NEW YORK, June 12 (UPI) -- British comedian James Corden opened Sunday's 70th annual Tony Awards ceremony with a heartfelt message about the weekend's mass shooting at a prominent gay nightclub in Orlando, which left 50 patrons dead and dozens injured.
Standing alone on the stage at New York's Beacon Theatre, with the audience seated behind him, the gala's host said in a voice that quivered at times: "Good evening. All around the world, people are trying to come to terms with the horrific events that took place in Orlando this morning.
"On behalf of the whole theater community and every person in this room, our hearts go out to all of those affected by this atrocity. All we can say is you are not on your own right now," he went on. "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. Tonight's show stands as a symbol and a celebration of that principle. This is the Tony Awards."
The cast of Hamilton -- which is up for a leading 16 Tony Awards -- then performed a spoof of the hit musical's song "Alexander Hamilton," in which they mused about how Corden ended up as the host of the Tony Awards.