News broke today that Lin-Manuel Miranda is officially leaving Hamilton on July 9, as was previously rumored. But as Miranda himself pointed out on Twitter, there’s an even bigger news story hidden within that announcement: Before Miranda leaves the show, Hamilton will film two live performances.
Miranda admits there are no plans for what to actually do with that footage yet, which will also include “offstage cameos.” He jokes they’ll be throwing it into “a vault at Gringotts” (a.k.a. the highly secure bank in Harry Potter). But even so, Hamilton fans will be pleased to know that a version of the show featuring the original cast (minus Jonathan Groff, who already left) will definitely be recorded for posterity.
Should Hamilton producers decide to release the recording to the public at some point—which in all likelihood they will, because why else film it—there are a couple of different paths for that. PBS has a long history of airing Broadway productions under its Great Performances banner, most recently Billy Elliot The Musical. Meanwhile London’s National Theatre has begun regularly broadcasting plays, including Benedict Cumberbatch’s Hamlet, in movie theaters across the country as part of National Theatre Live. The newly launched streaming site BroadwayHD (a.k.a “Netflix for theater”) announced it will be doing the first ever live online broadcast of a Broadway show when it streams a performance of She Loves Me on June 30. A taping of Rent’s final Broadway performance got a limited theatrical run and a DVD release in 2008. And even MTV got in the musical game back in 2007 when it broadcast Legally Blonde: The Musical. Perhaps strangest of all, Shrek The Musical is currently streaming on Netflix for no reason at all.
So, yes, there’s a lot of precedent for a broadcast of Hamilton—which picked up 11 trophies at Sunday’s Tony Awards—to make its way to the public. That means the odds are good that with enough patience, fans will one day be able to see the original cast without shelling out $849 for a ticket. For now, however, they’ll just have to pull an Aaron Burr and “Wait For It.”