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Tony Awards: James Corden Pays Tribute to Orlando Shooting Victims

"Hate will never win," the host says

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Liz Raftery

The typically frivolous opening of the Tony Awards was overshadowed by a more somber introduction during Sunday's ceremony, with host James Corden paying tribute to the horrific mass shooting in Orlando, Fla. that claimed the lives of at least 50 people.

Before his opening number -- a parody with the cast of Hamilton (what else?) about his selection as host -- Corden delivered a brief yet moving speech, with his voice quavering.

"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 theatre 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. Your tragedy is our tragedy. Theatre is a place where every race, creed, sexuality and gender is equal, is embraced and is loved."

"Hate will never win," he continued. "Together, we have to make sure of that. Tonight's show stands as a symbol and a celebration of that principle. This is the Tony Awards."