Should we save ourselves some trouble and just sign James Corden up to host the next 70 Tony awards? We think so. Not only did he host with the comfort of someone who’s been doing it for years, he absolutely dominated with his opening number. In contrast to the past few Neil Patrick Harris performances, Corden opted for a dreams-come-true, everyone-can-be-a-performer sentiment rather than poking fun at his audience.
Even if you have never in your life seen a live musical, James’ opening number could make you feel nostalgic for that non-existent moment you entered the theatre for the first time. You might just tear up as little Jimmy Corden sits with a huge smile on his face while grown James Corden longingly sings ‘that could be me up there on stage with them.’ It’s seriously adorable.
And how impressed were we when Corden proceeded to give us one line from pretty much every musical ever (except Hamilton, surprisingly)? From Les Mis and Phantom to The Sound of Music and Funny Girl (he does a spot-on Barbra Streisand impression, by the way), James covered everything before suffering a small breakdown. Hey, give him a break. Hosting the Tonys is a pretty taxing job. After some reassurance from Oprah though, he was able to continue.
Cue the waterworks again for the end of the number when a group of young theatre kids gaze longingly out at the audience and Corden sings, ‘don’t wonder if this could be you. It absolutely could be.’ Kids’ dreams coming true always get us right in the tear ducts. And like every huge musical number, it had to end with a large ensemble singing something hopeful as the music swells. In this case, an ensemble of the best actor in a musical nominees replaced the children and sang ‘this could be you up here’. Another touching moment.
We all know NPH is hilarious, but James Corden’s performance reminded us of the pure awe one feels when watching the magic that can happen on a stage. And his final line–‘this could be where you belong’–nearly pushed those of us who had kept ourselves together ’til then right over the edge.
James, we think you have a gig for life. But then again, we could have called this right after seeing his Broadway Carpool Karaoke last week. His self-deprecating humour and adorable, childlike joy at being allowed to host really made for an amazing night.