In the rush of holiday stuff we missed the news that the wildly popular and critically lauded Broadway musical Hamilton, written by Lin-Manual Miranda of In the Heights fame, had already announced a national tour with a definite stops in Chicago, San Francisco, and LA, with "extended runs" planned for all three cities according to Vulture.
The ingenious and original show, which is all but guaranteed to sweep the Tony Awards this year, premiered last spring at the Public Theater and moved to Broadway last summer, with Miranda in the title role and Looking star Jonathan Groff starring as well.
If you (somehow) haven't heard, it is a hip-hop musical with a primarily African-American cast based on Ron Chernow's lengthy biography of Alexander Hamilton, who never served as President but nonetheless made it onto your ten-dollar bills because he was a right-hand man to General George Washington during the Revolutionary War, the original architect of our financial system, and the country's first Secretary of the Treasury. He was also an immigrant born out of wedlock on the island of Nevis in the British West Indies, and the show tracks his rise to prominence as a Founding Father, his marriage and family, and his life-long rivalry with Aaron Burr.
Miranda was inspired by Hamilton's writings, and Chernow's depiction of his life, first to start writing a concept album titled The Hamilton Mixtape, a piece of which he performed at the White House in 2009. The musical grew out of that, and President Barack Obama has gone on to be a big fan, attending the Broadway show when it was in previews with his two daughters last July.
As the New York Times' Ben Brantley gushed, "I am loath to tell people to mortgage their houses and lease their children to acquire tickets to a hit Broadway show. But 'Hamilton,' directed by Thomas Kail and starring Mr. Miranda, might just about be worth it at least to anyone who wants proof that the American musical is not only surviving but also evolving in ways that should allow it to thrive and transmogrify in years to come."
It is currently the hardest ticket to get on Broadway, with Stephen Colbert even joking about it during the Kennedy Center Honors last week. (I was lucky enough to get a chance to see it over the holidays via a New York friend and it is, I promise you, worth all the hype and Groff was hilarious as the mincing, incredulous, pompous King George.)
But according to Mic.com, the first definite scheduled stop for a national tour has been set for a September 27, 2016 opening in Chicago. Producer Jeffrey Seller was careful to announce that he wants this national tour which is coming together faster than most to be as close a replica to the Broadway experience as possible. "My goal is as follows: to create the production that currently plays eight times a week at the Richard Rodgers Theatre exactly like it is at the Richard Rodgers Theatre ... in Chicago." He added, "When we come here, it won't just be a tour. The entire creative team will come here, live here for a month to give this show the same tender loving care they gave it in New York."
That same production will then move on to SF and LA, though perhaps not in that order announcements of those dates will be upcoming. Demand being what it already is in New York, with sellout houses through next summer, chances are the runs in these other cities will sell out extremely fast as well, much like Book of Mormon did in its first and second tours.
Miranda, who was a 2015 recipient of a MacArthur "genius" grant, also said in October that he'd been approached by multiple filmmakers about filming the musical as-is, with the current cast, to be broadcast perhaps in movie theaters or on television. No definitive announcement has been made about that as yet.
Stay tuned for updates later this year about Hamilton's arrival date in SF.
Update: Hamilton will be opening in SF in March 2017 following a long, five-month run in Chicago, and will then move on to Los Angeles after five months here.