James Corden went to the Tony Awards in 2012 to accept a statue for his performance in One Man, Two Guvnors, but the Late Late Show host attended in a different capacity this year: to helm the ceremony.
Corden kicked off the show on a somber note, mentioning the Orlando shooting that took place early Sunday morning. “Hate will never win,” he said.
He then officially opened the show with the cast of Hamilton — who rapped an original song, joked about CBS synergy and called Corden “the chubby dude from Into The Woods who played the baker.”
After the Hamilton bit, Corden appeared on stage and welcomed the crowd to New York’s Beacon Theatre. “Ladies and Gentleman, what you just saw was a parody of a little-known musical that goes by the name of Hamilton. We like to give the little guys a leg up here.” (The show was nominated for a record 16 Tony Awards.)
WANT MORE EW? Subscribe now to keep up with the latest in movies, television and music.
He continued the jokes by poking fun at Hollywood: “Think of tonight as the Oscars but with diversity. It is so diverse that Donald Trump has threatened to build a wall around this theater.” (Another zinger: “This is like the Super Bowl for people who don’t know what the Super Bowl is.”)
The monologue then turned musical again when Corden began to tell a story of his childhood, when he fell in love with the stage. He ran through an impressive medley of songs, parodying musicals like Les Miserables, Phantom of the Opera, The Lion King, Grease, Jesus Christ Superstar, The Sound of Music, Music Man, Annie, Guys & Dolls, and more.
During the final moments of his musical monologue, the 2016 musical acting nominees appeared on stage with Corden and together they sang to all musical theater hopefuls. “This could be you! This could be where you belong.”
See his whole opening medley in the video above.