The 71st annual Tony Awards will air live June 11 on CBS from New York's Radio City Music Hall

By Jodi Guglielmi
June 11, 2017 08:13 PM
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2017 Tony Awards - Show
Credit: Theo Wargo/Getty

What better way to kick of the Tony Awards than with a song.

Kevin Spacey opened the 71st annual Tony Awards with an original song that playfully pokes fun about the difficult search for this year’s host — and a nod at those rumors about his sexuality.

The song begins with Spacey trapped in a Groundhog Day cycle of waking up over and over again as the quest for a host continues.

“I know they loved James Corden, but I’ll show I came to play,” he sang, giving a shoutout to last year’s host.

2017 Tony Awards - Show
Credit: Theo Wargo/Getty

Stephen Colbert and former Tony host Whoopi Goldberg both made a surprise appearance on stage to cheer Spacey on, while perennial awards show host Billy Crystal joked via video message that even he passed on the gig.

2017 Tony Awards - Show

“I feel a little uncomfortable giving you advice because they did ask me,” said Crystal. “I was the 14th choice.”

FROM COINAGE: The Tony Awards by the Numbers

While executing quick wardrobe changes, Spacey sang famous lines from the four Tony-nominated best musicals, Dear Evan Hansen, Groundhog Day, Natasha Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812 and Come from Away.

2017 Tony Awards - Show

He even dressed as Norma Desmond from Sunset Boulevard to sing “As If We Never Said Goodbye.” He took the moment to poke fun of the long-running speculation about his sexuality, singing, “I’m coming out — wait, no no no no.”

The number ended with a tap-dancing routine complete with top hats and canes.

2017 Tony Awards - Show
Credit: Theo Wargo/Getty

Spacey, who won a Tony in 1991, joked about his position as host ahead of the ceremony.

“I was their 2nd choice for Usual Suspects, 4th choice for America Beauty and 15th choice to host this year’s Tony Awards. I think my career is definitely going in the right direction,” joked Spacey in a statement. “Maybe I can get shortlisted to host the Oscars if everyone else turns it down.”

Spacey has a strong theater background: He won a Tony in 1991 for Best Supporting Actor in Neil Simon’s Lost in Yonkers. He has also starred in the Broadway and West End productions of Long Day’s Journey into Night and Richard III.

The 71st annual Tony Awards will air live June 11 on CBS from New York’s Radio City Music Hall.