James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke With Broadway’s Finest Is Both Awesome And Relatively Embarassing

British late-night host James Corden is passionate about many things, but nothing gets him going as much as putting celebrities in a car and making them sing with him as he navigates around a city, geeked as hell. And on last night’s Carpool Karaoke with Lin-Manuel Miranda, Audra McDonald, Jane Krakowski and Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Corden dropped all pretense and stepped out of the shadows to reveal himself for what he truly is: a theatre kid, through and through.

This is not Corden’s first time at the rodeo, obviously, since 1) this is his goddamn show and 2) this is a regular segment that he does like, all the time. He’s spent time with luminaries as shiny and fun as Adele and sat in close proximity to Jennifer Hudson’s powerhouse vocal chords. But the amount of raw talent and earnestness present in this eleven-minute clip is so powerful that I’m surprised the car didn’t explode from the collected vibrato within.

It would be remiss if I didn’t offer a trigger warning before imploring anyone to click on an eleven-minute video of Broadway stars singing in a car with James Corden. As someone who gamely step-ball-changed their way through the chorus of many a musical in my youth, this video was hard to watch. It is very, very embarrassing.

“This old chestnut,” Ferguson says as the opening chords of “Seasons of Love” fill the car. This old chestnut, indeed. I mean….this is what their faces did when that song came on.

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Oh, in case you have no idea who or what any of these people are, let me briefly expound. Audra McDonald is very famous on Broadway and was honestly the best thing about that disastrous live version of The Sound of Music.  Jesse Tyler Ferguson is on Modern Family and also on Broadway in Fully Committed, a show that I have only seen ads for on TaxiTV.  Jane Krakowski was on Ally McBeal30 Rock and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and she basically played the same character throughout with little variation. Lest you think that last bit is unecessarily shady, please see the following.

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Whew! They also talk about stuff like making money (television) vs being poor (Broadway), but anything and everything of substance is eclipsed by the closing number, a powerful and soul-stirring rendition of “One Day More” from Les Misérables.  You get that high note, Audra. Get it real good.  If you made it through this video without curling into a ball and remembering how you botched “Rose’s Turn” at musical theatre camp when you were 14, congratulations!

James Corden will host the Tony Awards on Sunday, June 12th.