Even though Hamilton is one of the hottest tickets in the world, creator Lin-Manuel Miranda has tried his best to work around the exclusivity of limited space by performing stripped-down performances, known as Ham4Ham shows, outside of the Richard Rodgers Theatre ahead of Wednesday matinees. Since the show’s success has basically made this year’s Tonys the presumptive year of Hamilton, the ceremony adopted the Ham4Ham format with their own fun live performances outside the Beacon Theatre, both as a way to come in and out of commercial breaks, and to celebrate the Tony Awards’ 70th anniversary.
The first one featured an insane all-star lineup of this year’s nominated musical composers doing a rendition of “Tomorrow” from Annie. Bright Star‘s Steve Martin and Edie Brickell played banjo and guitar, Waitress‘ Sara Bareilles played keys and sang, School of Rock‘s Andrew Lloyd Webber played tambourine, and Miranda moderated, repeatedly emphasizing the fact that he had Webber playing tambourine.
On the next edition, the cast of Shuffle Along came out to do “Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ the Boat” from Guys and Dolls. After them, the cast of School of Rock (who had previously performed one of their own songs early on in the broadcast) came out for their turn. Star Alex Brightman teased they would be performing a song from the 1988 Tony Award winner for Best Musical. “Let’s see if you can guess what it is,” Brightman joked, before launching into Phantom of the Opera.
The cast of Broadway’s current Fiddler on the Roof revival was next up, doing “There’s No Business Like Show Business” from Annie Get Your Gun ahead of their own performance within the Beacon Theatre.
Next up was the cast of She Loves Me doing the title number from Cabaret, “one of our favorite winners of Best Musical,” as star Laura Benanti introduced it.
Later in the show, the cast of The Color Purple did a song from The Lion King, and Spring Awakening cast members put their print on Hair. The Hamilton cast did a song from Rent, that past blockbuster musical to which it has often been compared. “We love you, Jonathan,” Miranda said before they began.
To be continued…