BY ASHLEY LEE
LOS ANGELES TIMES/TNS
Disney is bringing moviegoers to the room where it happened. Specifically, to the Richard Rodgers Theatre in New York City for a performance of “Hamilton” with the original Broadway cast.
The show’s producers announced Monday that Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical juggernaut will be released in movie theaters worldwide by Disney. Directed by Thomas Kail, it will hit the U.S. and Canada on Oct. 15, 2021.
A filmed version of the 11-time Tony Award-winning productionhas been in the works since it opened on Broadway in 2015, with Miranda promising fans that the show would be captured before the original Broadway cast — which includes Miranda, Daveed Diggs, Renée Elise Goldsberry, Leslie Odom, Jr., Christopher Jackson, Jonathan Groff, Phillipa Soo, Jasmine Cephas Jones, Okieriete Onaodowan, Anthony Ramos and Ariana DeBose — moved on to new projects.
Filmed in 2016
Though producers Miranda, Jeffrey Seller and Thomas Kail may not have been sure at the time what they’d do with the footage, two performances were filmed in 2016.
“What are we doing with that footage? No idea. Throwing it in a vault at Gringotts for a bit (probably),” Miranda tweeted at the time. “But we’re getting it.”
A few of the musical numbers appeared in the PBS documentary “Hamilton’s America,” which went behind the scenes of the creation of the production. But fans have since clamored for the release of the full version, especially since tickets to the runaway hit set records for average prices. Bots and scalpers targeted the show; some seats at the final performances with the original Broadway cast came to cost nearly $10,000.
Releasing the footage as a film is a massive move forward in affordability and accessibility to theater — a topic that has long been important to Miranda.
“We are thrilled for fans of the show, and new audiences across the world, to experience what it was like on stage — and in the audience — when we shot this at The Richard Rodgers Theatre on Broadway in June of 2016,” Kail said in a statement. “We wanted to give everyone the same seat, which is what this film can provide.”
“Hamilton” has since launched open-ended productions in Chicago and London, as well as numerous national tours.
Though many theater stars — including Wayne Brady, Brandon Victor Dixon, Joshua Henry and Mandy Gonzalez — have since taken on “Hamilton” characters, no current production features any major members of the original Broadway cast, who have since gone on to star in movies, TV shows and other Broadway productions.
“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. All who saw it with the original cast will never forget that singular experience,” Robert A. Iger, chairman and chief executive of the Walt Disney Co., said in a statement.
“And we’re thrilled to have the opportunity to share this same Broadway experience with millions of people around the world.”