Many in the Broadway world first came to know James Corden through his work on the stage. Corden made his mark on the West End and Broadway in the early 2000s playing Timms in “The History Boys.”
Both a Tony Award winner and host, Corden now has a steady gig as the host of “The Late Late Show,” where he repeatedly reminds audiences he hasn’t lost his musical theatre roots.
A popular recurring segment on Corden’s talk show is his cabaret–style performances of select Broadway musicals on the streets of Los Angeles. The musical scenes by the actors are almost as hilarious as the reactions of those caught at the stoplight.
Here is our ranking of Corden’s crosswalk musical moments:
One of Corden’s initial forays into the crosswalk theatre scene, the piece has all of the “Grease” favorites. Though the segment lacks a set, fancy props or a celebrity guest star, the cast is spirited — especially Corden, who jumps on a car during an enthusiastic performance of “Greased Lightning.”
5. ‘The Phantom of the Opera’
Again, while this video lacks a celebrity guest, watching Corden try to navigate a wooden boat across the sidewalk is comedic gold. It also boasts an impressive set of costumes and delightfully confused drivers.
4. ‘The Lion King’
Guest star Seth Rogen is the real star of this number, despite the fact that he has the smallest role. His velvet jumpsuit and commentary are as humorous as watching him sing “sha-la-la” as the moon in “Can You Feel the Love Tonight?”
3. ‘Mary Poppins’
Let no one say Corden isn’t committed when he dons full Mary Poppins garb for this production during a London stint. He’s almost as committed as Sir Ben Kingsley, who treats his casting in the role of Bert with determined professionalism. To top it all off, the production value is one of the best of all the crosswalk productions. There are elaborate costumes and sets, including Corden being lowered in on construction equipment.
Watching Lin-Manuel Miranda pretend to be on acid is worth the viewing alone. But after watching the whole performance, including a surprising bare-all moment toward the end, it’s clear Corden and Miranda need to be cast together in some sort of production.
1. ‘Beauty and the Beast’
Corden’s performance of Belle is made better by the additions of Josh Gad, Luke Evans and Dan Stevens from the recent remake of “Beauty and the Beast.” Even the warm-up exercises are filled with laugh-out-loud moments, including a failed trust exercise.
Here’s hoping Corden continues to bring music and theatre to the late-night talk show scene. And may we be the first to suggest him for the 2018 Tony Awards hosting gig.