What to look for in tonight's Tony Awards

Ariana DeBose speaks at the 76th annual Tony Awards on June 11, 2023, at the United Palace theater in New York. This year's award ceremony streams live Sunday night.

Ariana DeBose speaks at the 76th annual Tony Awards on June 11, 2023, at the United Palace theater in New York. This year's award ceremony streams live Sunday night. (Charles Sykes, Invision via AP)

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Forget the Super Bowl. Tonight is my Super Bowl (minus the clever commercials and mouth guards).

You see, tonight is Broadway's biggest night — the 77th Annual Tony Awards.

It's the night where Broadway's biggest stars perform for free while I watch them from the comfort of my own home without paying upward of $100 per ticket.

Tony Awards performances live on forever, as theater fans will rewatch performances of years past over and over again on YouTube. I'll never forget being mesmerized as a 6-year-old in 1987, watching the cast of "Les Miserables" sing "One Day More." The video of Sutton Foster getting her break in "Thoroughly Modern Millie," while tap dancing her way to Broadway royalty, is still on my regular watchlist.

This year's Tony Awards are bound to create many more memorable moments fans will want to watch, in perpetuity.

Don't miss the following as you watch Sunday night's show:

Harry Potter can sing

That's right. Daniel Radcliffe and the cast of "Merrily We Roll Along" will sing a song from the show nominated for Best Revival of a Musical.

The circus is coming to town

Don't miss the fantastic acrobatic cast of "Water for Elephants." Based on the best-selling novel by Sara Gruen, "Water for Elephants" was nominated for Best New Musical. And for all the old "Glee' fans out there, keep an eye out for Grant Gustin, who stars in "Water for Elephants" every night on Broadway (you'll remember him as Sebastian from the Warblers in the third, fourth and fifth seasons of "Glee" or as Barry Allen in CW's "The Flash").

Stay gold, Ponyboy

The best song on Broadway is "Stay Gold," the heart-wrenching 11 o'clock number from "The Outsiders." While Tony Award organizers haven't announced what song each show will perform, I'm truly hoping this song is performed for all the world to see. Adapted from S.E. Hilton's book and Francis Ford Coppola's film, "The Outsiders" is up for 12 Tony Awards, including Best New Musical.

Spot celebrities

Keep an eye out for some of Hollywood's biggest celebrities, including Oscar winners Angelina Jolie (who is producing "The Outsiders") and Eddie Redmayne, who is performing a song from "Cabaret" (Best Revival of a Musical nominee). Grammy Award winner Alicia Keys will most likely be in attendance Sunday, cheering on the show loosely based on her own life — "Hell's Kitchen."

Learn your history

After hearing the cast of "Suffs" sing about the fight to give women the right to vote, you will want to sport a purple sash and join the fight. Shaina Tubb wrote the book, score and lyric and stars in this unforgettable production that should be required watching for all.

Listen to your favorite songs from the radio

Multiple Grammy Award-winner Alicia Keys wrote a musical loosely based on her life, and it's filled with the chart-topping hits of her career. Watch the Tonys and see which song they perform from her extensive songbook. "Hell's Kitchen" earned 13 nominations this year, including Best New Musical.

And, even more

The cast of "Stereophonic" is set to perform a song from the most Tony-nominated play ever (with 13 nominations). This brilliantly smart and witty play tells the story about a band recording an album.

And, if you think you can dance, the cast of "Illinoise" will perform a song from their dance review, featuring the songs of Sufjan Stevens starring "So You Think You Can Dance" season 11 winner Ricky Ubeda. The choreography is beautiful, but the show is controversial in the Broadway world, as it has not one line of dialogue.

The 77th Annual Tony Awards, hosted by Ariana DeBose, will air live from the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York City. To watch, tune into CBS from 6 to 9 p.m. MST Sunday, or stream it live.

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Leigh Gibson owns every Broadway musical cast album that money can buy, and is now teaching her three kids to love musical theater. She co-hosts the "We Are Here, Broadway" YouTube channel with her husband and visits New York City at least once a year to see every new musical.


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