PBS ‘Hamilton’ special to feature 15 minutes of the show
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NEW YORK — Time has nearly run out to see the original “Hamilton” cast on Broadway, but a PBS special this fall 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” months ago, but time has only increased its resonance. Since then, the show has won 11 Tonys, a Pulitzer Prize and a Grammy.
Miranda, who performs in the starring role, has also announced he’ll be leaving the show July 9. So will prominent cast members Leslie Odom Jr., who plays Aaron Burr, and Phillipa Soo, who portrays Eliza Schuyler.
All three, however, will be filmed and be part of the Oct. 21 PBS show, Beth Hoppe, PBS’ chief programming executive, said.
It will only be an abbreviated performance. Although PBS is filming the entire show, the network said it is contractually limited to showing only 15 minutes of it. It remained unclear Thursday whether producers would try to push that limit. PBS said it had no plans to use the entire performance.
The show also contains backstage footage taken during the two years leading up to the Broadway premiere of “Hamilton.”
PBS aired the program “In the Heights: Chasing Broadway Dreams,” about Miranda’s previous 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’s 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. “We have arts week in and week out.”