“This show is so diverse that Donald Trump threatened to build a wall around this theater,” quipped host James Corden.
Less than four months after #OscarsSoWhite, the diverse nominees of the 2016 Tony Awards received an early shout-out during Sunday night’s show.
In his monologue, host James Corden said the show is “so diverse that Donald Trump has threatened to build a wall around this theater,” a reference to the presumptive GOP presidential nominee’s well-known proposal to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico.
“Think of tonight as the Oscars but with diversity,” Corden said. Indeed, this year’s Tony nominees across the eight performance categories for plays and musicals included several actors of color.
Trump’s much-maligned Trump University also got a shout-out from Nathan Lane as he presented the Tony for lead actress in a play to Jessica Lange. Lane said that the first lesson he learned at Trump U. is that winning an award in front of hundreds of people is actually really important.
Later, Cuban-American Emilio Estefan introduced a performance by his wife Gloria Estefan and the cast of On Your Feet!, the musical about her rise and re-emergence after near tragedy, by saying, “Broadway is about diversity. All the cast, On Your Feet, we all have papers and believe it or not we’re all legal.”
There also was applause after the line, “Immigrants: We get the job done,” during the Hamilton performance.
Corden also came up with politically inspired versions of famous musicals, joking that in light of Hamilton‘s success, two new shows will be debuting this fall about the GOP and Democratic presumptive presidential nominees. Andrew Rannells will play Trump, Corden said, in The Book of Moron, a take on The Book of Mormon, which Rannells starred in on Broadway. The actor took the stage in a Trump-esque version of his Elder Price costume, with a blond wig and bright red tie as he sang an altered line from the show’s opener “Hello!”
“Hello, my name is Elder Price, and I would like to build a wall that goes straight through your house.”
On the other side of the aisle, Glenn Close will play Hillary Clinton, Corden said, in A Clinton Line, the title a take on A Chorus Line.
Wearing a blue pantsuit, Close sang, “I really need this job. Oh God, I need this job. I’ve got to get this job,” from the musical’s “I Hope I Get It.”