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Warming Up for the Tony Awards at the Tony Honors Ceremony

Celebs had to push their way through the food festival on West 46th Street in order to make it to the Tony Honors ceremony, which provided a bit of a warm-up for Sunday’s Tony Awards just as the weather in New York was warming up to summer-like temperatures.

A slew of nominees gathered, including acting contenders Neil Patrick Harris, Bryan Cranston, Idina Menzel, Kelli O’Hara, Anika Noni Rose, Sophie Okonedo and Chris O’Dowd. Director Kenny Leon, who directed Rose and Okonedo in “A Raisin in the Sun,” turned up too, just before heading on to the first preview of his latest Broadway musical, “Holler If Ya Hear Me.” “Aladdin” director Casey Nicholaw, Disney Theatrical producer Thomas Schumacher, “If/Then” producer David Stone and composer Tom Kitt also were among the nominees shmoozing at the Diamond Horseshoe.

All of them are up for awards come the June 8 kudofest, but in this case they had gathered to applaud the folks who were receiving the Tony honors, which are given out every year to legiters whose work isn’t eligible in one of the 26 competitive awards. The honorees — longtime general manager Charlotte Wilcox, Actors Fund topper Joe Benincasa and photographer Joan Marcus — kept their speeches brief, which wasn’t a surprise from folks more used to working backstage than on it.

Regardless, the trio couldn’t have gotten a warmer reception than the one they got from the room full of industry insiders who work with them day in and day out. “I’ve probably worked with 99% of the people in this room,” said Marcus. “Pictures are forever. Thanks for letting me be your record.”

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