The creative team behind Broadway’s hit musical, Hamilton, were awarded at the 2018 Kennedy Center Honors for their contribution to the arts. Their honor is unique, created especially for their groundbreaking work. Although the 41st annual ceremony took place at the Kennedy Center on December 2, CBS will be airing the event broadcast tonight at 8pm ET.
On behalf of Hamilton, the honor was given to writer and original “Alexander Hamilton” Lin-Manuel Miranda, director Thomas Kail, music director Alex Lacamoire, and choreographer Andy Blankenbeuhler. The show and this team have already won Tony, Grammy, and Pulitzer-Prize awards for Hamilton. Also included amongst the 2018 Honorees are Cher, Philip Glass, Reba McEntire, and Wayne Shorter. Of the honorees, Kennedy Center President Deborah F. Rutter said “The world looks to America for its creative instincts and artistic courage. This year’s slate of Honorees represents the pinnacle of our nation’s originality and the rich mosaic of diverse perspectives and art forms that has come to define who we are as a people.”
The Hamilton honor is a first for the Kennedy Center Honors; their award was the first time an “event” was honored, rather than an individual. Kennedy-Center.org says the men “received a unique Kennedy Center Honors as trailblazing creators of a transformative work that defies category.” According to Gold Derby, Anthony Ramos delivered the opening remarks.
Among the evening’s performances, Hamilton‘s original Schuyler sisters, Tony nominee Philippa Soo, Tony winner Renée Elise Goldsberry, and Jasmine Cephas Jones, sang “The Schuyler Sisters.” Gold Derby reports that Christopher Jackson and Lin-Manuel Miranda performed “One Last Time,” with the help of the Voices of America Youth Choir. In a preview clip shared to YouTube by The Kennedy Center, Miranda, Kail, Lacamoire, and Blankenbeuhler are seen enjoying the performance of “The Schuyler Sisters” from their seats, bobbing along as their colleagues perform the song together for the first time since their departure from the musical’s original Broadway cast.
In another clip shared by The Kennedy Center, the original “Schuyler Sisters” are interviewed about the beloved show and their Kennedy Center performance. In the clip, Goldsberry remarks that “The amazing thing about Hamilton is the timelessness of it. The fact that it was as important then as it is now. And my favorite thing ever about doing this performance tonight, other than being with you guys and doing it for Tommy and Lin and Lac and Andy is how awesome this audience was. Because this is an audience of the movers and shakers and they represent every genre, and they were jamming with us out there and that was something we didn’t expect.”
Quiara Alegría Hudes, who wrote the book for In the Heights, commented on the significance of Hamilton and her memories from the musical’s developmental stages and its team’s creative process:
“I first heard the music that would become Hamilton in a yellow medallion cab. Lin plunked headphones over my ears, and a rough demo blasted. His eyes stayed on me the entire three minutes, with an excited look that seemed to say: “Does this work? Is this nuts? I kinda think this may work!” By the time President Barack Obama gave Lin and Alex an ebullient standing ovation at the White House, that solo demo had become a fledgling collaboration. This nation has, since its founding, walked two paths: the idea of America and the reality of America. Those paths have often been divergent, with blessed moments of overlap. Hamilton is an overlap moment. May we, as a nation, learn from its collaborative model.”
Watch Hamilton be honored at the 2018 Kennedy Center Honors tonight on CBS at 8pm ET.