Catherine Zeta-Jones (center) is just one Hollywood regular on the Tony nominee list. (Joan Marcus)
BROWSE PHOTOS: TONY AWARD NOMINEES -- FAMOUS FACES
Anyone who even casually follows the Broadway scene usually pays attention to the Tony Awards. The trophies, handed out to the best productions to splash on to New York stages during the past year, are important to theater people for a couple of reasons. One: they can sometimes have a positive impact on ticket sales, at least in the short term. (This year, revenues went up around the time nominations were announced, then slumped again.) And more importantly, they are an honor for any budding actor, writer, director, producer or otherwise theater-affiliated person to receive.
That said, the average person -- you know, someone who doesn't know all the lyrics from the soundtrack of "Spring Awakening" -- may avoid tuning into the Tonys because he/she assumes that the ceremony won't be interesting to anyone who resides outside of Manhattan and/or has never yearned to belt out a tune from "Cabaret." As an awards show junkie, I am admittedly biased. But I think the Tony Awards, especially this year, are worth checking out. Here are five reasons to watch this Sunday night.
1. You will recognize many of the nominees.
As this photo gallery demonstrates, some big-name Hollywood types are included among this year's group of worthy contenders. Among them: Denzel Washington, Scarlett Johansson, Jude Law, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Laura Linney. Most members of the stage community, understandably, don't want the Tonys to turn into a facsimile of the Academy Awards. But the star power definitely makes the occasion a little more glamorous to TV viewers who don't know the difference between stage left and stage right.
2. The presenters? You will recognize many of them, too.
Will and Jada Pinkett Smith. Daniel Radcliffe. Katie Holmes. Paula Abdul. Triumph the Insult Comic Dog ... okay, I was just kidding about that last one. But the other people I mentioned will all walk the Radio City Music Hall stage on Tony night.
3. One word: "Glee." Two more: Green Day.
"Glee" has made it somewhat fashionable -- or at least acceptably nerdy -- to belt out showtunes. So it makes perfect sense that Broadway vets and "Glee" stars Lea Michele and Matthew Morrison will appear to sing a duet -- something more lavish Broadway musical and less Journey, I'm guessing. And for those who break out in a hot rash at the mere mention of the words lavish, Broadway and musical in the same sentence, Green Day also plans to make an appearance to perform a song from their Tony-nominated musical, "American Idiot."
4. Sean Hayes is hosting.
Ordinarily that piece of information would mostly be of interest to longtime admirers of "Will and Grace." But given that Hayes inadvertently stood at the center of a recent controversy over gay actors playing straight roles, thanks to a much-dissected piece in Newsweek, it will be interesting to see what, if anything, the actor has to say about the matter. (He was more than mum during a conference call with reporters earlier this week, according to our colleague Emily Yahr. But he also hinted that he just might have something to say during the show.) He's also nominated for his turn in "Promises, Promises"; if he wins, I have to think he'll also have some choice words for Newsweek in his acceptance speech.
5. Unapologetic musical numbers!
Uh-oh. Just when I had you considering at least DVRing the Tonys, I had to scare you away with the musical numbers. Honestly, though, the Tonys live for this sort of things. Whereas the random interludes during the Oscars often seem maddeningly tangential, especially when the show is already running an hour behind, the ones at the Tonys serve a purpose. And since they're made by the people on Broadway, for the people on Broadway, they can often be show-stoppers. So go on, let your showtune-loving, gleek flag fly. If you're that embarrassed, you can always tell all your friends that the only reason you really watched was to see ScarJo and Denzel.