Forget ‘The Book of Mormon’, forget Cumberhamlet, forget ‘The Cursed Child’: there are theatre events and then there’s ‘Hamilton’, the exuberant hip hop musical about the life of US founding father Alexander Hamilton that has swallowed Broadway whole.
An off-Broadway experiment that got big, fast, after being met with wild acclaim, the show – from Lin-Manuel Miranda, whose ‘In the Heights’ has been a stealth London hit – is so insanely successful on that best seats have been bumped up to an insane $849 (about $400 more than the previous highest level). That’s not just good old-fashioned American capitalism: it’s to try and neutralise the touts buying the bulk of the show’s tickets and selling them for crazy money. Conversely, many cheap seats are given away through a daily lottery: and even this has become a cultural event, with live acts performing for the entrants in a strand of events dubbed #Ham4Ham.
Up for a record 16 Tony Awards this weekend, can it repeat the success over here? There’s so much hype it’s hard to imagine it won’t at first, especially if Brit critics share the ecstasy of their Yank cousins. Whether it’s quite as big a hit in the long run remains to be seen: both the subject and the style are very American, though it’s worth noting Alexander Hamilton had largely fallen into Stateside obscurity until the musical came out (and also that wealthy Americans desperate to see it may simply be lured over). Perhaps the key will be if Miranda reprises the role of Hamilton or not – it would probably slightly dint the show’s prestige if he opted not to.
Whatever the case it’s going to be massive. Producer Cameron Mackintosh will be bringing it over to the lavishly refurbished Victoria Theatre – £30m is reportedly being poured in – for a run starting 2017: tickets won’t go on sale until October, but you should be able to sign up for ticket notifications at hamiltonthemusical.co.uk from noon on Monday June 13.
'Hamilton' is at the Victoria Palace Theatre from October 2017, exact dates tbc