8 Things Every Broadway Fan Should Watch, Read Or See Before The Tonys

All the dinner party highlights you’ll need.

Still deciding whether to forego rent this month and see Bette Midler in “Hello, Dolly!”? Is your obsession with Ben Platt starting to verge on unhealthy? Were you put on this earth to see Laura Linney and Cynthia Nixon swap roles every night in “The Little Foxes”?

Well, fear not, theater fans, because the Tony Awards are upon us, with host Kevin Spacey leading the festivities this year on CBS. The stars of stage and screen (alert: Cate Blanchett will be in attendance) will gather in New York City on Sunday night to celebrate the stellar year in theater.

This Broadway season took us everywhere, from working-class Pennsylvania in Lynn Nottage’s Pulitzer-Prize-winning play “Sweat” to inside the hearts of a fractured family facing the HIV/AIDS crisis in “Falsettos.” Also, though he may not be nominated, but now is a good time as ever to thank the theater gods for casting Jake Gyllenhaal in “Sunday in the Park with George.”

So whether you’re a diehard fan or just tuning into this whole Broadway thing, it’s time to do your homework and check out some theater #content from around the internet about the shows nominated this year.

And for those “Hamilton” fanatics, yes, the Tonys still happen when the musical isn’t nominated, but, rest assured, Lin-Manuel Miranda will be there.

“Dear Evan Hansen” (Best Musical)

From the minds of “La La Land” songwriters Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, “Dear Evan Hansen” has won over audiences (and Hollywood) thanks to a career-defining performance from Ben Platt and catchy ballads that tug at the heartstrings. Watch Platt and co-star Laura Dreyfuss’ performance on “Late Night with Seth Meyers” below.

“Sweat” (Best Play)

The early favorite to pick up the award for Best Play this Sunday, Pulitzer winner “Sweat” is the most politIcally relevant of the bunch, exploring the lives of factory workers in a small Pennsylvanian city. HuffPost recently interviewed playwright Lynn Nottage about what the play says about Trump’s America.

Nottage is also working on a companion piece titled “Floyd,” which will ... twist ... be a comedy.

“The Little Foxes” (Best Revival of a Play)

Laura Linney. Cynthia Nixon. Period piece. Need we say more? Set in a small town in Alabama circa 1900, both deliver tour de force performances and then switch roles on the subsequent night. They’re also close friends offstage, and brought the fun to “Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen” earlier this year.

“Falsettos” (Best Revival of a Musical)

We cried and then we cried some more. This musical revival about an imperfect family struggling to stay together in the wake of a divorce and a father’s coming out was a standout this season. The cast is slated to perform at the Tonys this Sunday, so read this comprehensive piece from BuzzFeed about why the show means so much to the LGBT community and how it’s more timely than ever.

“Hello, Dolly!” (Best Revival of a Musical)

As turn-of-the-century matchmaker Dolly Gallagher Levi, Bette Midler has been earning rave reviews for her long-awaited musical comeback to Broadway. The glorious cast album was recently released and, trust us, your ears will immediately thank you for this musical theater goodness.

Also, the movie adaptation starring Barbra Streisand is currently streaming on Netflix, so what’s the holdup?

“Jitney” (Best Revival of a Play)

From the mind of August Wilson, “Jitney” follows a group of drivers of unofficial and unlicensed taxi drivers ― called “jitneys” ―who transport residents of Pittsburgh Hill District in the 1970s because others refuse to do so. If you haven’t seen Wilson’s best known play “Fences,” the powerful film adaptation starring Viola Davis and Denzel Washington was released last year and also explores the experience and struggle of working class black Americans.

“Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812” (Best Musical)

This interactive musical needs to be seen to be believed and it’s far too complicated to explain (seriously, it’s adapted from a section of War & Peace), so check out the cast, including Josh Groban, performing two songs on the “Today Show.”

“The Present” (Cate Blanchett for Best Actress)

No one plays morally complex women like Cate Blanchett, and the Oscar winner is in fine form in this surprisingly modern adaptation of an unfinished Chekhov play. Directed by the actress’ husband Andrew Upton, the standout scene features a drunk Blanchett pouring vodka all over herself, as she dances on a dinner table. Watch his interview with the cast below, and for more vodka and Blanchett, check out “Blue Jasmine.”

The Tony Awards air at 8 p.m. June 11 on CBS.

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