Conan O’Brien has reportedly passed on the chance to host this year’s Tony Awards, which fuels the guessing game as to who should emcee the June 13 event honoring the New York theater season. Unfortunately, some of the most obvious candidates for the Tony gig may have conflicts this year.Triumph the Insult Comic Dog will have to find another opportunity to hump Broadway stars.
Take Neil Patrick Harris, who earned such raves as last year’s host of the CBS broadcast that he wound up hosting the Emmys — and making a cameo during the opening of this month’s Oscarcast as well. While Harris will be on hiatus from CBS’ How I Met Your Mother, he may be busy prepping the August production of the musical Rent that he’s directing at the Hollywood Bowl.
Or take Hugh Jackman, a three-time Tony host (2003-05) who even earned an Emmy for his hosting song-and-dance in 2004. Jackman’s a terrific host, but he’s also potentially a nominee this year for last fall’s production of A Steady Rain, and he just started production on a new movie, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan.
Sean Hayes and Tony winner Kristen Chenoweth have huge fan bases and some theater cred (particularly Kristen), but they’re currently starring in the musical revival Promises, Promises (opening April 25, unless one of them decides to pull a Megan Mullally). Since the show is likely to be a multiple nominee this year, that may be too big a conflict (and time commitment) for them to host.
So here’s my left-field suggestion for a Tony host: David Letterman. Yes, it would provide a bit of synergy for CBS, the longtime broadcaster of the Tonys. And yes, Letterman’s history with hosting awards shows is not exactly encouraging. (“Uma, Oprah! Oprah, Uma!”) But Letterman’s Oscar gig was 15 years ago! Moreover, The Late Show is almost as much of a Broadway institution as Phantom since it’s taped at Ed Sullivan Theater right on Broadway since 1993.
What do you think, PopWatchers? Who would you like to see hosting the Tonys?