The Tony Awards: What to Expect Sunday Night

Second-time host Neil Patrick Harris promises a star-studded show, which may end up being "unpredictable and lewd"

This Sunday, the 2011 Tony Awards (CBS, 8 p.m. ET) will celebrate Broadway's best with shiny medallions, superstar presenters and…bawdy jokes? So says Neil Patrick Harris -- who's returning to host the live show after deftly handling the job back in 2009. "It may be as unpredictable and lewd a Tonys as network televisions will allow," says the star of How I Met Your Mother and the upcoming Smurfs movie. 

That might have a little something to do with the most-nominated show of the night, Matt Stone and Trey Parkers' irreverent satire, The Book of Mormon, about a pair of Mormon missionaries in Uganda. Apparently, it wasn't easy finding a family-TV-friendly way to showcase this Best Musical nominee, but, Harris says, "they finally found a number they think won't upset the censors."

Critics are favoring Mormon to win Best Musical, though another contender, The Scottsboro Boys (the much more sober, true story of African American boys accused of rape in 1931) has received lots of rave reviews, too.

The night will certainly be movie star-studded, since so many have taken to the stage this year. Among those expected are Robin Williams (from Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo), Kiefer Sutherland and Chris Noth (from That Championship Season), and Daniel Radcliffe (from How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying). Presenters will include Whoopi Goldberg, Chris Rock and Christie Brinkley, among others. And, of course, Broadway stars will perform throughout the night.

"It's an awards show that not only honors amazingly talented performers, but you actually get to see them performing live," says Harris. "There's no canned music; there's no lip-syncing allowed. It's what you'd see if you came to New York and saw one show. You can sit in your living room and see nine of them."

And if the show gets a little lewd at times, well, you can't say you haven't been warned!

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