The Windy City’s “Hamilton” will mark the first step in the international rollout of the show, which on Broadway has become a megaselling celebrity magnet to which it’s nigh-impossible to score a ticket. If the musical expands in the way other Broadway smashes have, a West End staging is certain to follow, as well as a national tour.
Chicago is one of the country’s most active theater towns outside of New York, with a bustling local theater scene and a handful of large venues that regularly host pre-Broadway tryout runs of large-scale musicals. Other Broadway titles have found long-term success in the city, most notably “Wicked,” which ran in Chicago in a sit-down production that played for more than three and a half years, serving as a central outpost for tourist visitors who couldn’t make it to New York to catch the show.
Created by and starring Lin-Manuel Miranda, “Hamilton” can be certain of its power to attract audiences on a national scale in a way that most new Broadway musicals can’t, since the title has acquired the kind of high pop-culture profile that most stage fare can only dream of. Miranda has guested on late night talkshows and recently made news when J.J. Abrams revealed he’d composed music for a cantina scene “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”
The critically lauded “Hamilton” casts an ensemble of young actors from all racial backgrounds as the founding fathers of America. That diversity will be replicated in subsequent casts, although the specifics of casting breakdowns have yet to be settled on.
Jeffrey Seller, Sander Jacobs, Jill Furman and the Public Theater, the Off Broadway nonprofit where “Hamilton” premiered before it shifted to Broadway, will produce the Chicago staging, which will begin performances Sept. 27, 2016 at the PrivateBank Theater (formerly the Bank of America Theater).