Disney+ brings a Broadway smash to streaming with the Tony-winning ‘Hamilton’

‘Hamilton’ – Disney+ streams Broadway hit

Lesley Ann Warren and Stuart Damon star in a 1965 production of “Cinderella.”

American television has a proud tradition of bringing award-winning stage productions to the small screen.

Be it a one-off special on a network or long-running PBS series such as “Great Performances” or “Masterpiece Theatre,” anyone who doesn’t live near New York who has wanted to take in a Broadway show has been able to do so without leaving the comfort of their living room.

The latest comes this month with the arrival of “Hamilton.” Premiering Friday, July 3, on Disney+, the Tony-winning play from director Thomas Kail offers a rap-infused look at Alexander Hamilton’s life and formative role in American history. Starring Lin-Manuel Miranda (who also wrote the musical) in the title role, this production is made up largely of filmed performances featuring the original Broadway cast, shot at the Richard Rodgers Theater in June 2016.

“Hamilton” begins streaming Friday on Disney+.

It joins a laundry list of stage productions that have introduced TV viewers to what Broadway is all about, including the following.

“Peter Pan” (March 7, 1955; NBC): The original 1954 Broadway play came to television a year later with the same cast, including Mary Martin as the boy who refused to grow up. Martin and co-star Cyril Ritchard (as Captain Hook) took home Tony Awards for their performances. A 2000 production with Cathy Rigby in the starring role also drew rave reviews.
“Cinderella” (Feb. 22, 1965; CBS): An 18-year-old Lesley Ann Warren’s career got a major lift with her starring role in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s iconic musical about a mistreated peasant who finds her prince, though she admitted later to nerves playing opposite decorated screen legends Celeste Holm and Walter Pidgeon. And that’s future “General Hospital” mainstay Stuart Damon as the prince.
“Death of a Salesman” (May 8, 1966; CBS): Arthur Miller’s Tony-winning play about an aging travelling salesman on the verge of a nervous breakdown starred Lee J. Cobb in the iconic role of Willy Loman, in a cast that also included Stanley Adams, Edward Andrews and Albert Dekker. Sharp-eyed viewers will also notice George Segal and Bernie Kopell (“The Love Boat”) in bit parts.
“Kiss Me, Kate” (March 25, 1968, ABC): Cole Porter’s musical about behind-the-scenes conflict during a stage production of Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew” featured then-spouses Robert Goulet and Carol Lawrence in the roles of contentious exes Fred and Lilli.
“Oklahoma!” (Nov. 15, 2013, PBS): Fifteen years after it was filmed for the BBC, this 1998 National Theatre of London production came to “Great Performances” with a game Hugh Jackman in the starring role of Cowboy Curly, who tries to win the heart of headstrong Laurey (Josefina Gabrielle) in a singing and dancing extravaganza.
“Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert” (April 1, 2018, NBC): Generally positive reviews but disappointing ratings greeted this lavish stage concert production of the 1970 rock opera, featuring John Legend in the title role and a cast including Sara Bareilles, Brandon Victor Dixon, Ben Daniels and legendary rocker Alice Cooper.

George Dickie

George Dickie

George Dickie has been a features writer for Gracenote/Tribune Media Services since 1989, when “Hee-Haw” was still on the air and George “Goober” Lindsay was his first interview. His early interviews ranged from Jim Henson and Dick Van Dyke to Phil Collins and the Dixie Chicks.

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