Annual Broadway kudofest brings out the stars

View the Tony’s arrival gallery

Hollywood’s presence at the Tony Awards is nothing new, but the 64th annual kudofest’s red carpet bore a closer resemblance to a movie premiere than ever before.

Antonio Banderas, Melanie Griffith, Michael Douglas, Cate Blanchett, Naomi Watts and nominees Catherine Zeta-Jones, Laura Linney, and Scarlett Johansson were among the many film stars who quickly made their way down the rain-soaked carpet outside Radio City Music Hall on Sunday.

“Looped” leading actress nominee Valerie Harper, who’s been acting on Broadway since 1958, speculated that the multimedia names seek stage work “because there is a joy of working in live theater and for the prestige of playing on Broadway.”

All the talk about switching to intimate stage work didn’t stop the stars from bypassing the umbrella-toting, eager press for the warmer, hair-safe confines of Radio City. “Race” nominee, David Alan Grier was among the few who braved the tentless press line.

“It doesn’t have to be either or anymore,” Grier said. “You can be a film, television and a theater actor. That said, the stage really does test your (acting) level.”

“Time Stands Still” nominee, playwright Donald Margulies agreed with Grier, adding, “Actors are looking for challenging work, which I don’t think they are getting in film because those challenging roles are not happening as frequently as they did even 10 years ago.”

Still, while big names may garner broader ticket sales for Broadway, Grier joked that the disparity between a stage paycheck and a Hollywood paycheck is “a big problem. That’s why I’ll be in Vegas next week.”

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