The Broadway musical Hamilton burst upon the scene setting theatre goers on fire with its charismatic story about founding father Alexander Hamilton. For those far removed from Broadway, the idea of being able to watch the musical anytime soon seemed an impossibility. Fans greedily devoured photos, videos and other goodies shared via social media from the musical and the cast.
Recently, the cast recording for Hamilton was made available to stream in advance of its digital release. Suffice it to say, fans have been absolutely blown away! While the music is not technically “rap” in the commercial sense, it is musical theatre performed in mostly hip hop and R&B style. With musical nods to the likes of Biggie, Mannie Fresh, Trina and Beyonce, this production continues to garner new admirers who tag themselves with #Hamiltunes on Twitter. Here’s a flashback of Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda debuting what was originally “Hamilton Mix tapes” at the White House.
Writer and star of the Broadway musical In the Heights, Lin-Manuel Miranda performs “The Hamilton Mixtape” at the White House Evening of Poetry, Music, and the Spoken Word on May 12, 2009. Accompanied by Alex Lacamoire. (public domain)
The beauty of being able to listen to the recording lies in its ability to transport the listener into the rich tapestry of the story without feeling like something integral has been missed. Who knew Alexander Hamilton was such a complicated and intriguing founding father? If you have kids in Civics and History, love musical theatre, enjoy various iterations of rap and R&B, or just want to expand your palate for the arts, you really ought to listen to the soundtrack. It’s a fresh take on history in a contemporary musical form with a super diverse cast (as in Aaron Burr is played by a Black man).
We enjoyed every second of the recording! It’s a perfect starter piece if you always thought Broadway wasn’t for you. As an added bonus, The Roots stepped in to help produce the official cast recording. It’s always amazing to see the mighty path Hip Hop has carved through our culture and how its ethos continues to be a major part of the American narrative.
The ‘Hamilton’ creator and Roots members, who are prodcing the cast album, talk about why “hip-hop heads” approve of the show and turning the Founding Fathers into real people. SUBSCRIBE NOW http://bit.ly/BillboardSub for more exclusive performances, interviews and in-depth coverage of the world’s biggest music events.
If you do check it out, let us know your thoughts! You can purchase it on iTunes, Google Play or Amazon or enjoy the music stream right here!
The World is Wide Enough: Hamilton Second National Tour to Begin February 2018
Only days after launching the first national tour of Hamilton last week, producer Jeffrey Sellers announced that a second national tour will kick off in Seattle starting February 2018. After a six-week engagement, the tour will travel to Portland, Oregon; Salt Lake City, Utah; Costa Mesa, California; Las Vegas, Nevada; Des Moines, Iowa; Cleveland, Ohio; and Minneapolis, Minnesota.
The second touring company will be the fourth Hamilton production to play concurrently in the U.S. Joining the first national tour (currently in San Fransisco before moving to L.A later this summer), the sit-down production in Chicago (which started September 2016), and the current Broadway production, with a London staging debuting in November of this year.
In a press statement, Seller comments:
“Beginning in 2018 more than 8,000 people a night will have the opportunity to see the show somewhere in North America. Indeed, Hamilton is for everyone. There has been tremendous interest in the show from markets across the country. The best way to get the show in front of as many people as possible is to form a new company to crisscross the country.”
The cast has yet to be announced, but keep checking into Broadway Black to be the first in the know!
Visit Hamilton for more information.
Montego Glover Set for The New York Pops at Feinstein’s/54 Below
Tony nominees Montego Glover, last seen in The Royale at Lincoln Center, and Tony Yazbeck are set to star with The New York Pops in a cabaret performance at Feinstein’s/54 Below in New York City on September 19 to perform some of their favorite show tunes. Tony Yazbeck replaces the previously announced Joshua Henry. The event, described as “an intimate evening of dining and entertainment” will be led by Pops music director Steven Reineke.
“The New York Pops annual cabaret evening is one of our most intimate and exciting events each year,” said Reineke in a statement. “The event raises money for our vital music education programs, which reach thousands of New York City children each year. Montego and Tony are both extremely talented (and busy) performers, and they are extraordinarily kind and generous people. We are all looking forward to hearing them perform up close and personal. This is going to be a tremendous night.”
