By now you’ve probably heard of “Hamilton,” the incredibly successful broadway musical created by Puerto Rican-American Lin-Manuel Miranda. The hip-hop-infused play has caught a lot of buzz, but the musical’s success has taken a whole new level. It’s now become the ninth musical to win a Pulitzer Prize.
Although it’s not common for a play to win in the drama category, but it was the play’s unique spin on American history that made it a top contender.
Miranda created the play after reading Alexander Hamilton’s biography during a break from his other broadway hit “In The Heights.” The play debuted in February 2015 and has already won 31 awards, including a Grammy. Word on the street is it will also sweep at the Tony Awards this year.
Lin-Manuel Miranda’s hit musical “Hamilton” if finally becoming a movie. Thanks to Disney and its determination to own everything you love, the filmed version of Hamilton, starring the original cast, will hit movie theaters nationwide next year.
Unlike many other Disney films, this won’t be an adaptation.
The just-announced that the “Hamilton” film won’t be re-casted or adapted to the screen. Instead, the film will actually be a theatrical release of a filmed Broadway performance.
Filmed on stage at The Richard Rodgers Theatre, Disney’s “Hamilton” will feature Lin-Manuel Miranda himself.
Back in 2016, when “Hamilton” was a new Broadway phenomenon, the show’s creative team decided to film the musical before the original cast departed. “We’re filming the original cast before I go. WE GOT YOU,” Miranda tweeted back then, adding in a second tweet, “What are we doing with that footage? No idea. Throwing it in a vault at Gringotts for a bit probly. But we’re getting it.”
In that original cast, Miranda played the title character, U.S. Treasury Secretary and Founding Father Alexander Hamilton.
The cast also included Leslie Odom Jr., Daveed Diggs, Renee Elise Goldsberry, Christopher Jackson, Jonathan Groff, Phillipa Soo, Jasmine Cephas Jones, Okieriete Onaodowan, and Anthony Ramos (who is next starring in the movie version of Miranda’s previous musical, “In the Heights”). Odom Jr., Diggs, and Goldsberry all won Tony Awards for their performances, while Miranda took home the best score, best book, and best musical prizes.
Rights to the stage film went for a whopping $75 million, in a deal brokered by Endeavor Content on behalf of Miranda, according to Variety.
Endeavor shopped the project around Hollywood, presenting to studios including Warner Bros. But ultimately, Disney bagged it.
The splurge was well worth it, “Hamilton” has become a true cultural phenomenon.
As reporter Mike Fleming Jr. put it, “I can’t think of an acquisition of a finished film that has gone for more money than this one.” But the investment seems logical; the theatrical run seems guaranteed to draw lots of Hamilfans, especially those who have for whatever reason not been able to see the stage production. And afterward? It’ll make great a great addition to the studio’s streaming service, Disney+.
“Hamilton” debuted on Broadway in 2015 and continues to be an important play across the country.
Miranda’s musical play won numerous accolades since it’s debut, including 11 Tonys and the Pulitzer Prize for drama. “Lin-Manuel Miranda created an unforgettable theater experience and a true cultural phenomenon, and it was for good reason that “Hamilton” was hailed as an astonishing work of art,” Disney CEO and chairman Bob Iger said in a statement. “All who saw it with the original cast will never forget that singular experience. And we’re thrilled to have the opportunity to share this same Broadway experience with millions of people around the world.”
Sold-out shows and astronomical ticket prices and sales to the side, the show has been praise for revitalizing and revolutionizing Broadway as a whole.
Celebrities Seeing Hamilton became a miniature entertainment beat in its own right. Total Broadway grosses to date for Hamilton stand at $636.5 million, with every performance playing to capacity. That figure does not include massive revenues from North American tours and the hit London production.
Lin-Manuel Miranda fell in love with musicals thanks to Disney.
“I fell in love with musical storytelling growing up with the legendary Howard Ashman-Alan Menken Disney collaborations —‘The Little Mermaid,’ ‘Beauty and The Beast,’ ‘Aladdin,’” Miranda said. “I’m so proud of what Tommy Kail has been able to capture in this filmed version of ‘Hamilton’—a live theatrical experience that feels just as immediate in your local movie theater. We’re excited to partner with Disney to bring the original Broadway company of ‘Hamilton’ to the largest audience possible.”
