Dodged a Bullet: Public Theater’s ‘Hamilton’ Heads to Broadway—But After the Tonys

Power play could have been a spoiler, but hip-hops out of the fray

Hamilton, the historical hip-hop-infused musical at the Public that’s received critical and audience acclaim, is moving to Broadway—but not in time to upend this season’s Tony Awards on June 7.

The show begins previews at the Richard Rodgers Theatre on July 13, and opens Aug. 6.  The announcement halts speculation that Hamilton, written and starring Lin-Manuel Miranda, would abort its sold-out engagement to transfer immediately to Broadway in order capitalize on its mostly rapturous reviews. Jeffrey Seller, who is producing the transfer with Jill Furman, Sander Jacobs and the Public, said in an interview at the Public that the roughly $12 million capitalization is already raised.

Beneficiaries of the wait include the slew of new musicals opening in coming weeks, including Something Rotten a new musical comedy from Seller’s former producing partner, Kevin McCollum, who was among those Miranda thanked when he won his Tony for best score for In the Heights in 2008; as well as Fun Home, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize that debuted at the Public in 2013, plus An American in Paris and Doctor Zhivago. Hamilton holding off until 2015-16 could also help any award ambitions of Sting, whose short-lived The Last Ship is a likely nominee for original score. Seller was a lead producer of that show, as was Sting himself.

The risk of a delay is that Tony voters may not be as swept up next year as they’d likely be this spring, when Hamilton, based on the life of Alexander Hamilton, is the toughest ticket in town and Broadway doesn’t have another boffo new musical. “I think they”ll be fine,” said Luis Miranda, who is Lin-Manuel’s father and a political consultant. “Wicked has been hot for a long time. The Book of Mormon has been hot for a long time.”

Hamilton has been on Broadway’s radar since at least January 2012, when the composer and others performed songs at Lincoln Center’s American Songbook series from the work-in-progress he then called Hamilton Mixtape. (In 2009, he performed the first number he wrote for the show at the White House.) Critic Stephen Holden in the New York Times called the Lincoln Center selection “an obvious game changer.”  Miranda has said that reading Ron Chernow’s 2004 biography of Alexander Hamilton, an impoverished immigrant from St. Croix who was the first U.S. Treasury secretary, reminded him of both the rapper Tupac Shakur and his own father, who moved to Chelsea from Puerto Rico when he was 18.  “You’re humbled by it,” Luis Miranda said of the comparison.

Tickets for the Broadway show, which like In the Heights is directed by Thomas Kail and choreographed by Andy Blankenbuehler, go on sale on March 8. Dodged a Bullet: Public Theater’s ‘Hamilton’ Heads to Broadway—But After the Tonys