All proceeds will support The New York Pops’ PopsEd music programs, which reach over 4,000 New York City students each year.
Single tickets range from $275-$500 and ticket packages begin at $2,500. To purchase, visit www.newyorkpops.org or call 212-765-7677.
Joshua Henry Joins Hamilton in Chicago
WON’T HE DO IT!
When one door closes, God surely opens an even BIGGER one, can I get an Amen? Two-time Tony Award nominee Joshua Henry joins the Chicago company of Hamilton: The Musical in Chicago as “Aaron Burr”, it was announced earlier today. Henry just concluded the Broadway run of Shuffle Along where he created the role of “Noble Sissle.” Henry, who made his Broadway debut in Lin Manual-Miranda’s In The Heights , received Tony Award nominations for his roles in The Scottsboro Boys and Violet.
Additional casting announced Jonathan Kirkland, who recently appeared in the Encores production of Cabin in Sky, is slated to play “George Washington.”
As we previously announced Wallace Smith and Samantha Marie Ware joined the cast as “Hercules Mulligan/James Madison” and “Peggy Schuyler/Maria Reynolds” respectively.
The rest of the principal cast includes Miguel Cervantes (Alexander Hamilton), Ari Afsar (Eliza Hamilton), Alexander Gemignani (King George III), Chris Lee (Marquis de Lafayette/Thomas Jefferson), Joseph Morales (Alternate Hamilton), Jose Ramos (John Laurens/Phillip Hamilton). This also marks Tony Award winner Karen Olivo’s return to the stage as Angelica Schuyler, after a two-year hiatus to teach in Wisconsin.
Rounding out the cast is ensemble members Sam Aberman, Jose Amore, Amber Ardolino, Remmie Bourgeoise, Chloe Campbell, Joseph Chaikin, Carl Clemons-Hopkins, John Michael Fiumara, Jean Godsend Floridan, Aaron Gordon, Jin Ha, Holly James, Malik Kitchen, Colby Lewis, Dash Mitchell, Justice Moore, Samantha Pollino, Emmy Raver-Lampman, Gabriella Sorrentino and Aubin Wise.
How awesome is it that we’ll have Joshua and Brandon playing the same role, at THE SAME TIME (different cities) for a change. As we know, the two actors are often each other’s replacements and for the first time Shuffle Along allowed them to work along side one another.
If you didn’t get those tickets before, now is the time to figure out how you can be in the room where it happens.
Performances begin September 27 at the PrivateBank Theatre.
Lillias White To Star In Phylicia Rashad Directed Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
We’ve been feeling down after going through what seems to be the black Broadway purge of 2k16. However, if there is anything that could give us some joy over here at Broadway Black, it’s the Center Theatre Group‘s casting for their production of August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom starring Lillias White as Ma Rainey, directed by Phylicia Rashad. Performances are set to run from August 31-October 16 with an official September 11 opening at The Mark Taper Forum in LA.
In the third installment of Wilson’s ten-play Century Cycle, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom depicts the racism and exploitation in the music industry through a 1927 recording session in Chicago with a legendary blues singer, inspired by the real-life Gertrude “Ma” Rainey.
Rounding out the cast is Tony nominee Keith David (Jelly’s Last Jam) as Slow Drag, Jason Dirden (A Raisin in the Sun) as Levee, Glynn Turman (A Raisin in the Sun) as Toledo, Damon Gupton (Clybourne Park) as Cutler, Matthew Henerson as Sturdyvant, Nija Okoro as Dussie Mae, Lamar Richardson as Sylvester, Ed Swidey as Irvin, and Greg Bryan as Policeman.
The creative team will include scenic design by John Iacovelli, costume design by Emilio Sosa, lighting design by Elizabeth Harper, and sound design by Dan Moses Schreier.
Tickets for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom are available online here or by calling (213) 628-2772. Tickets range from $25 – $85 (ticket prices are subject to change). The Mark Taper Forum is located at the Music Center, 135 N. Grand Avenue in Downtown L.A. 90012.
If you are in LA, do not miss this amazing production, also please let Broadway be the next destination we could use more color.
Here’s a little taste of how Lillias snatches wigs!
We Were There: Leslie Odom Jr. Begins His Residency at the McKittrick Hotel
It was small. It was intimate. It was smoky. It was the epitome of Jazz.
Leslie Odom Jr. kicked off his New York Residency at the McKittrick Hotel in Chelsea last night and what a night it was. Shall I give you the play by play? Yes, I will. Read along for all the fun.
10:30 PM – The tickets said doors open at 11, so we figured if we get there a little early we can have good seats. We were right. We were behind about 20 other people all waiting to be in “The Room Where It Happens.”
10:50 ish – Leslie, with his gorgeous wife Nicolette Robinson makes their way into the venue and they walk right by us in line. My best friend almost fainted.
11:00 PM– Doors open. They let us in, we tell them our name and we are led through the darkest, most fun maze to get to the venue. It was like a game, but I didn’t come to play- I came to hear good music!
11:20 PM– My best friend and I see someone with dreads, I think to myself that can’t be Ledisi can it? IT WAS LEDISI. More about that later. Then a few more people made their way into the reserved section Billy Porter and Spike Lee, to name a few.
11:30 ish – The band comes out and warms up a little bit, shortly after Leslie makes his way to the stage dressed to the nines, there’s some applause then he wastes no time getting into the first song, “Autumn Leaves.”
11:30 PM-12:45 AM Leslie sings song from his self-titled album including; “Look For The Silver Lining”, “Joey Joey Joey”, “Cheer Up Charlie”, the most beautiful rendition of Bessie Smith’s “Nobody Knows You” and a jazzed up arrangement of Spring Awakening’s “The Guilty Ones”. His voice was as smooth as ever as he crooned and swayed the night away. The small setting added to the overall intimate feel of the concert, sometimes you felt like he was singing right at you. Between songs he offered a few anecdotes and provided context. Other than that he let his singing do the talking. The best part- halfway through the concert he told the audience he had a special guest. This special guest was none other than LEDISI. You heard me correctly! First, she sang the most beautiful arrangement of “Bewitched, Bothered & Bewildered” from Pal Joey. And yes, scatting was included! Then she and Leslie did the unthinkable, THEY DID A DUET OF LEDISI’S “ALRIGHT”. Let me tell you, thats one of my favorite Ledisi songs, so to hear her and Leslie sing together was the epitome of “melodies from heaven.” He also couldn’t end the night without singing Hamilton, so he did a lovely rendition of “The Room Where It Happens”. He ended the night with the beautiful “The Party’s Over”, and just when you thought he was done he sent us on our way with a beautiful prayer.
Safe to say, Leslie Odom Jr. is making a name for himself in the music world and we can’t wait to be there for the ride. This is the first of his three Thursday night residencies at the McKittrick Hotel. All shows are, sadly, already sold out. But fear not! Let these videos hold you over, and keep checking his Twitter for when he announces more concert dates. This is a show you DON’T want to miss.
— Broadway Black (@BroadwayBlack) July 15, 2016
— Broadway Black (@BroadwayBlack) July 15, 2016
EXCLUSIVE: Broadway Black Behind The Scenes Dreamgirls 35th Anniversary Concert
It’s been 35 years since The Dreamette’s “moved” their way into our hearts, and if you had the childhood I had, your home stereos. Which is why Broadway Black was more than thrilled to learn about the Dreamgirls 35th anniversary concert that would reunite its original stars Sheryl Lee Ralph, Loretta Devine, and Jennifer Holliday. I mean thrilled, to the point I was trying to figure out how to not pay bills thrilled. On July 10th, the ladies performed at their one night only (Ha!), sold-out show in Hollywood, and they were even joined by some of our other favorite performers Frenchie Davis and Mary Wilson!
A night that was sure to be one for the books, it’s a shame that everyone in the world wasn’t able to witness it. However, this is Broadway Black and in true Broadway Black fashion our readers should know by now, WE GOT YOU. Check out an EXCLUSIVE behind the scenes look of the Dreamgirls 35th Anniversary Concert below, brought to you ONLY by Broadway Black.
If you still can’t get enough of Dreamgirls, remember it’s coming to London this fall (and hopefully Broadway after that!).