- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 10, 2011

NEW YORK (AP) — Neil Patrick Harris will return as host for the upcoming Tony Awards.

Producers of the show announced Tuesday that the star of the sitcom “How I Met Your Mother” and a stage veteran would take over from former “Will & Grace” actor Sean Hayes, who was last year’s host.

Mr. Harris joked that producers of the show had borrowed the rigging equipment from the troubled “Spider-Man” musical. “What could possibly go wrong?” he asked.

This time, the ceremony honoring the best on Broadway will be at the Beacon Theater in Manhattan’s Upper West Side after several years at Radio City Music Hall. The awards will be handed out June 12 in a telecast on CBS.

Mr. Harris, 37, has starred in three Broadway productions, including “Assassins”; “Proof,” opposite Anne Heche; and “Cabaret,” in which he played the exuberant master of ceremonies.

He recently joined Stephen Colbert, Christina Hendricks and Patti LuPone in the New York Philharmonic’s production of “Company.”

Mr. Harris hosted the 2009 Emmy Awards the same year he hosted the Tonys. The last time Mr. Harris hosted the Tonys, the audience was up 19 percent from the previous year.

The Nielsen Co. said last year’s show was seen by about 7 million people, down 6 percent from the 2009 audience.

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