“Hamilton” will have a new Hamilton in July, with Lin-Manuel Miranda, the creator-star of the Tony Awards-winning Broadway smash, confirmed to exit the show July 9 and his longtime alternate Javier Munoz stepping into the role full-time as of July 11.
The transition will play out largely as expected, with the increasingly busy Miranda — who composed songs for the upcoming Disney animated film “Moana” and is also set to star in the sequel to “Mary Poppins” — leaving the show after about a year of Broadway performances (the standard duration of an actor’s contract in a production on Broadway). Munoz seemed the obvious choice to step into the title role, since the actor is already Miranda’s understudy and alternate in the production, regularly playing one performance a week. Barack Obama saw Munoz in the role at the performance the president attendance last year.
Casting a well-known star to replace Miranda probably wasn’t even considered by the producers of “Hamilton.” After a year in the pop-culture spotlight and fresh off winning 11 Tony Awards including best musical, the title itself is the star, and is already pumping up interest at regional theaters around the country.
Munoz has been the closely associated with Miranda and his work for several years. He was Miranda’s understudy in the writer-composer-actor’s 2008 Tony winner “In the Heights,” and took over the lead role in that production as well after Miranda departed. In “Hamilton,” he’ll play seven of each week’s eight performances (just as Miranda did in the role), with an alternate to be cast to play the part for one show a week.
In the coming months, multiple actors will be needed to fill Alexander Hamilton’s shoes. The Chicago production opens in October, and a separate touring production kicks off this spring with 21 weeks each in San Francisco and L.A. A London staging, meanwhile, is on tap for 2017.