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Watch Lin-Manuel Miranda, Josh Groban, cast of 'Hamilton' celebrate 'Sweeney Todd'

Josh Groban and the combined casts of <em>Hamilton</em> and <em>Sweeney Todd</em>.
Jennifer Vanasco
/
NPR
Josh Groban and the combined casts of Hamilton and Sweeney Todd.

Updated May 8, 2023 at 7:05 PM ET

Some fans had been waiting for four hours. But by a few minutes to showtime, hundreds pressed against metal barriers as the casts of Sweeney Todd - which opened in late March - and the Broadway hit Hamilton flooded out onto a narrow stretch of sidewalk in front of the Richard Rodgers Theatre.

"We wanted to send an enormous congratulations to the Tony-nominated Sweeney Todd across the street . . . directed by the great Tommy Kail... And we thought, how can we celebrate, how can we celebrate, how can we celebrate?" said writer and actor Lin-Manuel Miranda, introducing the performance. "And we thought, let's do the Avengers/Endgame of Hamilton and Sweeney Todd mashups."

Lin-Manuel Miranda introduced the parody song, which he wrote based on lyrics from Stephen Sondheim.
Jennifer Vanasco / NPR
/
NPR
Lin-Manuel Miranda introduced the parody song, which he wrote based on lyrics from Stephen Sondheim.

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, written by Stephen Sondheim, is about an English barber who's also a serial killer. It received eight Tony nominations this week, including Best Revival of a Musical.

Why is Hamilton celebrating its Broadway neighbor? Because Thomas Kail, the director, is a close friend of Miranda and the director of Hamilton.

Friday's performance, quick and funny, was a parody penned by Miranda and Sondheim about Sweeney Todd but set (mostly) to the first song from Hamilton. Josh Groban and Annaleigh Ashford were just some of the high-energy actors singing. Starts below at 3:17.

If that was...a little hard to hear, you can watch the original version, written for the 2017 Broadway Cares Easter Bonnet Competition.

Friday's free performance is part of the series Ham4Ham, which started as a daily performance in July 2015 to promote Hamilton's lottery. The first one starred Miranda and Hamilton music director Alex Lacamoire:

Ham4Ham tapered off toward the end of 2016 and now the performances happen only occasionally. But most are available online; one of the most popular is this one, where Jonathan Groff and Miranda rap together.

Want to see a Ham4Ham for yourself? The next one will likely not be for a while, but Miranda usually announces them a day or so in advance on his Twitter.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Jennifer Vanasco
Jennifer Vanasco is an editor on the NPR Culture Desk, where she also reports on theater, visual arts, cultural institutions, the intersection of tech/culture and the economics of the arts.