James Corden Honors Orlando Shooting Victims at 2016 Tonys: 'Hate Will Never Win'

By Philip Trapp on Jun 13, 2016 05:31 AM EDT

The anticipated celebration of the 70th Annual Tony Awards took on a somber tone last night, occurring mere hours after an Orlando, Florida nightclub shooting shocked the nation Sunday morning. Tonys host James Corden and other presenters used the televised opportunity to honor the victims of the tragic mass shooting.

On the morning of June 12, a man identified as Omar Mateen entered Orlando nightclub Pulse, opening fire on the establishment's patrons. The gunman killed 49 people and wounded more than 50 others. The attack is the deadliest mass shooting in United States history and the largest terror attack on U.S. soil since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

Corden opened the Tonys last night with a modified monologue to pay tribute to the victims of the Orlando attack. Those who tuned into the telecast last night, broadcast live on CBS from the Beacon Theatre in New York City, heard the host's touching words regarding the inhuman display of barbarism that had occurred just hours before:

"To those affected by this atrocity, all we can say is that you are not on your own right now," Corden said. "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 will make sure of that. Tonight's show stands as a symbol and celebration of that principle. This is the Tony Awards."

In Sunday's early morning hours, when news of the attack was first breaking, there was much speculation as to whether the Tonys ceremony would proceed. However, by mid-morning, organizers of the event confirmed that the show would go on.

Les Moonves, CEO of CBS Corporation, spoke to CNN on the red carpet, detailing his notions in proceeding with the event:

"The Broadway community really wanted to continue with this, as did we," CBS chief executive Les Moonves told CNNMoney. "It's important that the show go on. And the show's being done in honor of the victims."

As we previously reported on our sister site Classicalite, last season's runaway success of Broadway musical Hamilton resulted in an unprecedented 16 Tony nominations for the production. As of press time, Lin-Manuel Miranda's blockbuster had clinched the awards for Best Musical, Best Leading Actor in a Musical, Best Choreography and Best Book of a Musical.

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TagsJames Corden, Tony Awards, Tony Awards 2016, Hamilton, Orlando Nightclub Shooting 2016

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