James Corden began the 70th Tony Awards with a sobering tribute to the victims of the mass shooting early Sunday morning at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida.
Before launching into a "Hamilton"-inspired opening number, a somber Corden addressed viewers at home on behalf of the entire theater community in a pre-recorded message.
“Good evening. All around the world, people are trying to come to terms with the horrific events that took place in Orlando this morning,” Corden said. “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 continued. "Your tragedy is our tragedy. Theater is a place where every race, creed, sexuality and gender is equal, embraced and 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.”
Earlier in the day, the award show announced that Sunday's ceremony would be dedicated to the friends and family of the victims of the attack.
"Our hearts are heavy for the unimaginable tragedy that happened last night in Orlando,” the statement read on Twitter. “Our thoughts are with the families and friends of those affected. The Tony Awards dedicate tonight’s ceremony to them.”