James Corden hosted the Tonys for the first time Sunday, on the day everyone awoke to news of the horrendous Orlando gay nightclub terrorist attack. Tough gig, but he handled it with utter grace and beauty.
Corden, 37, stood alone on the stage meant for a celebration and reached out into the hearts of the victims of the 50 killed and dozens injured after a lone gunman struck:
‘People all around the world are trying to come to terms with the horrific events that took place in Orlando this morning. On behalf of the whole theater community and every person in this room, our hearts go out to all of those affected by this atrocity. All we can say is you are not on your own right now. Your tragedy is our tragedy.’
Known as a comedic host of the “Late, Late Show,” Corden spoke with eloquence from the Beacon Theatre at the beginning of CBS‘s 70th Annual Tony Awards. We soon learned that he is a gifted singer and actor, but even more, we learned how big is his heart:
‘Theater is a place where every race, creed, sexuality and gender is equal, is embraced and is loved. Hate will never win. Together, we have to make sure of that. Tonight’s show stands as a symbol and a celebration of that principle. This is the Tony Awards.’
The cast of the mesmerizing stage show “Hamilton” took the stage next. The cast, absent their muskets, sang about the British host, who turns out to be a singing, dancing wonder.
Before racing through a virtual love fest of his favorite childhood musicals, Corden managed a dig at Donald Trump’s threat to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico:
‘Think of tonight as the Oscars, but with diversity. It’s so diverse, Donald Trump has threatened to build a wall around this theater.’
Later, Lin-Manuel Miranda received his award for Best Score in his smash hit “Hamilton,” and he read his sonnet “Love Is Love Is Love” for those in and around the shooting tragedy and all of us, with tears streaming down his face, his emotions a growing crescendo:
‘When senseless acts of tragedy remind us
That nothing here is promised, not one day.
This show is proof that history remembers
We lived through times when hate and fear seemed stronger;
We rise and fall and light from dying embers, remembrances that hope and love last longer
And love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love cannot be killed or swept aside.’
The 2016 Tony Awards dedicated its ceremony on Sunday evening to the victims of the shooting at the Orlando Pulse Nightclub. Tony Award Productions released this statement:
‘Our thoughts are with the families and friends of those affected. The Tony Awards dedicate tonight’s ceremony to them.’
Check out this video of Corden as he began the Tonys:
Featured Image: Screenshot from video.
H/T: CBS Tony Awards.