NEW YORK — Host James Corden introduced the 2016 Tony Awards at New York’s Beacon Theatre with a touching tribute to Sunday’s mass shooting in Orlando — Sunday’s show was dedicated to the victims of the shooting.
“Our hearts go out to all of those affected by this atrocity,” said the “Late Late Show” host. “All we can say is you are not on your own right now. Your tragedy is our tragedy. 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. ”
The cast of “Hamilton” then opened the show with a rap song that skewered Corden, while saying he was just what the show needed.
“It needs that chubby dude from ‘Into the Woods’ who played the baker,” rapped one cast member.
They wrapped the number with, “And his name is — ” as the host appeared and said, “James Corden.”
He held a Tony Award in his hand and rapped, “My name is James Corden and these are what I’ll be awardin’.”
Corden later joked in his opening monologue that the show “won’t be all about ‘Hamilton’ — there will also be commercial breaks,” pointing out that the Lin-Manuel Miranda-led musical is up for a record-breaking 16 nominations.
The host also cracked that the Tony Awards were like the Oscars, “but with diversity.” Later, he proved himself to be quite a versatile performer as he cycled through musical tidbits from “The Phantom of the Opera,” “The Lion King,” “Grease,” “Cats,” “Annie,” “Fiddler on the Roof” and more before the best actor and best actress nominees joined him onstage to sing and close out the number.
Jake Gyllenhaal gave a nod toward Hillary Clinton as he introduced Best Featured Actress in a Play and said “women can do anything,” as Jayne Houdyshell picked up her first Tony Award for “The Humans.”
Houdyshell joked that the fact that she got the award 42 years into her career meant “that the depth of my gratitude is really, really, really profound.”
Andrew Lloyd Webber introduced a performance by Alex Brightman and the Demon Rascals of “School of Rock: The Musical.” Brightman’s Demon Rascals comprised adorable children who rocked out on stage.
Then Corden stepped out to introduce a brief sidewalk performance of “Tomorrow” from “Annie” in front of the Beacon Theatre that included Lin-Manuel Miranda, Andrew Lloyd Webber on the tambourine, Steve Martin on the banjo and more.
Next, the cast of “Shuffle Along” sang “Sit Down You’re Rocking the Boat” from “Guys and Dolls” in front of the theater before the show returned to the Tony stage.
Aaron Tveit and Mary Elizabeth Winstead presented the Best Featured Actress in a Musical award, which went to Renee Elise Goldsberry for her role in “Hamilton” — the hit musical’s first wine of the night. Miranda, the show’s creator, teared up in the audience as Goldsberry gave her acceptance speech.
The cast of “Shuffle Along” then took the stage to perform, with Audra McDonald leading the number “Broadway Blues” from the show.
Later, the “School of Rock” cast took to the sidewalk to perform a cute and not very menacing rendition of “The Phantom of the Opera.
Daniel Dae Kim and Patina Miller took the stage to present Best Featured Actor in a Musical, which went to Daveed Diggs, who talked about when he did gymnastics in preschool with his dad — both of them in rainbow tights. Diggs thanked his parents for supporting him throughout his life.
Carole King presented Best Score, which went to “Hamilton.”
Miranda approached the stage for his second Best Score award — he also won in 2008 for “In the Heights.” He performed a sonnet for his wife as his acceptance speech: “She is a perfect symphony of one.” He also referenced the Orlando shooting, rapping “Love is love is love is love — cannot be killed or swept aside.”
The cast of “She Loves Me” performed “Ilona,” “She Loves Me” and “Vanilla Ice Cream” with Jane Krakowski jumping into splits on stage during the first song.
The cast of “Fiddler on the Roof” sang “There’s No Business Like Show Business” from “Annie Get Your Gun” on the sidewalk in front of the Beacon Theatre to get ready for their onstage performance.
The company of “She Loves Me” performed “Cabaret” in front of the Beacon Theatre as they tossed back to the show.
Lucy Liu and Jesse Tyler Ferguson presented the award for Best Direction of a Play, which went to Ivo Van Hove, “Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge.”
Liu and Ferguson then presented the award for Best Direction of a Musical, which went to Thomas Kail for “Hamilton” — the director’s first Tony.
James Corden then played a video of Josh Groban singing in “Fiddler of the Roof” in his high school production of the play.
“Yes that was me — I was 17 years old,” said Groban as he introduced the cast of “Fiddler on the Roof” for their performance of the musical’s wedding scene.
The cast of “Bright Star” performed “Heart” from “Damn Yankees” in front of the Beacon as they geared up for their onstage performance.
Saoirse Ronan and Andrew Rannells presented the award for Best Featured Actor in a Play, which went to Reed Birney in “The Humans” — the actor’s first Tony. Birney echoed his co-star Jayne Houdyshell’s acceptance speech for Best Actress and talked about his long career and said that 35 years of it were “pretty bad” but “the last eight have been great” as he took his Tony.
The cast of “Bright Star” then performed “If You Knew My Story,” with Steve Martin opening the number with some banjo-strumming.
The cast of “The Color Purple,” led by Danielle Brooks, then sang “The Circle of Life” from “The Lion King” in front of the Beacon as they teased their upcoming performance.
Corden made sure to remind Tony presenters and nominees where they came from: “Law & Order.” He showed stills of Claire Danes as a teenage Tracy Brant on the crime show, Billy Porter from “Kinky Boots” as Jackie Walker on “Law & Order,” Michael Shannon as Avery Shore in “Law & Order,” “Hamilton” stars Daveed Diggs as Counselor Henderson and Leslie Odom Jr. as Rev. Curtis Scott on the show. But no one got roasted as badly as “Fiddler on the Roof” star Danny Burstein, who appeared as Joe Garvey, assistant district attorney Lester Rosenfeld, Luke Vincent, Peter, Dr. Leo Bernardi and Judge Sam Murray on the show.
