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Elton John World News: Breaking ''Tony'' Developments

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Tuesday 2 June 2009 @ 16:38 - GMT

On Sunday, Elton is slated to perform with the cast of Billy Elliot at the Tony Awards.

Meanwhile, some of the Billy Elliot players have reacted to their nominations. Up for Best Featured Actress in a Musical, Haydn Gwynne said that when the verdicts were announced, she ended up watching the wrong channel.

''So when my publicist called to tell me I was nominated, I said 'Has it happened already?' Then Elton John called, and that means so much, because he was really the first person to support me in London when I wanted this part. Even in England, where people know my work, they thought it was a long shot for me to get the job. So the idea I would do the role of Mrs. Wilkinson on Broadway was never in my mind. And even when we found out the show was going to Broadway, I'd still have put money on me not coming over. So this is quite a surprise.''

Up for Best Featured Actress in a Musical, Carole Shelley stated: ''I am so happy I am beside myself. It's a heavenly part; I have always had great love for the role of 'Grandma' from when I first saw the show. And I am just thrilled to be acknowledged. It seems unlikely that I will win. Let's be honest: I don't even think I am the underdog; I am the old puppy they let out of the cold.''

And in the running for Best Featured Actor in a Musical, Gregory Jbara remarked:

''I've been acting professionally for almost 25 years and to finally hit one of those professional landmarks like being a Tony nominee is so exciting. Fortunately, the work has been so gratifying that I could have happily gone on if my name wasn't called this morning, but I can't deny that today was a big milestone. Still, it's like your wedding day. After you're married, you realize you're still the same person than you were that morning.''

For those who are in New York, the Tony Awards will be simulcast in its entirety from Radio City Music Hall on the Clear Channel Spectacolor Screen in Times Square, live on Sunday, June 7th from 7:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.

The recently re-configured Times Square includes newly created pedestrian plazas on Broadway from 47th to 42nd Streets. The plazas will provide more than three acres of new public space, allowing seating for up to 2,000 fans for the viewing.

The Spectacolor screen is located opposite the new TKTS booth steps in Duffy Square, which is the northern half of Times Square, at Broadway between 46th and 47th Streets.

Katie McGee, entertainment reporter for WCBS-TV, will host the simulcast in Duffy Square. The simulcast will include the hourlong pre-telecast portion of the Tony ceremony.

We're thrilled to announce that the Tony Awards will simulcast the entire awards show, including the pre-telecast, live from Radio City Music Hall, on June 7th, right in the heart of Times Square, said Charlotte St. Martin, executive director of the Broadway League. This will make Times Square the next-best place to be on Tony night.

We invite one and all to join us in Times Square on Sunday evening, said Howard Sherman, executive director of the American Theatre Wing. Just as the Tony Awards have become an iconic event, we hope that the simulcast in Times Square will become a tradition for theatre fans and families right here in New York City.

For those not in the New York City area, the Tony Awards will be broadcast live from 8-11 p.m. EST on CBS.