Tracking 70th Annual Tony Awards Host James Corden

The 2016 Tony Awards are just two days away, and Broadway is abuzz with excitement. With Hamilton poised to take home massive Tony gold, it would be safe to assume creator Lin-Manuel Miranda and Hamilfans worldwide are most likely bursting at the gut. Yet you’d be wrong to say they’re the only ones, or the ones most primed. This year, for the first time, late night personality James Corden is running the show. 

James Corden hosts the 2016 Tonys

James Corden gets ready to host the 2016 Tonys. Photos: Jason Bell

“They couldn’t find a host to whom it means more,” Corden told Gayle King on CBS This Morning. “I’ve had the best times of my life working in those 10 or 12 [Broadway] blocks. To go back and be part of its biggest night… it’s not lost on me how lucky I am.”

Indeed, he’s come a long way in the past year. Roughly 16 months ago, the Buckinghamshire native was virtually unknown in Americauntil he began injecting The Late Late Show with his own brand of comedy, like ROFL celeb segments such as “Inappropriate Musicals” and the viral sensation “Carpool Karaoke.”

Corden has plenty of theatrical street cred. Following an acclaimed run as Richard Timms in the West End production of The History Boys, he transferred to Broadway with the show in 2006 and later reprised his role in the film version. He resurfaced in England, co-creating and starring in the BAFTA-winning BBC sitcom Gavin and Stacey.

As for his U.S. profile, he established it big time when he returned to Broadway from London’s West End with the hit farce One Man, Two Guvnors, a show hailed as “splendidly silly” by The New York Times, earning a Best Actor Tony for his efforts.

Originally scheduled to return to Broadway in a 2015 revival of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Corden found his life turned upside down when a simple meeting to pitch a sitcom at CBS ended with him permanently taking over The Late Late Show from departing host Craig Ferguson.

But while he’s adamant about wanting to return to the stage at some point, Corden insists he can’t complain about how everything turned out. Neither can CBS, which has seen a significant spike in Late Late Show ratingsand an increased presence on social media platformssince the Brit came onboard.  

That said, Corden still manages to stay true to his roots. He appeared as the Baker in the 2014 screen adaptation of Into the Woods, crashing the U.S. touring production of The Phantom of the Opera, staging The Lion King on a prominent West Hollywood crosswalk and rapping Hamilton with Broadway alum/former Tony host Rosie O’Donnell.

Corden also comes to the Tonys with four BRIT Awardsthe U.K. equivalent of the Grammysceremony experiences as MC under his belt, so he'll fit right in with the rogues' gallery of former Tony hosts from across the pond: Julie Andrews, Hugh Jackman, Alan Cumming, and Angela Lansbury (one of this year’s presenters), who holds the record as a five timer.

James Corden hosts the 2016 Tonys

Of course, Corden, with his playful, “ready-for-anything” attitude has a stash of ideas brewing to keep his VIP audience entertained during commercial breaks. “I thought, why don’t we have a big karaoke-type sing-along?” he tells Late Night’s Seth Meyers. “I might go out and give them some drinks and then see if I can get Barbra Streisand to sing something.”

Others simply urge him to trust his natural instincts. “I have no advice for you,” says last year’s co-host Kristin Chenoweth, in a video message. “You’re awesome and you’re gonna kill it.”

To whet your appetite for what is sure to be a high-octane extravaganza this Sunday, June 12th (starting at 8pm EST on CBS), do yourself a favor and check out Corden, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Jane Krakowski, Audra McDonald, and Jesse Tyler Ferguson belting out in a killer Broadway-fied version of "Carpool Karaoke." 

About the Author

Matt Smith is a writer and theatre enthusiast based in New York. His work has appeared within a wide variety of theatrical publications, including,,, and For more information or further inquiry, including additional writing samples, please visit

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