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Despite the disparate levels of buzz between this year’s Broadway productions, the 2016 Tonys, which air this Sunday evening, are about more than just the musical with an entire section of Etsy devoted to it (Schmamilton? Jeffington? I forget!). For the 70th year in a row, the Tony Awards will honor the best in Broadway from the past 12 months, and for the second year in a row, Anna Wintour will be involved.
If you’re wondering how fashion plays into the Tonys, fair question. Last year, the Vogue EIC took over styling the Tonys red carpet after being fed up with the amount of "mermaid fishtail strapless sequin gowns" that have haunted Tonys past. Since then, the fashion has been far more similar to what we’re used to seeing at other, non-Broadway events — think leg slits, voluminous gowns, and adventurous textiles. As she's back to dressing "selected nominees" this year, expect more of the same.
Another effect of Wintour’s presence at the Tonys: models. Last year, Kendall Jenner, Bella Hadid, Emily Ratajkowski, and Joan Smalls were all in attendance, despite having nothing to do with Broadway. According to a Page Six source, "The photographers were shoving the nominees out of the way to get pictures of all these Russian models."
Below, everything else to know before you tune in on Sunday evening:
Watch Lin Manuel-Miranda's Acceptance Speech
The most important fact about this year’s awards? Hamilton has officially broken the record for most nominations. With 16 in total, it topped previous record-holders The Producers and Billy Elliott, with nominations for Best Musical, Best Actor in a Musical, and even Best Sound Design of a Musical, to name but a few. For Best Musical, it’ll compete with School of Rock, Waitress, and others.
Like the Billboard Music Awards, the Tonys are one of those awards shows with roughly a zillion categories — which, combined with the many scheduled performances, is likely why it’ll air for a full three hours. Throughout the night, productions will compete in categories like Best Revival of a Musical (Fiddler on the Roof, The Color Purple, Spring Awakening, and others), Best Actress in a Play (Jessica Lange, Lupita Nyong’o, and Michelle Williams all got nods), as well as awards for costume design, set design, lighting, choreography, and more. To see the full list of nominees, head to the Tonys website.
While "Carpool Karaoke" chauffeur James Corden will host the event, he’ll be armed with plenty of help. Uzo Aduba, Cate Blanchett, Claire Danes, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Neil Patrick Harris, Jake Gyllenhaal, Saoirse Ronan, Steve Martin, Lucy Liu, Angela Lansbury, Nathan Lane, Diane Lane, and tons more will present the awards. Broadway legends Audra McDonald and Barbra Streisand (!!!) will also present. Oh, and Oprah!
You may not be able to afford tickets to Hamilton, but because all the nominees from Best Musical will perform at the Tonys, you’ll at least be treated to a snippet of it. Along with the presumed favorite to take home the award (it’s unclear which number they’ll perform), there’ll also be performances by the casts of School of Rock, Bright Star, Shuffle Along, and Waitress.
Also performing: Danielle Brooks and the cast of The Color Purple, Laura Benanti, Jane Krakowski, and the cast of She Loves Me, the casts of Fiddler on the Roof, Spring Awakening, and Sarah Bareilles. Though sadly, Barbra Streisand is not expected to perform, it’ll be her first time attending the Tonys since 1970.
How to Watch
The awards ceremony will take place from 8 p.m. EST to 11 p.m. EST.
Though the actual awards will take place at the Beacon Theatre in New York City, they will be broadcast live on CBS.