James Corden invited every kid in broadcasting range to imagine “This could be you,” in an opening number that served as a triumphant raised middle finger to the Donald Trumps and bigots of the world. On a day when many Americans felt their hearts breaking, the cast of the varied Broadway shows offered a few minutes of kid-like joy.
“To the theatre kids of any place with stardust in their eyes,” Corden sang. “Of every color, class and race, and face, and shape and size. To the boys and girls, transgenders too, to every Broadway would-be. Don’t wonder if this could be you. It absolutely could be!”
Corden started the number by relating his experiences as a “fat kid” in the theatre watching films with his mother and father. As a kid took the stage, Corden appeared behind him, singing from the musical Les Miserables. And then, in a musical “tag, you’re it” he performed a medley of numbers.
For those whose only experience of Corden are YouTube videos of Carpool Karaoke, his musical and acting chops might have come as a surprise. Corden played one of the school lads in The History Boys before appearing as the Baker in Into the Woods. As he ran through a list of Broadway’s “greatest hits” surrounded by a diverse cast of dancers and actors, the contrast with the Academy Awards, where not a single person of color was nominated for a major award, was a reminder that theatre comprises people from all races, gender identities, sexualities, and even class.
Corden remarked that the group was so diverse that “Donald Trump wants to build a wall around this theatre.”
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— Hollywood Reporter (@THR) June 13, 2016