This year's Tony Awards are set to include a few bonafide music stars among the usual song-and-dance numbers. Elton John, Dolly Parton and Poison will help toast Broadway's finest at the June 7 ceremony, performing with the casts of top-nominated shows "Billy Elliot, The Musical," "9 to 5: The Musical," and "Rock Of Ages."
"A bunch of the shows are getting together and doing a mash-up," says Constantine Maroulis of "Rock of Ages," the tongue-in-cheek hair metal tribute that also features original music by Journey, Pat Benatar and Bon Jovi and is vying for five awards including Best Musical. "It'll be really cool; one of those TV-magic moments." Though the Jersey-bred rock singer and "American Idol" alum couldn't reveal which song he'd be performing with Brett Michaels and company, he hinted at "Nothin' But a Good Time" by saying that it was "something more up-tempo" than the other Poison song performed in the musical, "Every Rose Has Its Thorn."
Parton will perform with the cast of "9 to 5: The Musical," which earned four nods including Best Original Score. As Billboard.com reported in March, Parton wrote the score for the musical as well as the original song "Backwoods Barbie," also the title track of her last album. "I've been working on this for four years," the country veteran said at the time, adding that it "was fun for me. It's a different process. I had much more freedom writing for the stage than I do for records."
John will appear at Sunday's ceremony to perform with the cast of "Billy Elliot, The Musical," which goes into the night with 15 nominations, tying the record set by "The Producers" in 2001.
"I don't expect to win at all, actually," says Maroulis, who's competing for Best Actor in a Musical against the three children who play Billy Elliot. "I haven't even thought about it ‘cause I know that I'm not going to; those Billy Elliot kids are extraordinary."
The Tony Awards will be broadcast on CBS from Radio City Music Hall in New York.