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Tony Awards 2013: Who will win?

Despite a Broadway season that saw a 6-percent dip in attendance, theater fans still have cause for celebration at this Sunday’s Tony Awards. There’s a  contest heating up for Best Musical, pitting the “revolting” children of Matilda against the fabulous drag queens of Kinky Boots.

And there’s some real suspense in other major categories: Will two-time Oscar winner Tom Hanks (above) add a Tony to his mantel for his Broadway debut in Lucky Guy? Will former Who’s the Boss star Judith Light win back-to-back Tonys in Best Featured Actress in a Play? EW critics Melissa Rose Bernardo and Thom Geier offer their predictions of who will be step-step-kicking to the podium at Radio City Music Hall this Sunday. (By the way, we’ll also be live-blogging the ceremony, hosted for the fourth time by the Energizer bunny of awards-show hosts, Neil Patrick Harris.) Disagree with our picks? Please let us know who you think will win — or should win — in the comments section.
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Tom Hanks, Scarlett Johansson join roster of stars at this year's Tony Awards

Tom Hanks, Scarlett Johansson, Cuba Gooding, Jr., Jesse Eisenberg, Jon Cryer, and Martha Plimpton will present at this year’s Tony Awards, the American Theatre Wing announced today. Hanks, et al. join host Neil Patrick Harris (returning for the fourth time) and each has a connection to the Great White Way.

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Actors, politicians, and other people who lie for a living top list of the 100 Most Trusted People in America

Reader’s Digest has released their list of the 100 Most Trusted People in America. Tom Hanks, Meryl Streep, Brian Williams, Judge Judy, Hillary Clinton, and many other politicians, performers, and TV hosts — people whose entire professional existence is arguably focused on constructing elaborate fictions and saying what you want to hear in lieu of the actual truth — all feature prominently in the list, beating out by a wide margin “Your Mother,” “Your Father,” “Your Second-Grade Teacher,” and many other people you probably should actually trust despite the fact that they aren’t famous. READ FULL STORY

Nora Ephron's 'Lucky Guy', starring Tom Hanks, recoups investment on Broadway

Lucky Guy, the late Nora Ephron’s valentine to the 1980s heyday of New York journalism, has more good news this week on top of its impressive six Tony nominations (including nods for Ephron for Best Play and first-time Great White Way star Tom Hanks). It has become the latest Broadway production to recoup its investment, after only eight weeks on the boards — a fast feat for any show, play or musical.

Since opening on April 1, the play — chronicling the controversial career of late Pulitzer-winning newspaper columnist Mike McAlary — was met with some mixed reviews but audiences have been arriving in droves, as the production has consistently grossed over $1 million per week. (Also, Hanks is greeted with a Hollywood red carpet-size fan base on 44th Street after each and every performance.)

The capitalization is reported to be $3.6 million, and given that the show still has nine weeks left in the run (it closes July 3), that means there is plenty more Lucky-ness to be had. And that’s no small feat this season, given how some high-profile shows have already shuttered (Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Hands on a Hardbody) or announced as much. As its protagonist journo McAlary might exclaim

: f—!

Read more:
Read the full list of 2013 Tony Nominations
2013 Tony Nominees: Who Got Snubbed?

Tom Hanks, Bette Midler and Steve Martin among 2013 Drama Desk nominees

Tony nomination surprises and snubs: Not much love for 'Motown' or Bette

There were plenty of surprises in the Tony nominations this morning, starting with the fact that the most-recognized show was Cyndi Lauper’s Kinky Boots (with 13 total nominations, including Best Musical) — and not presumed front-runner Matilda (with 12). Of course, the Roald Dahl-inspired Matilda might have picked up a tying 13th nomination had the four young actresses rotating in the title role not been ruled ineligible for Best Actress in a Musical (the quartet will share special Tony honors instead).

Plenty of familiar Hollywood names made the cut for nominations, including three in the Best Actor in a Play category: Tom Hanks (inching closer to EGOT status with his leading role in the late Nora Ephron’s play Lucky Guy), Nathan Lane for The Nance, and David Hyde Pierce for Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike.
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Tom Hanks, Bette Midler and Steve Martin among 2013 Drama Desk Nominations

The Drama Desk Awards — commonly known as the theater world’s Golden Globes, though nominees are represented across all NYC productions in a season — are the last precursor to the Tony Awards (check EW.com tomorrow morning for a full list of those). And judging by the list below, it’s going to be quite a competitive year, with some pretty heavy-hitters mixed in with longshots, not to mention some major snubs (Alan Cumming, Cyndi Lauper, Fiona Shaw, Chaplin‘s Rob McClure to name a few). The winners will be announced at NYC’s Town Hall on May 19.  Below is the full list of nominees and special awards recipients: READ FULL STORY

Broadway box office: 'Matilda' joins 'Motown' and 'Lucky Guy' as a new hit

Matilda has emerged as a Dahled-up hit of the new Broadway season. In its first full week since its April 11 opening, the rapturously reviewed musical earned $1.13 million for the week ending April 21, according to figures from the Broadway League. That’s a 51 percent increase in ticket sales from the previous week, and represents nearly 89 percent of the potential gross from the Shubert Theatre.

