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Tony Stars Announced; New Award Category Established; Studio 54 is Tony Eligible logo
Kelsey Grammer, Susan Lucci, Bernadette Peters, Kathie Lee Gifford, Jane Krakowski, Jesse Martin, Jack Wagner, Carol Burnett, John McDaniel, Christine Lahti, Kristin Chenoweth, and Megan Mullally are among the stars who will participate in this year's Tony Awards ceremony on Sunday, June 4, to be telecast live from Radio City Music Hall on PBS (8-9pm) and CBS (9-11pm). It has also been announced that Nathan Lane will serve as special guest star and unofficial co-host of the ceremony with Rosie O'Donnell.

"The Tonys are going to be great this year, so watch," said O'Donnell. "There are a lot of great musicals and plays on Broadway now, and the 2000 Tony Awards will show television audiences what makes Broadway so special.

Entertainment highlights of the show will include live production numbers from the new musical nominees Contact (with nominees Deborah Yates and Boyd Gaines), James Joyce's The Dead (with Stephen Bogardus and Blair Brown), Swing! (with nominees Ann Hampton Callaway and Laura Benanti), and The Wild Party (with nominees Toni Collette, Eartha Kitt, and Mandy Patinkin). Production numbers from the nominated musical revivals Jesus Christ Superstar, Kiss Me, Kate, and The Music Man will also be showcased. And, despite severe criticism for the way that excerpts from non-musicals have been presented in the past, it has been announced that "the nominated plays Copenhagen, Dirty Blonde, The Ride Down Mt. Morgan, and True West, will also be featured on the telecast."

In related news, the Tony Awards Administration Committee will establish a new award category, "Special Theatrical Event," beginning with the 2000-2001 Broadway season. The new category will allow recognition of productions which may not be accurately described as musicals or plays; presumably, this includes dance concerts (like Fosse and Swing!), personal appearance shows (like those of Dame Edna and Jackie Mason), and productions which defy any sort of neat categorization (e.g., Contact).

Also, the committee has admitted Studio 54 to the list of eligible theaters for the new season, bringing the total number of Tony eligible houses to 38.

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