NBC Wants to Do a Live Version of 'Hamilton,' the Hit Broadway Musical
NBC said it wants to take the smash Broadway musical Hamilton to the small screen — not anytime soon, but certainly down the road, Entertainment Weekly reported Wednesday. The play, which is a hip-hop take on the popular 2005 Alexander Hamilton biography by Ron Chernow, was written by and also stars Tony Award winner Lin-Manuel Miranda.
Hamilton was an instant hit, raking in $30 million as of August (the show began in July), and drawing the attention of such high-profile people as President Barack Obama, the New York Times reported last year. Hamilton has captivated audiences with its unorthodox take on a usually stiff Founding Father, and a diverse cast, according to Billboard. Combined with NBC's recent discovery of how to benefit from airing live musicals (like The Wiz Live! which brought in over 11 million viewers) it's no surprise the network would consider a live version of Hamilton.
"Sure, we'd love to be able to film Hamilton in some capacity, but I think it will be years before they even look at a movie or any kind of film version of that show," NBC chairman Robert Greenblatt said Wednesday at the Television Critics Association's press tour, according to Entertainment Weekly. "It's a thrilling theatrical experience. I think it would be a thrilling movie or television experience." Greenblatt called it "unrealistic," adding that it could take up to a decade to see a live NBC rendition realized.
If any network is first in line, it'll probably be NBC. Greenblatt is already a personal investor with the play, according to Entertainment Weekly.
Live TV musicals are a growing trend. NBC released The Wiz Live! a reboot of the Tony-winning Broadway musical, in December. This year, NBC will be working on the 1960s-based musical Hairspray, according to the Hollywood Reporter. ABC won't be sitting still on the trend either — it's working on a musical remake of the 1987 cult film Dirty Dancing, starring Abigail Breslin.
Good thing Hamilton doesn't look like its going down anytime soon. The play's success was rooted largely in its moving narrative of the American dream, a narrative many viewers connect with. Miranda began writing the play in 2008, according to the Daily Beast. He's called Hamilton's life story a "hip-hop story," comparing the Founding Father to late rapper Tupac, according to the New York Times.
But the revolutionary comparison has been approved by the hip-hop industry itself. "Ten minutes into Hamilton, though, I was just so stunned," the hip-hop band the Roots wrote for the New York Times. "It was such a sucker punch."