Susan Sarandon, Exit the King

Courtesy: Joan Marcus

This year's Tony Awards are undergoing a major personality transplant.

With Neil Patrick Harris hosting and names like Anne Hathaway, Nicole Kidman, Kevin Spacey, Will Ferrell, Susan Sarandon, James Gandolfini, Dolly Parton, Elton John and Allison Janney participating, jazz hands will be in short supply.

Even Poison is getting in on the action.

The '80s hair band is set to perform alongside the heavily nominated cast of Rock of Ages, including American Idol season four runner-up, Constantine Maroulis, who is up for Best Lead Actor in a Musical.

John will be taking the stage with Billy Elliot, a musical based on the hit film that landed a leading 15 nods, including Best Musical (which it's favored to win). Likewise, Parton will be singing alongside the three stars of 9 to 5: The Musical. She and the Rocket Man are nominated for penning an Original Score.

Minnelli and Ferrell face off in the Best Special Theatrical Event category, but only the singer will be taking the stage for a song. The cast of Guys and Dolls (including Oliver Platt and Gilmore Girls' Lauren Graham), Shrek The Musical, West Side Story, Hair and Next to Normal also offer viewers a taste of their tales.

Clearly, the relationship between movies and movie stars and Broadway has become considerably deeper and more intertwined. As you've undoubtedly heard before, the live audience experience is unique for all actors.

"There's nothing like it," Janney told E! News at a press event for nominees. "It really feeds you as an actor. It feeds me. I feel like I've done something good for the day."

The West Wing star is nominated for Lead Actress in a Musical for 9 to 5.

Fellow nominee Geoffrey Rush, who garnered a Lead Actor in a Play for Exit the King, says the biggest difference in the experience is the timing.

"When you're in the theater realm, you build a whole shape of your day around knowing that you're on at 8 [p.m.]," he said. "With film, you've got to be ready to be terribly interesting in front of a camera at 7 a.m. And when you're doing theater, the last thing you can ever think about is acting at 7 o'clock in the morning, unless you've stayed up very, very late."

The event will also be paying homage to the success of national tours with performances from former winners and nominees, Jersey Boys, Mamma Mia! and Legally Blonde The Musical.

The 63rd Annual Tony Awards broadcasts live from Radio City Music Hall on CBS on Sunday at 8 p.m. ET (and on tape-delay to the West Coast). For a full list of nominees and clips from the shows, visit

Get more info on the 2009 Tony Nominees by perusing our gallery. Feel free to give it a standing ovation and click through for an encore!

And don't forget to follow us @eonline, where we'll be Twittering live from the press room throughout the awards.

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