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Dear Tony Awards, It's Time for a Latino Host!

06/05/2013 05:14 pm ET | Updated Aug 05, 2013
  • Lee Hernandez Editorial Director & Co-President at EXCLUSIVLee.com

I LOVE Neil Patrick Harris. How could I not? I mean, he's Doogie freaking Howser! He's Barney on How I Met Your Mother. And his cameos as a drugged-up, a-hole version of himself are the BEST thing about all of those Harold and Kumar movies.

But much as I love Neil, I find myself wishing that the talented actor wasn't hosting this year's 67th annual Tony Awards (airing LIVE on Sunday June 9th at 8/7c on CBS). Why? It's simple: I feel like it's time for a Latino to host the show!

When NPH appeared on the Late Show With David Letterman last night to talk about this year's Tony Awards, I laughed quite a bit as the charismatic and funny star previewed this year's show, which will take place in front of a 5,000-seat audience at Radio City Musical Hall. But as I watched the interview, I also got kind of sad when it occurred to me that while this is NPH's fourth time emceeing the show, a Latino star has NEVER hosted the Tonys in 67 years (at least not that I could remember).

But I'm only 30, so I went into the Tony Awards database and I searched the show's hosts by year -- from 1947 to present day. I saw the names of reputable, beloved, talented actors I respect, people like Angela Lansbury, Nathan Lane, Matthew Broderick, Hugh Jackman, Sean Hayes, Rosie O'Donnell, Bernadette Peters and Gregory Hines, to name a few.

But much to my surprise, I didn't see a single Latino who served as host of the Tonys (well, I did find out that Mexican-American actor Anthony Quinn served as one of four hosts back in 1971 and Puerto Rican actor Jose Ferrer was one of the "Masters of Ceremonies" one year, but that's all...).

Which begs the question: Where is our representation on the show? Couldn't the Tonys have tapped Lin Manuel Miranda, the creator and star of the Tony-winning In the Heights (and a nominee this year for Bring It On: The Musical) to host this year's show?

After all, few people are as transcendent and engaging on stage as Miranda, and his touching and hilarious Tony speech in 2008 was the highlight of the telecast that year!

The Tonys could also have asked Ricky Martin to host the show, especially since Ricky starred in the Tony-nominated Broadway revival of Evita last year. Or, they could've tapped the always entertaining John Leguizamo or previous nominees and winners like Bobby Cannavalle (The Motherfucker With the Hat) and Sara Ramirez (Spamalot).

Of course, it's not too surprising that a Latino hasn't been tapped to host the Tonys. After all, we don't host the Oscars. We don't host the Grammys, and we don't host the Emmys. All of which makes me sad...

Again, I LOVE NPH and I think he's a terrific host. But I also think it's important for awards shows to show the country that diversity exists. Especially since there are more than 50 million Latinos in the U.S. today... and growing! I hope the Tonys start to take notice and I look forward to the day when we have someone who's as gifted (and as great) as NPH representing the Latino community as the host of the Tony Awards.