Producers of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s rave-magnet musical “Hamilton” have opted not to rush the show onto Broadway in time for the eligibility cutoff for the 2015 Tonys, setting a July 13 start date of previews at the Richard Rodgers Theater.
For “Hamilton,” which has essentially sold out its extended run at Off Broadway’s Public Theater, the question has never been if it would go to Broadway, but when. The musical, Miranda’s follow-up to his Tony winner “In the Heights,” had already built to an astonishing frenzy of buzz based solely on industry showcases of the developing title, and standing-room crowds and critical raves at the Public seemed only to have fast-tracked the show’s transfer.
It would have been feasible — if only just barely — to get the show into an uptown house prior to the April 23 deadline for this season’s Tony eligibility, and the team of producers, which include commercial producer Jeffrey Seller and the Public, seriously considered the option to capitalize on the momentum.
“The consensus we reached is that this show is too good not to take the time to make it the most perfect, platonic version of itself,” Eustis said.
While not so late that theatergoer enthusiasm would fade, the summer start would give Miranda, who wrote the songs and book and also stars in the show, the time to work with fellow creatives to hone the production in advance of its move. “The show’s both a masterpiece and a work in progress,” Seller said. “Lin ain’t done.”
Besides that, holding off on Broadway avoids putting “Hamilton” in Tony contention with “Fun Home,” another well-received Public Theater alum that will open its own Broadway transfer in April. Other titles “Hamilton” won’t compete with this season include Harvey Weinstein’s “Finding Neverland” and “Something Rotten!” (Next season is far more of a blank slate, with only a handful of new musicals on the docket — so far — including “Allegiance.”)
The $12 million Broadway production of “Hamilton,” staged by director Thomas Kail and choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler (both collaborators on “In the Heights”), returns Miranda and his team to the Rodgers, where “In the Heights” ran for about three years and won five Tonys in the process.
“Hamilton” ends its run at the Public May 3, and will go back into rehearsal for a two weeks in advance of the July 13 start of previews. The show opens at the Rodgers Aug. 6.
Actor Brian d’Arcy James currently has a scene-stealing turn as King George in the musical, a hip-hop-infused look at the life of Alexander Hamilton. But he’ll soon depart the production to star in “Something Rotten,” and his replacement for the Broadway run of “Hamilton” has yet to be chosen.