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Who should host the Tony Awards? (Suggestions welcome)

May 7, 2009 |  7:00 am

Ferrell

Hosting an awards show is an art unto itself. The challenge becomes exponentially greater when the broadcast in question is the low-ratings-plagued Tony Awards.

How best to attract viewers? Hire a celebrity, of course. But the key is to pick the right one -- ideally, someone who has mass appeal but who also possesses the stage cred so as not to offend theater purists. They should have tons of charisma and be able to sing and dance. Good comic timing doesn't hurt either.

Not many stars fit the bill. Two years ago, Hugh Jackman pulled it off to near perfection (and even won an Emmy for his efforts). We're sure that no one would complain if he returned as emcee this year, but given that he already hosted the Oscars in February, it's not a sure bet.

Which brings us to our central question: Who should host the Tony Awards this year?

Michael Riedel at the New York Post had the inspired idea of hiring Dolly Parton for the job. The country diva could certainly inject some much-needed naughty fun into the three-hour slugathon. But will she be in the mood considering that her show "9 to 5" was snubbed in the best musical category?

Culture Monster has thought long and hard about who should serve as host. (Well, for a few hours at least.)

Without further ado, here is our wish list of Tony hosts ...

Will Ferrell (in character as George W. Bush): The "Saturday Night Live" alum has loads of experience performing live and on TV at the same time. Plus, his show "You're Welcome America" (in which he plays the former president) received a Tony nomination for best special event. Seems like a no-brainer to us.

Neil Patrick Harris: Charming, witty and respected by the theater community. And he's famous with the young-uns thanks to his Internet hit "Dr. Horrible."

Jackblack Jack Black: Not technically a Broadway actor, granted. But he did star in "Prop. 8 -- the Musical" on the Internet. Surely that counts for something.

Nathan Lane: Yes, we know, he's hosted four times already, but he's a sure bet that the evening will be fun and sarcastic, though not necessarily surprising.

Jane Fonda: Why not? If it's class Tony wants, she's got it in spades. Plus, she's nominated this year, so we know she'll be there.

Cheyenne Jackson: He's not a bona-fide celebrity ... yet. But we think he's got what it takes to make the perfect Tony host -- looks, talent and musical theater chops. Did we mention looks?

Jeremy Piven: OK, so maybe his abrupt departure from "Speed-the-Plow" drew negative reviews. But the guy is funny. And this would be a chance for Broadway and the "Entourage" star to kiss and make up. 

Michelle Obama: Our first lady has demonstrated her interest in the arts by taking the family to the ballet. Who better than her to show the nation that theater is still important? At the very least, a presenter.

Got someone you'd like to see host the Tonys? All suggestions are encouraged. The Tony Awards will air Sunday, June 7, at 8 p.m. on CBS.

-- David Ng

More Tonys coverage:

'Billy Elliot' and 'Next to Normal' top 2009 Tony nominations

L.A.'s 'Rock of Ages' rocks Tony nominations

Tony Awards snub '9 to 5,' 'The Seagull' and 'Desire Under the Elms'

The Tonys: Musical fluff prevails while revivals trump new plays

Broadway artists react to their Tony nominations


Top photo: Will Ferrell as George W. Bush in the recent Broadway production of "You're Welcome America." Credit: Robert J. Saferstein / Associated Press.

Bottom photo: Jack Black. Credit: Dan Steinberg / Associated Press.

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