's stand-in has just welcomed everyone to the awards. 

10:10 AM - WICKED, VAGINA MONOLOGUES and NEXT TO NORMAL producer David Stone has taken to the stage to honor Isabelle Stevenson award winner - Eve Ensler.

10:09 AM - For rehearsal purposes, the 'winners' are wonderful reps from Actors Equity who are standing in for the actual winners and making their own speeches for timing purposes. 

10:08 AM - Next up is fellow lifetime achievement award winner, Phillip J. Smith of the Shubert Organization. We're now watching a film about his ascension from box office treasurer on up to the top!

10:07 AM - They've now introduced a special film piece about special Tony winner, Athol Fugard, lifetime achievement award winner, followed by the presentation of the award to a stand-in for Fugard (and music from The Man of La Mancha). 

10:06 AM - This year, they're doing things differently, giving out awards both pre-show and during the commercial breaks. 

10:05 AM - Winners have 90 seconds from when their name is called to get up on the stage and to make their speeches. Laura's advice? Hike up your skirt, and push the camera person out of the way. 

10:04 AM - First up, the pre-broadcast rules and regulations where Katie is now giving instructions as to where winners are supposed to go when their name is called, what microphone to use and other pertinent details. 

10:03 AM - Welcome to the hosts for the Creative Arts Awards, Tony-winners Laura Benanti and Katie Finneran! Katie and Laura are welcoming the audience, with Laura noting that they've already been up on stage longer than the run of Women on the Verge... and that they have to get through a lot of awards quickly. 

10:01 AM - The Broadway League's Charlotte St. Martin is recognizing the show's corporate partners and this year's special Tony honorees, and we're off!

10:01 AM - Just walking in the house, Robert Morse! 

10:00 AM - The pre-show rehearsal is beginning with Ted Chapin, Charlotte St. Martin, Howard Sherman and Paul Libin welcoming the audience to the 65th Tony Awards! He's promising a great show celebrating Broadway's record breaking season. 

9:30 AM - We are now here live at the Beacon theatre where workers are buzzing around like bees inside and outside preparing for Broadway's big night. If all goes to schedule, the official dress rehearsal will begin at 10:00AM. As in year's past, the two things I *won't* be telling you about will be the special opening and closing numbers. There are some special surprises that are always worth waiting for! More soon...


 

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