This week, Broadway's still hottest ticket Hamilton reached another huge milestone. This past Thursday, Lin-Manuel Miranda's groundbreaking Award winning musical celebrated its 5th Anniversary of its official Opening Night on Broadway.
Sadly, the Broadway company and/or all the companies of the show everywhere are not performing at this time due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, we know for a fact….THEY'LL BE BACK! HAMILTON is one of the many shows set to return in 2021 when Live Theater resumes.
In case anyone may not know or have forgotten, HAMILTON is a hip-hop musical retelling about the life of one of America's founding fathers…. Alexander Hamilton, an instrumental promoter of the U.S. Constitution, founder of the nation's financial system, its first Secretary of the Treasury, and of course, the man on the 10 Dollar Bill. The show features a full score and book by Lin Manuel Miranda and based on Ron Chernow's 2004 best selling biography. Notable songs include ALEXANDER HAMILTON, MY SHOT, THE SCHUYLER SISTERS, YOU'LL BE BACK, SATISFIED, WAIT FOR IT, THE ROOM WHERE IT HAPPENS, BURN, WHO LIVES WHO DIES WHO TELLS YOUR STORY, and more.
HAMILTON was first conceived by Lin Manuel Miranda while he was on vacation from his first big Broadway hit In The Heights. For something to read during his trip laying on the beach, he picked up a book about Alexander Hamilton at the airport. He was so inspired and moved about this man, he thought the story of our founding father would fit really well with Hip-Hop music. Miranda initially wrote the musical as a mixtape concept album entitled THE HAMILTON MIXTAPE. In 2009 while writing the score, Miranda got a call from President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle Obama to perform at the White House Poetry Jam. He originally was going to perform a song from IN THE HEIGHTS but decided to try his new material in front of an audience. In his opening speech, Miranda talked about the new Alexander Hamilton musical he was writing which the audience laughed. However, as soon as he opened his mouth to rap out the opening number of the show, the crowd fell in love. In addition, the performance went viral. Following that performance, Miranda continued to work on the new show with numerous readings and a workshop at the Vassar College Reading Festival in 2013 (which was mostly majority of the first act and only 3 songs from the second act).
Following a set of rewrites and a new name, HAMILTON officially had it's world premiere run Off Broadway at The Public Theater in January 2015. The response during it's opening week was insane, it was extended twice. With everyone wanting to see the show, the producers of the show and Miranda announced that the show was transferring to the Great Bright Way a few months later.
HAMILTON officially arrived on Broadway at the Richard Rodgers Theatre (where Miranda previously had his Broadway debut hit IN THE HEIGHTS performed). Today, the show continues to sell out and play to packed houses 8 times a week. Under the direction of Thomas Kail and choreography by Andy Blankenbuehler, the cast featured…
Lin Manuel Miranda (later Javier Muñoz, Michael Luwoye, Austin Scott, and currently Miguel Cervantes) as "Alexander Hamilton",
Leslie Odom Jr. (later Tony nominees Brandon Victor Dixon and currently Daniel Breaker) as "Aaron Burr",
Renée Elise Goldsberry (later and currently Mandy Gonzalez) as "Angelica Schuyler",
Jasmine Cephas Jones (later Alysha Deslorieux, Joanna A Jones, and currently Aubin Wise) as "Peggy Schuyler" / "Maria Reynolds",
Christopher Jackson (later Nicholas Christopher, Bryan Terrell Clark, Carvens Lissaint, and currently Tamar Greene) as "General George Washington",
Okieriete Onaodowan (later J. Quinton Johnson, Wallace Smith, and currently Fergie L. Phillipe) as "Hercules Mulligan" / "James Madison",
The show made history for a record breaking 16 Tony Awards nominations in 2016 winning 11 including BEST MUSICAL, BEST LEADING ACTOR IN A MUSICAL (for Leslie Odom Jr.), BEST FEATURED ACTOR IN A MUSICAL (for Daveed Diggs), BEST FEATURED ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL (for Renee Elise Goldsberry), BEST BOOK OF A MUSICAL, BEST SCORE (both for Lin Manuel Miranda), and more.
During his speech for BEST SCORE, Miranda did not rap his speeches like he did for IN THE HEIGHTS but instead paid tribute to the victims of the Orlando Nightclub shooting with his now well famous sonnet featuring the quote "Love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love; Cannot be killed or swept aside."
Along with the Tonys, HAMILTON also made history for being one of the few Musicals ever to win the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. It also went on to win glory at the GRAMMYs winning for BEST MUSICAL THEATRE ALBUM for it's acclaimed cast album which also made history as the first cast album ever to make it to # 1 on the Billboard Rap Charts.
Also, before HAMILTON officially opened on the Great Bright Way, the show had a multimillion-dollar advance in ticket sales, reportedly taking in $30 million before its official opening. It also got huge attention for its popular Ham4Ham Lottery Rush for $10 in the front row. The Live Lottery itself was so popular, 46th Street would be jam packed. It caused a huge fire hazard, they were forced to change to Digital Lottery ever since.
HAMILTON has already gone on to become a huge global phenomenon with productions all around the world. Along with our Broadway backyard in New York, other companies included….
a 4 year sit-down Chicago company which ran for 1,341 performances in the Windy City's CIBC Theatre,
it's current 3 US National Touring productions (the ANGELICA, PHILLIP, and AND PEGGY companies) which have been still playing across North America,
West End (where it took home glory at the Olivier Awards
winning 8 including BEST NEW MUSICAL) and still playing to packed houses at London's Victoria Palace Theatre,
Upcoming productions will include….
Australia – Coming to Sydney at the Sydney Lyric Theatre in 2021,
the first Non-English speaking production of the show debuting in Hamburg, Germany – With the entire score translated in German.
In addition to its success on stage, HAMILTON has already been so popular during this time of the COVID-19 pandemic. Last month, Disney+ released a filmed performance of the Broadway production starring the original cast. It was originally recorded in 2016 during the final weeks before Lin Manuel Miranda, Leslie Odom Jr., and Phillipa Soo departed.
Also if you enjoyed HAMILTON, be sure to join us on our Gilbert and Sullivan to Hamilton Walking Tour. We will take you on a fun adventures to some of key noted places mentioned and where the real Alexander Hamilton walked on the face of this earth.
HAPPY 5 YEARS HAMILTON!!!
LET'S RAISE A GLASS TO FREEDOM and to a lifechanging show.
How amazing is HAMILTON?!!!
What's your favorite moment in the show?
Who has seen the show LIVE?!!
Who has seen the #Hamilfilm?!!