Anticipating the Tony Awards, With Alan Cumming at the Café Carlyle, the Astaire Awards, and Stars in the Alley

Facing a crowd that included his mother and brother as well as Tony Danza, next up for a run at the Café Carlyle, Alan Cumming reminded everyone that he would be hosting the Tony Awards with Kristen Chenoweth on Sunday night, admitting that he was "freaking out." That was hard to believe from the poised actor, prepared by years of M.C. workout in Cabaret. But as he deftly sang his "sloppy" mash-ups including one channeling Adele, Lady Gaga, and Katy Perry, he paused to sing from the Kander & Ebb musical, The Visit, a contender for Best Musical: "You, You, You," a number sung memorably by Chita Rivera, herself nominated for Best Actress in a Musical.

This was just one of the many run-ups to the Tony Awards, Broadway's big night this Sunday. A steady stream of awards showcase exceptional work: this week, for example, at the 33rd annual Fred & Adele Astaire Awards, Leanne Cope and Robert Fairchild from An American in Paris, and On the Town's Tony Yazbeck were chosen best dancers. The award for Outstanding Choreography on Broadway went jointly to Joshua Bergasse (On the Town) and Christopher Wheeldon (An American in Paris). Is it just something for everyone, or an indication of the plays that have the winning buzz?

A taste was offered at the annual Stars in the Alley event last week, a free smorgasbord of performances from many shows, staged in Shubert Alley, between Junior's and the Booth Theater, home to Hand to God. Some highlights from Tony nominated plays included the Fun Home children, Sydney Lucas, Zell Steele Morrow, and Oscar Williams dancing and singing, "Come to the Fun Home," special appearances by Alex Sharp of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, and Steven Boyer, Geneva Carr, and Sarah Stiles from Hand to God (and yes, Tyrone too), Ben Miles, Lydia Leonard, and Nathaniel Parker from Wolf Hall 1 and 2 (heads intact). Christian Borle sang "It's Hard to be the Bard" from Something Rotten!, and could not stop moving, gyrating to the event's finale, "Dancing Queen" from Broadway's long running Mamma Mia!

A version of this post also appears on Gossip Central.