RISE UP BROADWAY FANS! It’s getting closer by the days and the hours. The 74th Annual Tony Awards is in 4 MORE DAYS!!! To continue celebrating Broadway’s biggest night and Live Theater’s triumphant return after this rough 18 1/2 month intermission, our TOP 50 TONY AWARDS COUNTDOWN continues. More of your favorite legendary performances coming your way.
At # 4 on countdown, we take you back in time to New York City in the year 1776-1800 to meet one of our most famous founding fathers who traveled from the Caribbean to America. Thanks to this musical, we know him today as our first ever Secretary of the Treasury. You love him or you hate him. We know him as the dude on the 10 DOLLAR BILL. This is of course… Hamilton. Inspired from Ron Chernow‘s biography, the show features a book and score by Lin-Manuel Miranda.
FUN FACT: For this particular performance, the cast did not use their prop guns to have their moment honoring the victims of the Orlando nightclub shooting (that happened that very same day).
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 Ron Chernow’s 818 page 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 with IN THE HEIGHTS) becoming a groundbreaking phenomenon… it was the hottest show in New York City (and even today) you still couldn’t get a ticket. Today, the show continues to sell out and play to packed houses 8 times a week…. that was until March 12th, 2020 when Broadway was shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Most recently, the Broadway production reopened on September 14th, 2021 and back playing once again to sold out crowds. 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 Miguel Cervantes) as “Alexander Hamilton”,
Daveed Diggs (later Seth Stewart and James Monroe Iglehart) as “Marquis De Lafayette” / “Thomas Jefferson”,
Jasmine Cephas Jones (later Alysha Deslorieux, Joanna A Jones, and Aubin Wise) as “Peggy Schuyler” / “Maria Reynolds”,
Christopher Jackson (later Nicholas Christopher, Bryan Terrell Clark, Carvens Lissaint, and Tamar Greene) as “General George Washington”,
Okieriete Onaodowan (later Quinton J. Johnson, Wallace Smith, and Fergie L. Phillipe) as “Hercules Mulligan” / “James Madison”,
Anthony Ramos (later Anthony Lee Medina and Daniel Yearwood) as “John Laurens” / “Philip Hamilton”,
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 Grammy Awards 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 becoming the first Broadway show to create a Digital Lottery.
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 which are now back as well,
West End (where it took home glory at the Olivier Awards winning 8 including BEST NEW MUSICAL) and recently returned to playing to packed houses at London’s Victoria Palace Theatre,
Australia (being one of the first productions to open since the shutdown),
Upcoming productions will include 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 the COVID-19 pandemic. In the Summer of last year, Disney+ released the filmed performance of the Broadway production starring the original cast. Filmed from the stage of the Richard Rodgers Theatre, it was originally recorded in 2016 during the final weeks before Lin Manuel Miranda, Leslie Odom Jr., and Phillipa Soo departed.
The filmed adaptation recently also won a Primetime Emmy Award for OUTSTANDING VARIETY SPECIAL (PRE-RECORDED).
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.
How groundbreaking is this show?!