5 fun facts about the 2014 Tony Awards

Everett Bradley and the cast of Broadway's "After Everett Bradley and the cast of Broadway's "After Midnight." Photo Credit: Matthew Murphy

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If Audra McDonald, who plays Billie Holiday in "Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill," takes home her sixth Tony Award tonight (8 on CBS/2), she'll surpass Angela Lansbury and Julie Harris to become the performer with the most Tony wins. Also impressive, McDonald would be the only performer to win in all four female acting categories.

Here are a few more fascinating tidbits about this year's nominees for Broadway buffs to chew on.

1. THE FILM'S THE THING

Five of this year's nominees have roles that previously earned someone an Oscar nom: Mark Rylance as Richard III, played on-screen by Laurence Olivier in 1955; Ramin Karimloo as Jean Valjean in "Les Miserables," a 2012 cinematic star turn for Hugh Jackman; Andy Karl in Sylvester Stallone's iconic role as Rocky Balboa in "Rocky"; Kelli O'Hara as Francesca, a 1995 screen triumph for Meryl Streep, in "The Bridges of Madison County"; and Nick Cordero as Cheech in "Bullets Over Broadway," Chazz Palminteri's 1994 film role.

2. TWO ROLES ARE BETTER THAN ONE

With nods for both best actor ("Richard III") and featured actor in a play ("Twelfth Night"), Rylance is one of only five people -- and the only male -- to be up for two Tonys in one year. Considering he was Olivia in "Twelfth Night," too bad he couldn't find a way to earn a featured actress nod, too.

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3. 'MIDNIGHT' SPECIAL

"After Midnight," a reworking of "Cotton Club Parade" featuring music by Duke Ellington, Harold Arlen and others, is the most-nominated revue ever, with seven nods.

4. A BREAK FOR 'GLASS'

Tennessee Williams' 1945 drama "The Glass Menagerie" has been revived six times on Broadway since '65, including productions headlined by Jessica Tandy, Maureen Stapleton and Julie Harris as matriarch Amanda. The current one starring best actress nominee Cherry Jones marks the first time the play has been a Tony contender.

5. DRAG RACES

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Several actors vying for Tonys this year enjoyed being a girl. Besides Rylance and his "Twelfth Night" co-stars Samuel Barnett and Paul Chahidi, Jefferson Mays ("A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder"), Neil Patrick Harris ("Hedwig and the Angry Inch") and Reed Birney ("Casa Valentina") were all cross-dressed to kill.

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