In the opening number of the Broadway smash Hamilton, the young hero and future U.S. founding father sings about his potential: "Just you wait, just you wait."
Well, Canadians may not have to wait that much longer to see Lin-Manuel Miranda's history-(re)making hip-hop musical about Alexander Hamilton – which is heading into Sunday's Tony Awards with a record 16 nominations.
The Globe and Mail has learned that Toronto producer David Mirvish – a fan of the show, like countless others – is in discussions with New York producer Jeffrey Seller to bring the musical to Toronto. On the table: a sit-down production with a Canadian cast that, if demand for the show holds at its current, unprecedented levels, has the potential to bring long, multiyear runs of musicals back to the city.
"There hasn't been a show like Hamilton – and there may not be again," John Karastamatis, director of communications for Mirvish Productions, said. "We need to bring it to Toronto, we need people here to see it, and we hope our negotiations are successful."
It helps that Mirvish and Seller have a long history of working together – dating back to the Canadian premiere of Rent in 1997.
But Hamilton is, indeed, a substantially bigger phenomenon than that previous Pulitzer Prize-winning musical – with each new block of tickets for the Broadway production disappearing as soon as it goes on sale, and scalpers getting upward of $2,000 (U.S.) a seat on the resale market.
A Toronto production, if negotiations are successful, would not be on the immediate horizon. Producers are focusing first on raising the curtain on a Chicago sit-down in September. An American touring production will kick off in San Francisco in March of next year – and there have been reports of productions in the works in London, continental Europe and Australia.
As one of the most multicultural cities in the world, where superstar Drake is the tip of an iceberg of hip-hop talent, however, Toronto would be a natural home for Hamilton with its diverse cast – and its stirring mantra, rapped by the lead character and the Marquis de Lafayette: "Immigrants! They get the job done."
"We all think the talent pool in Canada, not just Toronto, is stupendous … and we have a very diverse talent base," Karastamatis said of casting opportunities.
"Nothing is certain in show business – or any business, I believe," he cautioned. "But I can tell you that we're all over the moon – I don't know what expression to use to really express [Mirvish Productions's] enthusiasm for this show."