Oprah appeared on stage to talk about “The Color Purple,” which she said was part of her life for 34 years in different forms as a book, movie and most recently, a musical, before she introduced a show-stopping performance by the cast.
Angela Lansbury and James Earl Jones took the stage to announce a $1.3 million grant by Andrew Lloyd Webber, operated by the American Theatre Wing, and said that their history with the American Theatre Wing spanned seven decades.
Nathan Lane announced the award for Best Leading Actress in a Play, which went to Jessica Lange for “Long Day’s Journey Into Night.”
Emilio Estefan introduced a performance by the cast of “On Your Feet,” with a special appearance by his wife, Gloria Estefan, who performed with her doppelgänger from the Broadway show.
The cast of “Spring Awakening” performed “I Got Life” from “Hair” just outside of the Beacon before announcing their upcoming performance.
The host then tossed to his “Carpool Karaoke” segment from the “Late Late Show” with Lin-Manuel Miranda Audra McDonald, Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Jane Krakowski singing “One Day More” from “Les Miserables.”
Cate Blanchett presented Best Leading Actor in a Play, which went to Frank Langella for his role in “The Father.” It was Langella’s fourth Tony Award; the actor talked about the Orlando shooting and said, “When something bad happens, we have three choices: We let it define us, we let it destroy us or we let it strengthen us. Today in Orlando we had a hideous dose of reality and I urge you, Orlando, to be strong, because I’m standing in a room full of the most generous human beings on Earth and we will be with you every step of the way.”
Actress and activist Marlee Matlin talked about the significance of Deaf West Theatre’s production of “Spring Awakening,” which incorporates deaf actors and sign language, as she introduced a performance by the cast.
The cast of “Hamilton” sang “No Day But Today” from “Rent” in front of the Beacon as they teased their upcoming performance.
Inside the theater, Diane Lane presented the award for Best Revival of a Play, which went to “Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge.” Producer Scott Ridin accepted the Tony on behalf of the show.
Blair Underwood presented the Carnegie Mellon Award for Excellence in Theater Education to Marilyn McCormick of Cass Tech in Detroit, Michigan. Underwood talked about how his education shaped his journey to Broadway as he presented the award.
President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama introduced a performance by the cast of “Hamilton” via video as they said that the show exemplified the “story of America.”
“America is what we the people make of it as long as we stay just like our country — young, scrappy and hungry,” said the first lady. President Obama said “Hamilton” exemplified these values.
Rapper Common then appeared on stage to introduce “Hamilton” again as Miranda and cast mate Chris Jackson opened the highly-anticipated performance, flocked by the rest of the company as they danced, rapped and sang their way through highlights from the show, prompting a standing ovation from the audience.
Claire Danes presented the award for Best Play, and though she fumbled with the envelope, she managed to open it and to read off “The Humans” as the winner.
Corden then introduced the Tonys audience to his parents, who were sitting in the theater, and asked his father what show he’d most like to see.
“There’s a lot about ‘Hamilton,'” Corden’s father said before Corden tossed to Keri Russell.
The actress took the stage to introduce the company of “Waitress” — Russell starred in the movie that inspired the musical. Composer and singer Sara Bareilles also performed with the company.
Of course, no show would be complete without a mention of the presidential race. Andrew Rannells took the stage as Trump in a “Book of Mormon” spoof called “Book of Moron.” But the Tonys stayed balanced and Glenn Close took the stage as Hillary Clinton in “A Clinton Line,” as she sang, “I got to get this job!”
Bebe Neuwirth sang a few lines from the “Chicago” song “All That Jazz” as she announced that the show was the longest-running musical of all time with 20 years on Broadway.
Uzo Aduba and Sean Hayes then announced Best Revival of a Musical, which went to “The Color Purple.” Producers Scott Sanders and Roy Furman accepted the award on the show’s behalf as cast members and Oprah stood by their side.
Chita Rivera introduced the in memoriam segment of the show as a string quartet played “Seasons of Love.” Honorees included Patty Duke, Alan Rickman, David Bowie, Roger Rees, 21-year-old “Les Miserables” actor Kyle Jean-Baptiste and more.
Neil Patrick Harris took the stage with a shocking new hairdo and he joked that his newly shorn head was for a role, but not for one in “The King & I.” He then presented the award for Best Lead Actor in a Musical, which went to Leslie Odom Jr. for “Hamilton.”
Odom thanked Miranda in particular and said, “I thank God for your mission. I thank God for the calling in your life.”
Audra McDonald then presented the award for Best Lead Actress in a Musical, which went to Cynthia Erivo for “The Color Purple,” earning a standing ovation from Oprah, to whom Erivo gave a shoutout.
Barbra Streisand appeared on stage for the first time as a Tony presenter since 1970 and admitted she was feeling “verklempt.” Streisand, who was wearing a very, very old-school outfit gestured toward herself and said, “I picked the right outfit” as she announced that “Hamilton” was the winner of Best Musical.
Producer Jeffrey Seller accepted the award on the show’s behalf and thanked the dreams, saying that he was surrounded by dreams while working on the show.
“Hamilton embodies the best values, the best impulses that make our nation a beacon to the world. Inclusiveness, generosity, ingenuity and the will to work hard to make our dreams come true. Look around, look around — how lucky we are to be alive right now.”
The Tony Awards closed off with yet another performance by the cast — this time in their Tonys formalwear as they sang, “Look around, look around — how lucky we are to be alive right now.”