Grammys 2016: Hamilton behind the scenes
Reporting straight from The Room Where It Happened.
During Monday night’s broadcast of the 2016 Grammys, Hamilton fans got a chance to see the Broadway smash’s opening number, “Alexander Hamilton,” streamed live from New York City’s Richard Rodgers Theatre. Though that exhilarating performance was shared with viewers across the country, the live audience in New York — comprised largely of the cast’s family and friends, according to a theater employee — had a pretty different experience than what was captured on camera. Here, EW shares what you didn’t see from the room where it happened:
1. Stephen Colbert got revenge for Alexander Hamilton.
During the first rehearsal, Leslie Odom, Jr. (who plays Hamilton’s longtime rival, Aaron Burr) sang the first two lines of “Alexander Hamilton” before the cast was directed to hold and start again. As Odom walked offstage, host Stephen Colbert stalked behind him, holding his hand up as a gun. Revenge!
2. Colbert really wanted to know how the audience scored these tickets.
“Are you friends of friends, or were you really just ‘corralled’ off Broadway’?” he asked the folks in the front row.
3. Phillipa Soo (who plays Hamilton’s wife Eliza Schuyler) and Colbert goofed around onstage.
They took turns spreading their arms wide like presenters on a game show, then pushing in front of each other. Trust us, it was adorable.
4. The audience cheered — or giggled — every time there was a glimpse of Hamilton’s writer and star, Lin-Manuel Miranda.
He popped out when LL Cool J mentioned Hamilton at the beginning of the show (audio from the Grammys was broadcast into the theater), and zipped through the back of the stage a couple times throughout. Each time, the crowd went wild.
5. Okieriete Onaodowan (Hercules Mulligan/James Madison) jumped onstage to applaud a guy for filling in a front row seat.
When the announcer asked an audience member to sit in the empty seat (for the cameras, darling), a man from the middle of the theatre sprinted to the front. As the crowd burst into applause, Onaodowan jumped out from backstage to join in.
6. After Hamilton won the Grammy for Best Musical Theater Album, Lin thrust the trophy into the air and said, “Take pictures!”
And in the most obvious (but still perfect) joke of the night, he yelled, “You’re in the room where it happened, motherf—ers!” before handing the trophy to Anthony Ramos (John Laurens/Philip Hamilton) and saying, “Now take pictures of Anthony with it!”
7. An emotional Anthony Ramos gave his mother some love.
“Yo, ma! This is for you!” he yelled from the stage to where she beamed in the orchestra pit. “From Bushwick to Broadway!”
8. The real Eliza Schuyler Hamilton was in attendance — sort of.
In the song, “Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story,” Eliza sings about founding the first private orphanage in New York City. That organization, Graham Windham, still exists today, and its president (along with some students!) were in attendance. The Hamilton legacy lives on!