UPDATE, 3:45 PM: The Public Theater announced this afternoon that Jonathan Groff has been cast as Brian d’Arcy James’ replacement as King George in Hamilton. Groff (HBO’s Looking, Fox’s Glee) joins the cast next Tuesday, March 3, at the Public Theater. The show moves to Broadway’s Richard Rodgers Theatre in July.
PREVIOUS, TUESDAY, 2:30PM with more information throughout. The hit rap-based musical Hamilton is moving from the Public Theater to Broadway this summer, the producers said today. Previews for the $12-million production will begin July 13 at the Richard Rodgers Theatre, with the official opening set for August 6 . The final performance in the sold-out run at the Public will be May 3. Main Stem tickets for the Broadway run go on sale March 8.
“Lin-Manuel Miranda is Shakespearean in his ambition and in his achievement,” Public Theater artistic director Oskar Eustis told a packed press conference in the theater’s lobby on Tuesday afternoon. In addition to the show’s cast and creative team, the crowd included author Ron Chernow, whose biography of America’s first Treasury Secretary inspired Miranda to write the musical, in which he also plays the title role.
There was little doubt that Hamilton would move to Broadway; the only question was how quickly. The variables included the availability of an appropriate theater, whether to open before the April cut-off date for Tony eligibility this season, and how much time Miranda and the rest of the creative team—chiefly director Thomas Kail, choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler and musical director Alex Lacamoire—needed to work on the show. Despite near unanimous raves, the 2 hour-40 minute sung-through musical was judged too long by several critics. “I never stop working on the show,” Miranda told Deadline after the announcement, though he added that trimming the length is not his top priority.
Speaking at the press conference, Miranda recalled that two years before he was born, on the day his parents were married, they attended Elizabeth Swados’ musical Runaways, another transfer from the Public (along with Hair, A Chorus Line, That Championship Season, Bring In Da Noise/Bring In Da Funk and others too numerous to mention). His parents later explained to the theater-struck boy that they wanted to support the work of artists from the Public. Since then, he said, he had hoped for a work to premiere at the East Village complex. Miranda’s Tony-winning musical In The Heights didn’t do that, but it ran at the Richard Rodgers, which is soon to be vacated by the musical If/Then.
For Broadway, Hamilton will be produced by Jeffery Seller, Sander Jacobs and Jill Furman, who underwrote the run at the Public, which will also be billed as producer. One key question left unaddressed in the announcement is who will replace Brian d’Arcy James, who earned great notices as King George but must leave the show after this weekend to co-star with Christian Borle in Something Rotten, another new musical, which happens to be produced by Seller’s frequent producing partner Kevin McCollum. D’Arcy James’ replacement has not been announced.