Neil Patrick Harris and the Tony Awards, plus more theater buzz

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Host Neil Patrick Harris performs during the 65th

Host Neil Patrick Harris performs during the 65th Tony Awards in Manhattan. (June 12, 2011) Photo Credit: AP

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WHO Neil Patrick Harris

THE DEAL Despite initial speculation that one of the many film stars currently appearing on Broadway might host the Tony Awards, it was confirmed last week that Neil Patrick Harris will return as host, making this his fourth time. In a statement, he assured everyone that "the show will rock."

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WHO Helen Mirren

THE PLAY "The Audience"

THE DEAL How often have you been distracted while at the theater by outside noise, especially when attending a show on 42nd Street? Helen Mirren won't stand for it. Mirren, who is appearing in the hit drama "The Audience" in London, left the theater in the middle of the show to scold a bunch of drummers who were marching to promote a nearby event. The show is being eyed for a New York transfer -- noisemakers, be warned.

WHO Cherry Jones

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THE PLAY "When We Were Young and Unafraid"

THE DEAL Cherry Jones, who became the toast of the town in 2004 when she starred in the Manhattan Theatre Club production of "Doubt," will return to MTC's Off-Broadway space at City Center with "When We Were Young and Unafraid," a feminist-themed drama about a secret refuge for women in the early 1970s that will start previews next May.

THE PLAY "The Trip to Bountiful"

THE DEAL While "Orphans" and "The Testament of Mary" have posted early closing notices, the producers of the revival of Horton Foote's "The Trip to Bountiful" announced Wednesday that the show will extend through Sept. 1. Cicely Tyson scored rave reviews (and her first Tony nomination) for her remarkable performance as an aging Texan woman trying desperately to return to her childhood home.

WHO Megan Hilty

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THE PLAY "Can-Can"

THE DEAL With the fate of "Smash" undetermined, Megan Hilty would appear to be looking for her next stage gig. She will star in a private staged reading of a revised version of the Cole Porter musical "Can-Can," which is being eyed for a commercial future. She will be joined by Aaron Lazar ("Mamma Mia!," "A Little Night Music").

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