Producers of the Grammy Awards telecast typically leave Broadway production numbers to their brethren who stage the annual Tony Awards, but this year they are making an exception.
The opening number from the Grammy-nominated hip-hop musical "Hamilton" will be among nearly two dozen performance numbers slated for the Feb. 15 show this year, executive producer Ken Ehrlich told the Los Angeles Times.
"It's such a radically innovative show, because of the use of hip-hop music," Ehrlich says. "I was reading things about it before I ever saw it. Credible writers were saying this show has changed the face of Broadway musical theater. I know we've all read that before. I was somewhere in my 20s when I saw 'West Side Story,' which is my first memory of reading about a show that was said to change the face of Broadway.
"But when you see this show," Ehrlich says, "even though you have a few references to what Broadway musicals have been, you're basically wiping the slate clean and you're looking at something so totally different than what you've seen. And it's good different. ... We have opportunities to do a number from a Broadway show every year because there are always five nominated shows. For me, this one stood out a little more than others have."
Rather than being adapted to the Staples Center stage in Los Angeles, where the vast majority of this year's Grammy performance numbers will take place, the "Hamilton" sequence will emanate via remote from the Richard Rodgers Theatre on Broadway where it has been holding forth since August.
"I went to New York last year with the intent that we should do it here," Ehrlich says. "But when I saw the staging, and how fragile the lighting conditions are, how important the stage set itself is, I realized we probably would not have been able to copy it well here. The control they have over the lighting, the comfort factor of having a cast that's done it X number of times, those things made it easier for us to fit into their world than trying to have them fit into ours."
"Hamilton" is nominated in the musical theater album category along with "An American in Paris," "Fun Home," "The King and I" and "Something Rotten!"
"This show's real introduction to the television audience will be our show," he says. "I'm sure it will also be on the Tonys and they'll do a great number on their show. But ours is a music show, and aside from the staging and the brilliant choreography, the music in this show is unique, and it's special. I'm thrilled we're going to be putting it up first to millions of people."