I think it’s safe to say that so far, 2020 has been an avalanche of tough news. One bit of news that dropped today, however, is very much the opposite of that – in fact, it’s downright delightful. Lin-Manuel Miranda took to Twitter this morning to bring us tidings of great joy: Hamilton is coming to theaters.
— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) February 3, 2020
This is amazing news for anyone who hasn’t managed to snag Hamilton tickets, which have been sold out for ages, whether on Broadway or during the traveling production. It’s also great for people who simply can’t afford tickets: The cheapest ticket I can find for the traveling production here in LA, for example, is $400. Disney bringing the instantly iconic musical to theaters is a brilliant move as millions of people will now be able to see it.
To put into perspective just how much of a gamechanger Miranda’s Hamilton was and continues to be, consider a few of these stats: At the 2016 Tony Awards, the first year it was eligible, it received a record-setting 16 nominations (winning 11) including Best Musical. That same year it received the prestigious honor of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Productions in other locations and cities have received similar sold-out performances and unanimously positive reviews.
When the Original Broadway Cast Recording was released in 2015, it debuted at #12 on the Billboard 200 albums chart, the highest debut ranking of a cast recording since 1963. It went on to reach #3 on that list and the top spot on the Billboard rap albums chart. The cast recording then won the Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album for that year.
As far as how much money it’s made? An eye-popping number. Before debuting on Broadway, Hamilton had an off-Broadway engagement at The Public Theater. That engagement was completely sold out and by the time Hamilton debuted on Broadway, it had a multimillion-dollar advance in ticket sales, reportedly taking in $30 million even before its official opening. It eventually set a Broadway box office record for the most money grossed in a single week in November 2016, grossing $3.3 million for a week of eight performances, the first show to break the $3 million threshold with just eight performances.
So, yeah, the fact Disney is releasing a theatrical recording of the musical with the original Broadway cast in its original Broadway theater is pretty great. As Miranda says in Hamilton: The Revolution, “Look around, look around at how lucky we are to be alive right now.”