What Will Happen To #Ham4Ham If Lin-Manuel Miranda Leaves 'Hamilton'? The Preshow Must Go On
Rain or shine, it doesn't matter — 46th Street is packed with Hamilton fans before each performance no matter what the weather. While the lottery for tickets to Broadway's breakout show draws a huge crowd, Wednesdays and Saturdays are particularly packed since Lin-Manuel Miranda hosts #Ham4Ham, a free street show for the crowds waiting to see if they have won tickets to Hamilton. The creator and star of Hamilton, who is nominated for three Tonys, typically emerges from the stage door about two hours before the evening shows on those days. After addressing the crowd, he knocks on the door and everyone in attendance on the streets outside of Hamilton knows they are in for a musical theater treat unlike any other.
While there has been no official word from the creator of Hamilton himself, The Hollywood Reporter reported that Miranda might be leaving Hamilton as soon as July 9. Besides people being utterly devastated that they may not get to see the man who created Hamilton play Alexander Hamilton after this summer, what will happen to the #Ham4Ham experience if Miranda leaves? Perhaps a better question is, how much joy can the public conceivably expect Miranda to continually give to his fans? Because even though Ham4Ham only lasts for about three to five minutes outside of the Richard Rodgers Theatre, Miranda has continued to make Broadway accessible through these performances. Just check out this one below with Miranda singing "A Whole New World" from Aladdin with Broadway superstar and original singing voice of Jasmine, Lea Salonga.
Or this Star Wars-themed one for #MayTheFourthBeWithYou that featured The Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams and Miranda's song that he wrote for the new film.
Well, just because Miranda may be leaving Hamilton — and you gotta admit it's going to happen at some point with him keeping busy with the movies In the Heights, Mary Poppins Returns, and Moana — that doesn't mean Ham4Ham is done. Hamilton tickets are still nearly impossible to come by, so the lottery where you can get tickets for $10 (thus, the name Ham4Ham — a Hamilton for Hamilton) is essential. And though the special performances are just icing on the Hamilton cake, they are part of the perks of being a fan of the megahit musical.
Just like Miranda's departure from the show, there is no confirmation that Ham4Ham will continue, but considering that Miranda hasn't physically been at every Ham4Ham, the mini-performances should hopefully (fingers crossed) continue even after his potential departure. For example, check out this particularly memorable #Ham4Ham that cast member Renée Elise Goldsberry hosted when Miranda was sick.
Goldsberry switches up her usual Tony-nominated role of Angelica Schuyler to lip-sync Aaron Burr's part of "The Schuyler Sisters." And it definitely didn't hurt that she got some serious assistance from a dream crew of Hamilton kings. There was Jonathan Groff, who is also up for a Tony for his role of King George III even though he's left the show already. And Brian d'Arcy James, who had been performing next door in Something Rotten! and was King George in the off-Broadway run of Hamilton. And last, but certainly not least, Girls star Andrew Rannells, who also tried his hand at King George for a five-week run to fill in temporarily for Groff.
Besides having someone else fill his shoes of hosting Ham4Ham, Miranda could always stop by after he leaves the show or prerecord a digital Ham4Ham because, yep — they exist too. Of course, Miranda's helpful Twitter hints of what to expect from Ham4Ham will be gone if he's not in New York City participating, but his effervescent spirit will still be infused in each of the street performances that have become so beloved.
Ham4Ham nearly always has massive star power, which is in large part a testament to Miranda's own abilities, but I imagine Hamilton's unofficial preshow will continue to draw talented people as long as Hamilton is the biggest thing to hit Broadway. And since that won't change, especially when the musical expectedly wins the Tony for Best Musical on June 12, Miranda's #Ham4Ham legacy should stay intact — even if he's not there to oversee it anymore.