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Tony Awards 2018: what to know and how to watch

The biggest night in Broadway airs this Sunday on CBS.

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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is up for 10 Tonys, including Best Play.
Manuel Harlan
Aja Romano is a culture reporter for Vox, focusing on criticism and the ethics of culture. Before joining Vox in 2016, they were a staff reporter at the Daily Dot.

The 72nd annual Tony Awards ceremony is just around the corner, and if you’re one of the many theater fans for whom Broadway’s most star-studded evening is the awards night of the year, you’re in luck. For one thing, first-time co-hosts Josh Groban and Sara Bareilles have pledged to lean into their buddy chemistry when they take to the stage at Radio City Music Hall on Sunday, June 10, at 8 pm Eastern on CBS.

For another, the show’s most recently announced guest? Bruce Springsteen. The Boss will be performing during the ceremony, where he’ll also receive a Special Tony Award for his one-man show Springsteen on Broadway — described by the Tonys as “a once-in-a-lifetime theater-going experience for the Broadway stage, allowing fans an intimate look at a music idol.” Springsteen will accept the award alongside John Leguizamo, who’ll receive his trophy for “his commitment to the theatre, bringing diverse stories and audiences to Broadway for three decades.”

Apart from the prestige of guests like Springsteen, this year’s show is gearing up to be mostly fun and casual — mainly thanks to the Tony nominees themselves. Unlike the past few years, when the Best Musical category was dwarfed by heavyweights like Dear Evan Hansen, Hamilton, and Fun Home, this time around, the category is sparse and populated entirely by media franchise crossovers: Mean Girls, Frozen, and Spongebob. Even the underdog nominee The Band’s Visit was a warmhearted movie first. Meanwhile, this year’s crop of new plays is overshadowed by the biggest franchise crossover of all: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

There’s a definite sense of frivolity in this year’s offerings — at least until you come to the play revivals, where Marianne Elliott’s mega-production of Angels in America looms large. It’s the first time all eight hours of Tony Kushner’s landmark play have been revived on Broadway, and while Elliott’s interpretation arguably emphasizes grief over politics, it’s also impossible, in 2018, to escape the play’s pointed politicization.

The Tonys usually like to downplay the political — after all, the awards are as much a giant tourist advertisement as a celebration — but look for the ceremony to embrace the towering landmark of queer theater in its midst.

Other highlights to be on the lookout for include glimpses of Mark Rylance proving why he’s been nominated four times for a Tony, as well as appearances from Tina Fey (nominated for Mean Girls) and the totally random litany of rock stars who contributed to the score for the Spongebob musical.

And if you’re interested in predicting who’ll win, we’ve got you covered with our rundown of this year’s major nominees.

How to watch the 2018 Tonys

Where: Live on CBS. Or, if you subscribe to CBS All Access, you can live-stream coverage.

When: June 10 at 8 pm Eastern

Red Carpet: You can livestream the Red Carpet Pre-show on the Tony Awards Facebook page beginning at 5 pm Eastern

Why: Why not!