Friday, Jun. 05, 2009

Shows Worth Celebrating

The Tony Awards are on Sunday night. Do you care?

No reason you should, to be honest. Broadway's annual awards gala — which will be telecast again this year, despite perenially meager ratings, by CBS — has become little more than a three-hour orgy of promotional spots. For any show looking ahead to the lucrative summer tourist season, landing a production number on the telecast is an indispensable box-office boost. (Read "Inside the Mind of a Tony Voter.")

This year's show, moreover, will be even less suspenseful than usual, as one big musical, Billy Elliot, is a heavy favorite to sweep the awards. But the mood will at least be upbeat. Despite a crippling recession, Broadway set a new box-office record this season, and for a corny old reason: a lot of very good shows. If you're headed to New York this summer, here are my picks, with a sidelong glance at how they might fare on Sunday night.

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