2014 Tony Awards: Life is a 'Cabaret,' dress code optional

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Neil Patrick Harris has great legs. Sure, you may have known that from watching him dance when he hosts awards shows.

But those seriously great legs will be on display at the 68th Annual Tony Awards, which airs Sunday, June 8, on CBS. The show he headlines, "Hedwig and the Angry Inch," is nominated for eight Tonys, and Harris will be performing on the live show.

Harris struts about in fishnets, heels and miniskirts, playing a transsexual whose operation was not a complete success. 

Besides Harris' nomination for best performance by an actor in a leading role in a musical, the costumes by Arianne Phillips are up for a Tony.

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"It has been such a collaborative effort," Harris tells  Zap2it. "She has known exactly how she envisioned it. I didn't meddle at all. She wanted to know my opinions on comfort and practical issues because I am overdressed by three (outfits) in the beginning, and I do a quick change in front of everybody."

Some seasons, Tony costumes are about over-the-top creations, such as when the male chorus of "Priscilla Queen of the Desert" wore cupcake outfits, or last season's "Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella," when costumes morphed before our eyes.

William Ivey Long, who won his sixth Tony Award for "Cinderella," garners his 14th nomination with "Bullets Over Broadway."

"I should be blase, but I am the least blase person," Long says. For this, "I was seeking the authenticity Woody Allen wants," he says of the show set in the Jazz Age in New York.

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"This year I have two 1929 musicals" on Broadway, he says. The other, "Cabaret," is set in Berlin, and the costumes are sexy lingerie mingled with a few day outfits.

"Bullets Over Broadway," on the other hand, has Marin Mazzie in gowns built for a diva. Mazzie plays a slightly washed-up actress who is not getting the great parts she once did and finds solace in booze. But she looks and sounds fabulous.

"It's mostly silver, gold and platinum, which is both silver and gold," Ivey says.

The other lead role in the show, Helene Yorke, sounds like a caricature of a Brooklyn moll.

"She's like a kewpie doll," Long says of the character, Olive, who is painfully untalented but whose mobster boss boyfriend, played by Vincent Pastore ("The Sopranos"), is determined to make her famous.

"I figured out that Olive reads Screen Gems and puts together a new look for each day of the week," Long says.

The Tonys have two categories for costume design. For a play, the nominees are Jane Greenwood for "Act One," Michael Krass for "Machinal," Rita Ryack for "Casa Valentina" and Jenny Tiramani for "Twelfth Night."

For best costume design of a musical, the nominees are Long, Phillips, Linda Cho for "A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder" and Isabel Toledo for "After Midnight."
Photo/Video credit: Joan Marcus