James Corden began the 70th annual Tony Awards with a nod to the tragedy of Sunday's historic mass shooting. 

He evoked the power of theater to unify, saying that, "Theater is a place where every race, creed, sexuality and gender is equal, is embraced and is loved."

Earlier on Sunday, the Tonys ceremony had been dedicated to the victims of the shooting at an LGBT nightclub in Orlando, Florida. 

“Our hearts are heavy for the unimaginable tragedy that happened last night in Orlando,” the show tweeted via its offical account. “Our thoughts are with the families and friends of those affected. The Tony Awards dedicate tonight's ceremony to them.”

Here are Corden's comments opening the broadcast on CBS in full:

"Good evening. All around the world, people are trying to come to terms with the horrific events that took place in Orlando this morning. On behalf of the whole theater community and every person in this room, our hearts go out to all of those affected by this atrocity. All we can say is you are not on your own right now; your tragedy is our tragedy.

"Theater is a place where every race, creed, sexuality and gender is equal, is embraced and is loved. Hate will never win. Together we have to make sure of that.

"Tonight’s show stands as a symbol and a celebration of that principle.

"This is the Tony Awards."