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‘Hamilton’ does not throw away its shot at the 2021 Emmys

A man, left, and a woman onstage in period clothing
We won? We won! We won, we won! Lin-Manuel Miranda (left) and Phillipa Soo (right) portray Alexander and Eliza Hamilton in “Hamilton” on the streaming service Disney+.
(Disney+)

The Television Academy couldn’t say no to the Disney+ presentation of Lin-Manuel Miranda‘s everything-winning Broadway musical “Hamilton,” which nabbed the award for outstanding variety special (pre-recorded), a category that has gone by a host of different names since its 1959 inception.

“This award represents the synergy between the mediums of television and theater,” said nominated “Hamilton” actor Renée Elise Goldsberry onstage with the project’s cast and creative team. “What a gift we can be to each other. What a gift you gave us last year when we were dark and dispersed. Television became the platform for us to come together to put on a show.”

Nominated this year for Emmys as both variety programming and limited or anthology series or movie, it also won the Creative Arts Emmy for outstanding technical direction, camerawork, video control for a special. For those scoring at home, that gives “Hamilton” eight Drama Desks, 10 Lucille Lortels, 11 Tonys, seven Oliviers, a Pulitzer, a Grammy, a MacArthur “genius” grant for Miranda and now two Emmys.

Find out the winners of this year’s Emmys right here. We’ll be updating the list live throughout the show.

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The Emmy world was wide enough for six acting nominations for the production. Six of the seven performers nominated for Tonys were also nominated for Emmys (in categories for acting in a limited or anthology series or movie). A seventh, Anthony Ramos (as John Laurens and Philip Hamilton), was nominated for an Emmy instead of Tony nominee Christopher Jackson (George Washington).

It’s not unprecedented for Broadway shows to end up in the running for outstanding variety special (pre-recorded); it happened as recently as 2019 with “Springsteen on Broadway.” However, the category is usually the province of standup performances and concerts, plus three recent wins by variations of “Carpool Karaoke” and a host of triumphs for “Kennedy Center Honors.” For a current Broadway musical to be nominated, much less win, is unprecedented.

Our TV experts are breaking down the best speeches, biggest upsets and other top stories of Sunday’s Emmy Awards live.

The last time a Broadway musical was nominated was in 1973, for the 1972 television adaptation of “Once Upon a Mattress,” but that version was some 13 years after the show’s stage bow. A television adaptation of “Brigadoon” was nominated and won in 1967, 20 years after the show’s original Broadway run. A 1997 version of the television musical “Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella” (which later played on stages, including on Broadway) starring Brandy and Whitney Houston was also nominated.

No contemporaneous musical had won until “Hamilton.”


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