For some reason, in the 72 different Tony awards we've held to celebrate excellence in theatre, there's been one glaring flaw... Female solo hosts are rare, the last one being almost thirty years ago, in 1990, and even looking at the full history, 14 out of 72 is not a great look. It's not to say that women who cohost don't do a fantastic job- I personally loved Sara Bareilles' hosting, but the bar right now is Kevin Spacey. Here's ten women beloved by the theatre community that would do a much better job!
10. Susan Egan
Susan is a beloved icon for much of the younger generation- being Meg in Hercules and then being Belle in Beauty and the Beast. Besides, Beauty and the Beast had such a magnificent run on Broadway that I think both it, and Susan herself, deserve a celebration, and what better way than as hosting the Tonys?
9. Alice Ripley and Emily Skinner
Okay, so I cheat a little. These wouldn't be solo hosts, rather reliving the fun of Side Show by once again being joined at the hip. In addition to that, they are both incredibly talented and could easily hold the weight of the hosting job.
8. Bonnie Mulligan
Even before she made her debut in Head Over Heels this season, Bonnie was a fan favorite in the theatre community, often appearing at 54 Below. Certainly, one of the most exciting prospects of Bonnie making her Broadway debut is that she now is eligible to host the Tonys! Bonnie draws light to every room that she enters and while we would all have to hunker down to avoid the trolls, especially if the awards don't go the way someone wanted so they start hurling mud at her, to have her light up the airwaves nation wide would be worth it.
7. Laura Benanti
Certainly a cherished member of the Broadway community (in addition to being Supergirl's mother/aunt and moonlighting as Melania Trump for Stephen Colbert), Laura Benanti is respected enough to get the audience's attention and hold it. She is a strong woman who can hold her own against whatever is thrown her way and despite any pitfalls that might befall her during the ceremony, has my trust that she could navigate through it without letting on to viewers that anything's wrong.
6. Jenn Collela
So, I'm not entirely sure of Jenn's hosting skills, but I do know this- in Come From Away, when she steps out as Beverly Bass in full costume, you know you're in good hands. Yes, it's 9/11, which is scary, and most of the theatre is crying already, but you know she's going to take good care of you, which is an important quality in a host! As well, she got her start in comedy, and I would love to see her performing in that range!
5. Sutton Foster
While Sutton has mostly moved to the small screen, she is still deeply beloved by the theatre community- and for good reason! She's our Millie! She's one of our Renos! She's our Fiona! We love Sutton Foster and I'm sure I speak for all of us when I say we would love to have her back for just one night.
4. Audra McDonald
Audra McDonald is, quite simply, a queen. And over the years, the things we've gotten to see her do- she deserves all of her Tonys. And when you're the person with the most Tonys for acting, I think it's fair to say that you deserve to host the Tonys! She tapdanced while eight months pregnant, she is capable of anything, I'm sure hosting would be a piece of cake for her.
3. Christy Altomare
Christy hosts a live during every show on her instagram in the ten minutes or so she has offstage, so we know she has the skills to be a host. In addition, she is deeply beloved by younger theatre fans- and for good reason! While many performers choose not to stage door to preserve their voice or for a variety of other reasons, she always makes a point to do it, and to make every single person feel like the most important person in the world while they talk to her. If she can make the entire theatre feel like that, then we're the lucky ones.
2. Laura Osnes
As the hostess of the Broadway princess party, Laura has already proven her ability to make people feel at home while still keeping the show moving. In addition to that, she's Broadway royalty! There's no reason at all to turn Laura away from a position that would be so perfect for her!
1. Bernadette Peters
She needs no introduction, no argument. She's Bernadette freaking Peters. She could spend every moment on stage trying to figure out how to set up her new Apple watch and we would still all watch, enraptured. It's my belief that Bernadette is theatre's G.O.A.T. and I would watch her do anything happily.
(Photo: wikimedia commons.)