Brow Beat

Watch James Corden’s Tony Awards Opening Number, a Salute to Live Performance

James Corden sings onstage, next to a cameraman.
The opening number of the Tony Awards, as it appeared to the live audience. Theo Wargo/Getty Images

This year’s Tony Awards kicked off with a musical salute from host James Corden to live theater, that wonderful experience of being in the same room as actors, singers, and dancers as they bring dreams to life. It’s hard to argue with the case Corden’s song makes for live performance as an electric and irreplaceable art form:

The kind that’s live, the kind that’s live, the kind that real life people recreate for you,

Live, a show that’s live, a show where when you laugh the cast will wait for you,

Actual people in an actual space watching actors who are actually there,

It’s something unique to that time and that place, it’s something unique, it’s something you share,

It’s live, we do it live, and every single moment’s unrepeatable,

Live, we do it live, it can’t be hashtagged and it isn’t tweetable,

There is a visceral bliss you only get in a theater seeing people do this,

That’s the bliss for which performers strive,

And tonight you’re our guest as we honor the best of the best who do it live!

But if you weren’t lucky enough to be in the room at Radio City Music Hall this evening, don’t despair—you can still see Corden’s song, sort of. Here is a tweet from CBS that includes embedded video from the live television broadcast of the Tony Awards (time-delayed on the west coast), which reproduces a digitally manipulated view from television cameras which were in the same room as Corden, accompanied by a carefully mixed version of the audio captured by a series of microphones placed throughout Radio City Music Hall:

It’s like you’re actually there, except for the part where James Corden keeps assuring you in song that it’s not like you’re actually there at all!