By Chris Michaud
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Stage and screen actor Kevin Spacey will step up to host Broadway's Tony Awards, organizers said on Tuesday, less than two months before the national broadcast of the annual theater honors.
It will mark Spacey's first time hosting the Tonys, which will take place in New York on June 11, broadcaster CBS said.
Recent hosts Neil Patrick Harris, Hugh Jackman and James Corden all won raves from critics but apparently were unavailable to do the honors again this year, prompting a wry bit of self-depreciating humor from Spacey.
"I was their 2nd choice for 'Usual Suspects,' 4th choice for 'American Beauty,' and 15th choice to host this year's Tony Awards. I think my career is definitely going in the right direction," he said.
"Maybe I can get short-listed to host the Oscars if everyone else turns it down,” he added.
British actor and talk show host Corden, who helmed the show a year ago, went on to host the Grammy Awards in February.
Spacey, 57, himself a Tony winner for "Lost in Yonkers" as well as a two-time Oscar winner, currently stars in the Netflix political drama "House of Cards." He also served for 10 years as artistic director of London's Old Vic theater company.
"We can’t wait to see the energy he brings to Radio City on Tony night," said Charlotte St. Martin, president of the Broadway League, and Heather Hitchens, president of the American Theatre Wing, in a reference Spacey's wry, sometimes sardonic humor.
Nominations for the Tony Awards, which cover plays, musicals, actors and creative teams on Broadway, will be announced on May 2. Hip-hop historical musical "Hamilton" swept the board last year with 11 wins.
Stars appearing on Broadway this season included Bette Midler in a hit revival of "Hello, Dolly!", as well as Sally Field, Jake Gyllenhaal, Nathan Lane, Glenn Close, Mark Ruffalo, Kevin Kline and Laura Linney.
The 71st Tony Awards will be broadcast live on CBS in a glittering three-hour show from Radio City Music Hall in Manhattan.
(Reporting by Chris Michaud and Jill Serjeant; editing by Dan Grebler and Tom Brown)