(NEW YORK) — Before last night’s show, Tony Awards host James Corden addressed the Orlando nightclub massacre, in which at least 50 people were killed early that morning in the worst mass shooting in recent U.S. history.
Corden told reporters on the carpet that “we have to reference it” in the show and that a message had to be sent that “we stand with” the victims.
“We will not change and you will not change us,” Corden said of the “domestic terror incident,” as described by law enforcement officials.
The opening of the broadcast featured Corden addressing the gay nightclub shooting, with the host saying, “All around the world, people are trying to come to terms with the horrific events that occurred in Orlando this morning. Our hearts go out to all of those affected by this tragedy.”
He continued, “Theater is a place where every race, creed, sexuality and gender is equal, is embraced and is loved. Hate will never win.”
It was also revealed earlier in the day that the cast of Hamilton would not perform with muskets during the broadcast in honor of the victims.
Others on the red carpet prior to the show, all wearing silver ribbons to pay homage to those affected by Orlando, shared the same theme of “the show must go on,” including Gloria Estefan and Hamilton star Leslie Odom Jr. Estefan said the shooting and death of Christina Grimmie the day before, also in Orlando, hit a little too close to home.
“It’s always difficult,” she said. “As we are seeing, every day something happens that is horrible. This tragedy in Orlando wasn’t the first one this week…my daughter is 22,” she said, referencing Grimmie’s age at the time of her death earlier in the weekend.
“My heart was ripped to shreds when I saw these things happen….We really need to send a lot of love to the victims, let them know we are thinking of them,” she added. “Life has to go on or hatred wins.”
Odom said that the show has to continue to make it clear to the victims that everyone is united and in “this together.”
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