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Marketplace

How "Hamilton" can benefit from its Grammy performance

Sally Herships Feb 15, 2016
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Cast of Hamilton perform at 'Hamilton' Broadway Opening Night at Richard Rodgers Theatre. It's a sold out smash in New York, but there are other ways the hit can benefit.
Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

The Grammys are Monday night. And unless you know someone special, like the pope, or the president, this may be your only chance — for now — to see a performance of “Hamilton.” The cast of the hit Broadway show will be performing live tonight in a telecast from New York. And performing live, in front of tens of millions of viewers is many performers’ dream. But while the cast are no doubt grateful for the privilege, Hamilton” doesn’t really need any more attention. 

“It’s great to have the publicity, but you don’t have the inventory,” Rick Elice said, a writer of plays and musicals, including the Grammy award winning Broadway show, “Jersey Boys.” “You can’t buy a ticket now,” he said. “If a million people want to go see Hamilton today, only 1,500 people can.” 

“The eight performance a week, it’s a union rule,” Gordon Cox said, theater editor at Variety. “That’s part of the issue they’re dealing with — trying to get in as many people as they can while not alienating the people who cannot get tickets.”

Popularity, whether it be the newest iPhone or a cronut, sells, but it can also frustrate. 

And the management behind “Hamilton” seem to know it. The production will be opening new runs in Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco. In the meantime, its live performance tonight should help it reach a whole new audience around the country. Bonus: this kind of publicity is free. 

“If you were to buy five minutes of national network time, it would be millions and millions of dollars,” Rick Elice said.

But Hamilton doesn’t have to pay — it’s been nominated for best musical theater album.

Of original cast album recordings, said Laurence Maslon, an arts professor at New York University and a musical theater historian, “it’s the gift that keeps on giving.”

For a Broadway show, noted Maslon, an album can be like a long term investment.

And Hamilton’s cast recording has already set records on the charts. 

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