What Tonys Hosts Kristin Chenoweth & Alan Cumming Can Learn From Hugh Jackman, NPH, & More Past Hosts

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 12: Hugh Jackman (L) and Neil Patrick Harris perform on stage during the 65th Annual Tony Awards at the Beacon Theatre on June 12, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images)
Source: Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Broadway's biggest night is just a few more hours away, and the Tony Awards' hosts  Kristin Chenoweth and Alan Cumming are surely in the final lap of preparations for their classy gig. This stage is no place for the weak or the weak-willed. (Or weak-ankled. 'Cause of dancing.) More than any other trophy-bestowing ceremony, the Tonys promise constant entertainment. To add to that pressure, the broadcast is basically a three-hour international commercial for Broadway, showing people from all over why they go to New York and catch a show.

But in Chenoweth and Cumming I trust. Both are stage darlings (her: Wicked, him: Cabaret) who have also found success in film and TV (her: Pushing Daisies, him: The Good Wife). They're insiders, but they're also recognizable outside of midtown Manhattan. They're the definition of what it means to be a triple threat. But what sets Chenoweth and Cumming apart from the other talents treading the boards is that they both have so much character and charm. I can't wait to see them play off of each other.

Still, should they need a little guidance, I've put together this list of Tony Award-hosting lessons from a distinguished stable of past ringmasters. Here's what Team Chenoweth/Cumming can steal from their playbooks.

Wear Their Theater Love On Their Sleeves, Like Hugh Jackman

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Four-time Tony host Hugh Jackman never let his musical theater flag be grounded by his cinematic status as an action star. The opening number above is from the same ceremony where he won his own trophy for playing Peter Allen — another flashy Australian — in The Boy From OzJackman's pure joy and love of Broadway were infectious. Chenoweth and Cumming should let their own shine through.

Hire A Great Team, Like Neil Patrick Harris

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Traditionally, the opening number is the host's biggest Tony moment. But in 2011 and then again in 2013, NPH called in some talented friends to help him close out the show in a big way. While the ceremony was happening, Lin-Manuel Miranda, the Tony winning composer of In The Heights, was backstage co-writing a wrap-up rap (or rap-up? I'm hilarious.) of the evening's events. The second time around, Harris also enlisted six-time Tony goddess Audra McDonald to deliver some epic vocals and an iconic mic drop.

Between the two of them, Kristin Chenoweth and Alan Cumming probably know everyone who's ever worked in New York theater. Let's hope they ask some of their powerful pals to jump in.

Get A Little Silly, Like Whoopi Goldberg

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It's no secret that theater people are hams, and Whoopi Goldberg is no different. Her 2008 hosting gig was heavy on the bits, including this homage to pop culture's greatest nanny. Chenoweth and Cumming are both skilled comedians, and should embrace crazy costumes and corny jokes.

Strut Their Stuff, Like Angela Lansbury

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Guys, Jessica Fletcher can wail. With five ceremonies under her belt, Ms. Lansbury, National Treasure, holds the record for hosting the most Tony telecasts. Let's call her the Tony Godmother. Anyway, in 1989, she graced the audience with the highlights of her acclaimed performance as Mama Rose in Gypsy — showing off her pure, unadulterated theater chops. Chenoweth and Cumming also have the power to captivate in spades, no costumes, feats of songwriting, or back-up dancers really needed.

Whichever past hosts they take after, I can't wait to see what these two have in store for the show!

Images: Getty Images; Giphy

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