In a refreshing twist, Disney is stepping into brand new (Broadway) territory. Instead of bringing film to the stage, the studio will now be bringing stage to the screen.
It would not be a stretch to say that we were all getting a little bit used to Disney and their string of live-action remakes of already beloved classics.
Now, however, the studio is getting set to release a live, filmed onstage performance of the smash hit Broadway show, Hamilton — according to Hamilton star and creator, Lin Manuel-Miranda’s exciting albeit vague tweet today.
But this was no easy deal, with Disney beating out other candidates and shelling out $75 million for worldwide rights to the 2016 Tony Award winning, Pullitzer Prize drama.
Walt Disney Studios in particular has not touched the world of musical theater to date, although Disney Theatrical Group has been producing stage productions for quite some time, including Broadway adaptations of Disney films such as Beauty & the Beast, Tarzan, The Little Mermaid, Mary Poppins, Newsies and most recently, Frozen.
Perhaps the best part of this news is that the original Broadway cast will grace our screens as opposed to Hollywood’s tendency to cast newer (younger) talent in the lead roles.
Lin-Manuel Miranda will reprise his role as Alexander Hamilton, along with cast mates Leslie Odom Jr. (Aaron Burr), Phillipa Soo (Eliza Hamilton), Renee Elise Goldsberry (Angelica), Daveed Diggs (Lafayette/Jefferson), Christopher Jackson (George Washington), Frozen’s Jonathan Groff (King George), Okieriete Onaodowan (Hercules Mulligan/James Madison), Anthony Ramos (John Laurens/Philip Hamilton) and Jasmine Cephas Jones (Peggy Schuyler/Maria Reynolds).
Audiences will soon be able to see their favorite Hamilton songs such as the wildly popular “My Shot” performed in the comfort of their local movie theatre — dodging the absurdly pricey theater tickets as the show continues to run in New York City as well as tours in cities such as San Francisco and Los Angeles.
Hamilton won not only the coveted Tony award for Best Musical and a record breaking 16 nominations and 11 total wins, but also a Grammy, Olivier Award and a Pulitzer Prize.
Negotiating the rights to the worldwide film distribution of the Broadway show which has grossed a whopping $634 million to date has reportedly been a long and arduous process. Producers will include Miranda, Jeffery Seller, and Thomas Kail — also the director.
Although the studio has no ties to the original production of Hamilton, Disney does now have strong ties to Lin Manuel-Miranda. Miranda composed the original songs for Moana (2016), including favorites such as “How Far I’ll Go” and “We Know The Way.”
The quadruple threat of an actor, dancer, singer and writer/showrunner also co-starred alongside Emily Blunt in Mary Poppins Returns (2018).
Miranda has recently been brought on as composer (alongside Alan Menken) and producer for the Rob Marshall directed computer-generated and live-action remake of The Little Mermaid, currently in pre-production.
Hamilton, although it was filmed onstage in 2016 while the original cast and crew still remained, is not set to be released in a theater near you until October 15, 2021.