The season’s other critically acclaimed productions include Shuffle Along, or, the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed, which earned 10 nominations; Long Day’s Journey Into Night starring Jessica Lange and Michael Shannon; a nominated return to the stage by Michelle Williams in Blackbird; Megan Hilty's first nomination for Noises Off; the all-female-created Waitress musical; and the revivals of The Color Purpleand She Loves Me.
Corden is taking over hosting duties from Chenoweth and Cumming, who both stepped in following multiple (and celebrated) turns by Neil Patrick Harris and Hugh Jackman. Wishing she actually could have asked Corden for advice when she hosted, Chenoweth says the key to a successful host is to be yourself. “I think that's what makes Neil Patrick and Hugh so good. I know that’s what will make James so good.”
So, how will Corden honor all these productions while marking his own place alongside Jackman and Harris? By embracing theater’s live element. He jokes about opening the show with a modern dance number and even teases the possibility of a Hamilton-like rap battle with Miranda. “I would love nothing more,” he says, “but I don’t fancy it would be much of a battle.”
However, Corden shoots down the possibility of adapting Carpool Karaoke for the ceremony. “I sort of feel like to leave the theater to show something that you have shot a week before -- because it has to be edited -- I do not know how that would feel in that night,” he explains. “Maybe we’ll change our minds, but right now, I do not imagine so.” Instead, he would rather leave room open for the many musical performances. “I am just there to keep it going.”
“My hope and dream is that he invents something for the Tony Awards,” Chenoweth says.
The most difficult thing, Corden admits, is balancing prep for the awards show and maintaining his busy schedule shooting The Late Late Show, with nearly 40 hoursof TV to get through before the ceremony. “People keep going, ‘What are you doing for the Tonys?’ And I’m like, ‘I do not know what I am doing on Monday,’” he says.
“I just don’t want to mess it up,” Corden professes after some prodding. “I do not want to be, you know, the worst. I do not want people going, ‘Oh, would be great if it was not for that British bloke.’” (A dashing British bloke at least.)
But before any of that can happen, Corden has to manage getting out of his Spanx. “We need the Spanx team to roll me out of these,” he jokes. “We roll it down like pastry, and I just fall out of the Spanx. That is what will happen now.”
--Additional reporting from Nischelle Turner