Corden, who regularly shows off his singing chops with the “Carpool Karaoke” segments on “Late Late Show,” seems a smart choice for the gig. He’s got the stage chops and the Broadway experience to satisfy the New York industry, and at the same has enough of a rising profile, on TV and on social media, that his involvement in the Tonys could attract wider attention beyond a core audience of theater fans.
Corden’s selection also keeps it in the family for CBS, which has broadcast the Tony ceremony for years. Corden stepped behind the desk on CBS’ “Late Late Show” in March 2015.
Corden first attracted the attention of Broadway with his part in the 2006 Tony-winning hit “The History Boys” (in which he starred alongside two more rising stars, Dominic Cooper and Russell Tovey). His 2012 return in farce “One Man, Two Guvnors” yielded him a Tony, and he went on to nab film roles in movies including “Begin Again” and “Into the Woods.” His TV work includes BBC series “Gavin and Stacey” and “The Wrong Mans,” both of which he co-created and co-wrote.
It’s not entirely clear that the choice of a host has a significant, direct effect on the ratings for the Tony Awards, which have long struggled with soft ratings. But CBS and the Tonys can hope, at least, that Corden’s involvement ups the awards’ profile on social media, where “Late Late Show” segments, particularly “Carpool Karaoke,” have proven popular.
As Tony host, Corden will follow in the footsteps of last year’s co-hosts Alan Cumming and Kristin Chenoweth, whose turn at the podium was largely received tepidly. Neil Patrick Harris, Hugh Jackman and Sean Hayes also have had a go at hosting in recent years.
With “Hamilton” the musical to beat among a pack of potential award contenders, the 2016 Tony Awards, presented by the Broadway League and the American Theater Wing, are set for June 12 at the Beacon Theater. Glenn Weiss and Ricky Kirshner, the longtime executive producers of the ceremony who have won multiple Emmys for their work on the Tonys, will return once again as exec producers.
Tony nominations are due to be announced May 3.