The show was nominated for a record 16 Tony Awards, breaking a theatrical record, according to CBS News. Yep, we’re talking about the one and only ‘Hamilton’, the show that has defied all Broadway boundaries with its use of race and gender to depict the historical story of one of America’s Founding Fathers.
While the demand for tickets is off the charts, with lines around the block filled with people camping out for a glimpse of this theatrical masterpiece, the show itself is going from strength to strength. The 70th annual Tony’s were broadcast on the same day of the tragic Orlando mass shooting, and the show’s star and creator Lin-Manuel Miranda used one of many of the show’s acceptance speeches to reiterate the importance of love, music and peace.
‘Hamilton’ did not go on to win all 16 of its nominations, but took home 11, easily making the show the big winner of the night. Following it’s massive wins, the original cast recording soundtrack zoomed up the Billboard 200 chart from no. 13 to no. 3, making it just one of three cast recordings to reach the top 10 in the last 50 years, and the highest charting in five years, since ‘The Book of Mormon’ also peaked at No. 3.
This show is a game-changer in the world of theater. Some of the awards it won include best musical, leading actor for Leslie Odom Jr., featured actress for Renée Elise Goldsberry and featured actor for Daveed Diggs. The musical also won awards for best lighting design, costume design, orchestrations, choreography, director for Thomas Kail and original score and book for Miranda.
Added to this was the fact that for the first time in its 70 year history, all four musical acting honors were awarded to people of color. The cast and crew were ecstatic about the acknowledgement from this industry which has turned ‘Hamilton’ into a pop culture phenomenon.
“When one of us wins, we all win because we are one,” said Renée Elise Goldsberry who plays Angelica Schuyler Church in the show.
“Alexander Hamilton was a dreamer. … I stand on this stage tonight and in this theater surrounded by dreamers,” said producer Jeffrey Seller.
“You’ve given us a new vision of what’s possible. I thank God for your mission and the calling of your life,” said Leslie Odom Jr. paying homage to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s creative genius.
Along with the 100% non-white cast, ‘Hamilton’ is also giving historical women an empowered platform which is not an easy perspective to find through other mediums. Blending hip hop with history is not Lin-Manuel Miranda’s erasure or rewriting of the factual accounts of Alexander Hamilton in any way, instead it is allowing audiences to be immersed in an important story through a different lens.
The female cast of the show told CBS News in a report ahead of the Tony Awards that they appreciate the way Lin-Manuel wrote the trio of famous Schuyler sisters, played by Renee Elise Goldsberry, Phillipa Soo and Jasmine Cephas Jones.
“It’s really well written, but what’s beautiful is that… he doesn’t pander. Lin doesn’t think this is what women do or this is what an audience could handle. He just wrote and thank God he did that because then our job as an artist is to live up to something,” said Renee.
“It’s such a great diagram of the thought process of a brilliant woman. And the cool thing about it is that’s not a woman from 2016…. I don’t know that we thought that these women that we’re portraying thought in the way as revolutionary as we think we are and we know that they did now and… that’s empowering to all women of all time, I think,” she added.
“As much as we are trying to live up to it, that it lives up to us, like as living, breathing women of this century. What does that mean, what kind of material can we really sink our teeth into?” said Phillipa Soo about the role she plays.
It’s not often that we find a major Broadway Music which encompasses all of the aspects that make ‘Hamilton’ such a brilliant show: gender and racial diversity, history, hip hop, and exceptional performances. If you haven’t had a chance to see the show in person, you can at least take a look at their performance from the Tony Awards below, with a special introduction from President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama: