Alexander Hamilton, show opener title for the hit Broadway musical Hamilton, went viral after the cast performed at Monday night’s 2016 Grammy Awards.
Broadway World broke the news on February 3 that the cast of Hamilton would perform live via satellite for this year’s Grammy Awards. The Hamilton performance was only the fourth time the Grammy ceremony has featured a live performance via satellite, and the very first time the Grammy Awards has aired a live performance from a Broadway theater.
The 2016 Grammy Awards were held on February 15 in downtown Los Angeles at the Staples Center sports arena, a multi-purpose complex that can seat up to 20,000 people. But the cast of Hamilton actually performed for the Grammy Awards from the Richard Rodgers Theatre in New York City.
Hamilton, a Broadway musical performance inspired by a 2004 historical biography of the U.S. Founding Father and face of the $10 bill, Alexander Hamilton, made its debut one year ago in February, 2015, at The Public Theater in New York City, but then transferred to Richard Rodgers, a Broadway theater, six months later in August, 2015.
American musical composer and actor Lin-Manuel Miranda, 36, created Hamilton with at least eleven original cast members after picking up and reading a biography of Alexander Hamilton by American author Ron Chernow, who is best known for writing biographies based on political and financial historical figures.
Lin-Manuel Miranda began working in his spare time on Hamilton as The Hamilton Mixtape while he also worked on In the Heights, another hit Lin-Manuel Miranda musical that debuted on Broadway in 2008. The first song for Hamilton was performed at the White House in 2009, and would later become the opening number for Hamilton, titled “Alexander Hamilton.”
Hamilton cast members performed this opening number Monday night for the Grammy Awards ceremony. After the performance, Alexander Hamilton immediately started trending online. In fact, according to Entertainment Weekly, searches for Alexander Hamilton spiked after the Hamilton soundtrack won the Grammy for Best Musical Theater Album.
People reportedly hit Google to search for and watch the 58th Annual Grammy Awards performance of Hamilton that first aired on CBS and to find out who Alexander Hamilton even was. According to Google Trends on Twitter, interest in the search term “Who is Alexander Hamilton?” spiked four times thanks to the 2016 Grammy Awards.
Miranda, who plays the title role Alexander Hamilton, accepted Monday night’s Grammy Award with a rap.
“We write music, we write songs to tell the story,” said Miranda during a 40-second acceptance speech.
Known for writing and performing rap, Lin-Manuel Miranda has won several awards for lyrics, music, and performance, including a Tony Award in 2008 for Best Original Score for In the Heights. The Hamilton Mixtape is completely rap, and according to Miranda, was supposed to be a hip-hop concept album based on the life of former Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton.
Instead, Hamilton became the second hit Broadway hip-hop musical for Miranda that sells out nightly. Stephen Colbert, host of the CBS talk show The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, introduced the opening number, “Alexander Hamilton,” and joked that he wasn’t sure he would even be able to score a ticket for the Grammy Awards Hamilton performance.
Slate reports that the Hamilton mini-performance was a little bumpy at first, but the tempo picked up later on, especially when lead star Lin-Manuel Miranda stepped out on stage.
Miranda and Hamilton cast members say they are honored to be part of such a special night.
“To perform from our home at the Richard Rodgers Theatre is a dream come true.”
“We’re going to do the opening number, scream with joy, and then celebrate the fact that we were just on the Grammys,” said Miranda prior to Monday’s performance of “Alexander Hamilton.”
[Image via Getty Images/Theo Wargo]