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Broadway to celebrate Tony awards with NY street party

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Broadway is gearing up for the annual Tony theater awards on Sunday with a roster of top stars set to hit the red carpet and a simulcast slated for a mass viewing party in Times Square.

The 67th annual awards, Broadway's highest honors, will be held at Radio City Music Hall and include appearances by nominee Tom Hanks and other stars including Scarlett Johansson, Sigourney Weaver, Jake Gyllenhaal, Anna Kendrick, Zachary Quinto, Sally Field, Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Jon Cryer.

Hanks is the odds-on favorite to win best actor in a play for his Broadway debut in the late Nora Ephron's "Lucky Guy." Other top contenders are musicals "Matilda," a British production based on a Raold Dahl novel, and "Kinky Boots," which features songs by pop star Cyndi Lauper.

"There is nothing like celebrating Broadway's most spectacular night, with Broadway's biggest fans, right in the heart of Times Square," said Charlotte St. Martin, executive director of The Broadway League, and Heather Hitchens, executive director of the American Theatre Wing, in a joint statement.

The awards ceremony, hosted by actor Neil Patrick Harris, will be broadcast Sunday on CBS at 8 p.m. EDT. New York theater fans will be able to view a live simulcast of the program on two large screens in Duffy Square at West 46th Street and Broadway starting at 4:30 p.m. EDT.

At that event, there will also be live performances, trivia contests and a chance to win a pair of tickets to the awards ceremony held just blocks away and an after-party.

Forty-six new shows opened on Broadway during the 2012-2013 season which ended in May - 15 musicals including nine new productions, and a record 26 plays, including 14 new ones.

Grosses were slightly down from the previous year, likely owing to the devastating October storm Sandy, which shut theaters briefly and hobbled some shows that were just finding audiences.

(Reporting by Chris Michaud; editing by Patricia Reaney and Cynthia Osterman)

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