Openly gay actor Sean Hayes will host
next month's Tony Awards, producers of the show announced Monday.
“I am absolutely thrilled to be
hosting the Tony Awards,” said Hayes. “As the new guy on
Broadway, it's an honor to be included in the established alumni.”
Hayes has been nominated in the Best
Actor in a Musical category for his Broadway debut in Promises,
Promises. Also competing in the same category is Kelsey
Grammer for his interpretation of gay nightclub owner Georges in
the Broadway revival of La Cage Aux Folles.
Hayes' turn playing straight man Chuck
Baxter in Promises, Promises was harshly criticized last month
by openly gay Newsweek contributor Ramin Setoodeh.
Saying it's “OK for straight actors
to play gay,” Setoodeh protested gay actors who take on straight
roles and singled out Hayes' performance as “wooden and insincere,
like he's trying to hide something, which of course he is.”
Hollywood piled on against Newsweek for publishing the piece.
Audiences delighted in Hayes' antics as
he played campy Jack McFarland on NBC's Will and Grace for
eight years but questioned whether the actor who played gay was gay
in real life. In March, on the cover of gay glossy The
Advocate, Hayes announced he is.
“I am who I am,” he said. “I was
never in, as they say. Never,” he insisted, adding that he never
faked a straight relationship.
“We couldn't be more excited about
Sean carrying on the tradition of excellent hosts for the Tony
Awards,” Glenn Weiss, executive producer of the Tony Awards, said.
“Sean's humor, charm and natural ability on the stage will make an
already great show even better.”
The 64th Annual Tony Awards
will be carried live on CBS June 13th.