Hugh Jackman Offers James Corden Advice on Hosting the Tony Awards

The four-time Tony emcee advises the late-night host to be social with the crowd: "I recommend going out during the commercial break and mucking around."
Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions; Anthony Harvey/Getty Images
Hugh Jackman (inset: James Corden)

A version of this story first appeared in the April 22 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

The 2016 Tony Awards will be hosted by James Corden — a worthy emcee, say the ceremony's previous hosts.

"James Corden is the perfect host because he is probably the only person I know who is more in love with musical theater than I am," Rosie O'Donnell, who has led the awards show three times, tells The Hollywood Reporter. Judging from the Late Late Show host's comical sidewalk musicals and viral carpool karaoke drives, plus his starring turn in 2012's One Man, Two Guvnors on Broadway, O'Donnell added, "He's gonna knock it out of the park. He's gonna be the definitive Tony host from here on in."

To help with Corden's Tonys hosting debut on June 12 at New York City's Beacon Theatre, four-time emcee Hugh Jackman offers a bit of advice. "I highly recommend going out during the commercial break and mucking around with the crowd," he tells THR, recalling his 2004 turn. "It's a six-minute commercial break, and I said, 'We're gonna lose the whole crowd! You just leave them there for six minutes? I'm going out there.'"

Without a plan, Jackman then fraternized with the starry audience by taking Kevin Kline's cellphone and talking to his kids, making jokes with Nicole Kidman and cajoling Sean "Diddy" Combs to sing a few bars of "O, What a Beautiful Mornin'," from Oklahoma!

"Puff Daddy got up and sang Oklahoma! with me," Jackman laughs, adding his congratulations for Corden. "This is the most supportive, generous crowd you'll ever have. I'm thrilled for him."

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