Matilda is one of four brand-new shows that joined this week’s Million Dollar Club of high earners on the Great White Way. The Tom Hanks-topped drama Lucky Guy raked in $1.41 million, fully 124 percent of its potential earnings due to premium-priced ticket sales; Motown the Musical pulled down $1.15 million, 81 percent of its maximum; and the Cyndi Lauper musical Kinky Boots kicked up $1.06 million, about 73 percent of its potential high.

Rounding out this week’s Million Dollar Club are four long-running mainstays: The Lion King ($1.84 million); Wicked ($1.81 million); The Book of Mormon ($1.67 million); and Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark ($1.06 million).

Five more shows are slated to open this week, including a high-profile (and high-flying) revival of the musical Pippin, which last week earned $683,911 (a strong 74 percent of its potential gross).  And there are early indications of box office staying power for Bette Midler’s one-woman play I’ll Eat You Last, which broke a new record last week for the relatively small Booth Theatre with $686,031 in sales. What’s even more impressive is that the Divine Miss M is playing just seven performances a week (most Broadway shows do eight).

Some other star-driven nonmusical newbies — including The Nance with Nathan Lane, Orphans with Alec Baldwin, Macbeth with Alan Cumming, and The Trip to Bountiful with Cicely Tyson and Cuba Gooding Jr. — have yet to spark much box office heat. Each show may have to hope for a strong critical embrace (several have only just opened or will be debuting in coming days) and the even stronger embrace of the Tony nominating committee (which announces its picks on April 30).

Follow Thom on Twitter: @ThomGeier

Read More on EW.com:
This Week on Stage: Alec Baldwin, Nathan Lane, The Rascals, and a slew of new openings
See Opening Night Video for The Nance
Listen to three tracks from Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812
EW Stage hub

This Week On Stage: Tom Hanks and Cyndi Lauper take on Broadway

It was a notable week on the boards, one that included the Broadway debut of a most-beloved film star, a reboot of a musical two-hander with quite a vocal fanbase, and the Main Stem composing debut of an ’80s pop icon. (Click on the links below to read our full reviews.)

Lucky Guy A smoky, New York-flavored ode to Mike McAlary, the respected and feared tabloid journo who exposed corruption in the NYC police ranks, Lucky Guy brings two-time Academy Award-winner Tom Hanks to the Great White Way, courtesy of a script by the late, adored Nora Ephron (Sleepless in Seattle). But despite good notices for Hanks in most circles, critic Lisa Schwarzbaum was duly unimpressed, citing that “two hours of Lucky Guy and a theater-goer with no previous knowledge of McAlary and his tabloid cronies will still have no idea why Ephron was so enamored of this blowhard” and that the production “feels so inconsequential and dramatically inert.” EW grade: C+ READ FULL STORY

Broadway box office: An Easter-bunny bounce for 'Cinderella,' 'Motown,' and more

The Easter Bunny brought a special treat to Broadway last week, with overall grosses up 24 percent for the week ending March 31, according to figures from the Broadway League. With a deluge of tourists in New York City for the springtime holiday season, virtually every show saw a sizable bunny-hop in sales (and far less discounting than usual). Wicked and The Lion King both topped $2 million in grosses for the week, while 11 other shows crossed the $1 million threshold.

Among the week’s Million Dollar Club were three new-this-season productions: Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella ($1.4 million), the Tom Hanks-led drama Lucky Guy ($1.25 million), and Motown: the Musical ($1.16 million). That’s the third consecutive $1 million-plus week for Motown since it began previews, a record for a brand-new show opening cold on Broadway (without a previous production Off Broadway or out of town). READ FULL STORY

Broadway box office: 'Motown' musical joins Million Dollar Club in its first week

The producers of Motown: The Musical must be dancing in the street. In its first week of previews, the Broadway show about Berry Gordy’s legendary R&B label grossed $1.03 million over just seven performances, according to figures from the Broadway League.  Motown (featuring Brandon Victor Dixon and Valisia LeKae, pictured above, as Gordy and Diana Ross) seems primed to become a regular member of the Million Dollar Club of weekly high earners, especially since it begins a standard eight-performance schedule this week. Of course, critics will also weigh in when the show officially opens April 14. In the words of the Temptations, get ready.

Two other new shows cracked the $1 million mark for the week ending March 17. Lucky Guy, the soon-to-open drama penned by the late Nora Ephron, starring Tom Hanks, played to standing-room-only houses and grossed an impressive $1.29 million, representing 115 percent of its potential gross in the Broadhurst Theatre thanks to premium ticket sales. Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella took in $1.1 million, a strong 68 percent of its potential earnings in the larger Broadway Theatre. READ FULL STORY

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