NEW YORK (CBS News) — Neil Patrick Harris returned for this third time hosting the Tony Awards on Sunday, telling audience members and viewers, “Welcome to the 66th annual Tony Awards, or as we like to call it, ’50 Shades of Gay.'”

As the telecast began, he joined the cast of “The Book of Mormon” for the 2011 best musical winner’s opening number, “Hello!,” before beginning a musical number of his own.

He then was surrounded by dancers for an original number in which he wished that real life was more like theater, with backup dancers, rhymes and quick costume changes. He had cameo help from Amanda Seyfried, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Patti LuPone, the little red-headed orphan from “Annie” and a flying Mary Poppins.

At another point in the show, Harris poked fun at “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark,” hanging upside-down as Angela Lansbury, speaking about the American Theater Wing (which hands out the Tony Awards) tells the audience, “We won’t leave you hanging.”

He also sang a dizzying mashup of all the musicals that have ever won a Tony for best score – everything from “Cats” to “South Pacific” to “Rent.”

Finally, he closed the show with another musical number – about not having enough time to close the show. Like his rap during last year’s Tony Awards, the song recapped what happened in the ceremony we just watched.

What did you think of Neil Patrick Harris as the Tonys host? Share your thoughts in the comments area below this article.

(Copyright 2012 CBS San Francisco. All rights reserved.)


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