NEW YORK (AP) — Time has ran out to see the original “Hamilton” cast on Broadway, but a PBS special this October on the Tony Award-winning musical will feature at least 15 minutes of performance footage with creator Lin-Manuel Miranda and his team.
PBS announced its “Great Performances” series episode featuring “Hamilton” many months ago, but time has only increased its resonance. Since then, the show has won 11 Tonys, a Pulitzer Prize and a Grammy.
Tony winner Miranda, who wrote the show’s book, music and lyrics and also has the starring role, left the show on July 9th. Cast members Leslie Odom Jr., the Tony-winning actor who plays Aaron Burr, and Tony nominee Phillipa Soo, who portrays Eliza Schuyler have also left the show.
All three, however, will be part of the Oct. 21 show, said Beth Hoppe, PBS’s chief programming executive.
The documentary “Hamilton’s America” will feature an abbreviated performance. The network is contractually limited to showing only 15 minutes of performance clips that were filmed early in the Broadway run by Radical Media. It remains unclear whether producers will try to push that limit. There are no plans as yet to televise the entire show, on PBS or anywhere else.
The show also contains backstage footage taken during the two years leading up to the show’s Broadway premiere.
PBS aired the program “In the Heights: Chasing Broadway Dreams,” about Miranda’s previous Tony-winning show, in 2009.
“The reason we have this opportunity is because we were there then,” Hoppe said. “Everybody knows Lin’s name now, but they didn’t back when he did ‘In the Heights.’ That’s why I think he’s loyal to PBS and why he brought it to us.”
PBS hopes the booking can be an attention-getting show along the lines of “Downton Abbey” or its Ken Burns documentaries. The show will kick off a series of arts programs for the network this fall, including performances from Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and pianist Lang Lang. Claire Danes will host an eight-part series on how technology combined with artistry to create modern recorded music.
“It’s an opportunity for us to talk about our commitment to the arts and the fact that PBS is about the only outlet doing arts on television,” Hoppe said.