James Corden once again helmed this year’s Tony Awards, and kicked things off with a larger-than-life musical monologue that paid tribute to some of the biggest Broadway performances and productions nominated this year.
Taking the stage at the famed Radio City Music Hall in New York City, the “Late Late Show” host, a Tony winner himself, brought all his trademark charm, theatricality and humour to what served as a bombastic opening number.
Corden’s musical opening began with him sitting on a couch in a small apartment, lamenting how boring and repetitive streaming and binge-watching TV shows can be, and how Broadway is the perfect entertaining escape from tiring television tropes.
As the apartment backdrop lifted, revealing the enormous audience behind him, Corden was joined by a slew of back-up dancers. He pulled off his first costume change as they ripped off his hoodie and sweatpants to reveal a maroon tuxedo. The song continued, and Corden sang about the virtues of live performances as he was joined by the various casts from the night’s nominated productions.
While he eventually (and faux-tearfully) admitted his undeniable love for prestige television, he also sang about the unique and unparalleled charm of Broadway and it set the perfect tone for a fun evening of celebrating all things theatre.
Corden teased his big musical monologue while chatting with ET’s Keltie Knight on the red carpet before the show, explaining, “Occasionally, we like to shock you with some glamour. So we have a few costume changes, a bit of singing, a bit of dance, hopefully a bit of jokes.”
This was Corden’s second time hosting the star-studded Awards show, after he first emceed the ceremony in 2016.
ET spoke with the affable English comic on Thursday during rehearsals, where he teased the size and scope of his ambitious monologue, and hinted that he was worried things might not go off without a hitch.
“We’re going to try and open with a big open, which if I’m honest today, feels like it might be a mistake. I feel like we may have probably bitten off a little more than we can chew,” Corden said. “It isn’t necessarily going to plan, but I hope so much we’ll figure it out.”
“We’re going to try and make a show that will celebrate these incredible performers and everything they’ve done over the last 12 months,” he continued. “This room on Sunday night is going to be full of, without question, some of the most talented people on planet earth. There is nobody that comes close to their level of talent, so they deserve to be celebrated.”
“I’m honoured to be part of that celebration,” he added. “They deserve the minimum one night on television to celebrate this incredible thing they do.”
For more on the Tony Awards, check out the video below.