Miranda originated the role off-Broadway and on Broadway, staying with the show through July, 2016.
As Hamilton, Miranda was the first person to perform now-iconic songs like “My Shot,” which he first performed at a 2009 White House event. He was succeeded on Broadway by Javier Muñoz, who had been his alternate up until that point. As of this writing, the role is played on Broadway by Jimmie “JJ” Jeter. Other current A.Hams include Joseph Morales, who plays the role on the “Philip” tour, Edred Utomi on the “Angelica” tour, Julius Thomas III in San Francisco, and Karl Queensborough in London.
What do Idina Menzel, Caissie Levy, and Caroline Bowman have in common? They’re all Broadway actresses that have portrayed Elsa from “Frozen.” They also happen to be all white. Well, that’s all about to change!
Afro-Latina actress Ciara Renée will be playing the role of Elsa in “Frozen” on Broadway.
Frozen made its Broadway debut in 2018 and was played by Caissie Levy. Idina Menzel was the voice of Elsa in the animated film. Now, an Afro-Latina has scored the coveted role.
Renée will be playing Elsa, and McKenzie Kurtz will be making her Broadway debut as Anna. Renée and McKenzie will take over the roles. Caissie Levy and Patti Murin end their run as Elsa and Anna respectively on Feb. 16. Renée was previously in the Broadway show “Big Fish” as the Witch as well as “Pippin.”
“Here it is! It’s official! I’m joining the cast of @frozenbroadway as Elsa alongside this bright new star, @mckenziekurtz! And I am incredibly grateful! This is an opportunity to expand minds, open hearts, and empower folks with the power of LOVE! I can’t wait to get started!”
While we’re still getting to know the 29-year-old, we are learning so much about this extraordinary actress who is pretty amazing at showing her biggest supporters lots of love in return.
Renée, who is half Black and half Puerto Rican, thanked her friends, family, and supporters by giving them exact instructions on what to do when they come to see her show on Broadway.
“I just want to extend my heartfelt gratitude for all the support and love I received yesterday. It was honestly overwhelming. Thank you, thank you,” Renée said in a video on her Insta-story. “I am so thrilled to be playing Elsa.”
“But I wanted to set down some ground rules about people coming to see the show,” she said. “I am always so grateful when people come to see the show, people I know, people I don’t. But it isn’t my favorite thing to know when you’re coming. So, if you’re someone I know well, and we have each other’s phone number and you live in New York City, please do not tell me when you’re coming. Please come and text me at intermission or at the end of the show, which is preferred, and I will make sure to put your name on the list. I will check it right after the show.”
She also gave instructions to those she doesn’t know all that well. “If we don’t know each other well or talk super often or you’re from out of town, please do let me know when you’re coming because I want to make sure that I get to see you. For everybody else, I will 100 percent do my very best to Stage Door [where actors meet fans after the show as they exit the theater] as much as humanly possible. I know people come from all over the world to see Broadway and I want to be there as much as I can. If I am not there, please know it’s for a reason. I may not be feeling well, or something is pulling me away, I don’t know what it is, but I will always do my best to Stage Door because I love meeting you all and I am so honored that you would come to see our shows.”
We just love how precise and in control she is about meeting friends and fans. That kind of gratitude will definitely take her far in Broadway and Hollywood.
Aside from her work on the stage, Renée has also appeared in several television shows.
The Harrisburg, Pennsylvania native and 2013 graduate of Baldwin Wallace University has appeared in Facebook Watch’s series “Strangers,” Netflix’s “Master of None,” CBS’s “Big Bang Theory,” and on the CW’s superhero series “Legends of Tomorrow,” “Arrow,” and “Flash.”
If you haven’t heard Renée’s stellar voice, here’s a clip of the actress singing Demi Lovato’s “Stone Cold.”
Congrats on this new role, Ciara! We can’t wait to see her show on Broadway! Will you be going?