Late Late Show host James Corden opened the Tonys with a Hamilton-inspired number. This is his debut year as host of the awards ceremony.
With help from part of the cast of Hamilton, Corden spoofed the opening number of the show, “Alexander Hamilton.” Nominated cast members Leslie Odom Jr. and Daveed Diggs made fun of Corden’s late-night show and role as the “chubby” Baker in Into the Woods.
From there, Corden spoke a little bit about the phenomenon of Hamilton and how the Tony Awards are “the Oscars but with more diversity” before singing a number about his love of musical theater. During the song, he took on Les Miserables, Phantom of the Opera, Grease and Sweeney Todd. He even mimicked Barbra Streisand’s Funny Girl with the singer and actress in the audience for the first time since 1970. During a manic medley of famous Broadway standards, he stopped and asked Oprah Winfrey if he “ruined the Tonys” to which she gave him an encouraging thumbs up. Later, the Best Actor and Actress nominees in the musical categories joined him on-stage to wrap the song.
Corden recently prepared for the show by finding his way to New York City’s Beacon Theatre with Hamilton‘s Lin-Manuel Miranda, Shuffle Along‘s Audra McDonald, Fully Committed‘s Jesse Tyler Ferguson and She Loves Me‘s Jane Krakowski who joined him for a special edition of Carpool Karaoke. The group sang Rent‘s “Seasons of Love” and Les Miserables’ “One More Day” together.
Though it’s his first year as host, Corden is no stranger to the stage or the Tony Awards. He won the Tony for Best Actor in a Play for his performance in One Man, Two Guvnors in 2012. He made his Broadway debut in the 2007 play The History Boys and was featured in the play’s film adaptation as well. In 2014, he starred alongside Emily Blunt and Meryl Streep in the film adaptation of the Stephen Sondheim musical Into the Woods.