JTA – Raise a glass! The 2016 Tony Award nominations were announced this morning, and the the revolutionary Broadway megahit “Hamilton” collected the lion’s share, with a record-breaking total of 16.
Creator and star Lin-Manuel Miranda himself received three nods, for best original score, best book and best lead actor.
This makes it official: Whether we’re talking about the 18th or the 21st, “Hamilton” is the show of the century — which is about how long you’ll have to wait to get tickets.
In the meantime, while you suffer through the interminable wait, we’ve got you covered: You can watch what’s probably the greatest wedding toast in the history of wedding toasts.
At his 2010 nuptials, Miranda called on the entire wedding party to serenade his “beshert,” Vanessa Nadal, with a surprise performance of “To Life! (L’Chaim!),” the iconic showstopper from “Fiddler on the Roof” — which, incidentally, was also nominated for three Tony Awards today, including one for best musical revival.
Sweet and spot-on, it’s no shocker that Miranda’s song-and-dance performance was on par with an actual stage number. Several Broadway vets took part, including music direction by “Hamilton” collaborator Alex Lacamoire (now up for best orchestration). Apparently, Miranda arranged and rehearsed the whole thing secretly in a matter of days.
“Fiddler,” of course, is one of Miranda’s favorite shows — he appeared in his school’s sixth-grade production and identified it as one of the biggest influences for his 2008 Tony-winning musical, “In the Heights.” Not long ago, he plucked the three actresses who play Tzeitel, Hodel and Chava from the current Broadway revival for a special rap-enhanced rendition of “Matchmaker” at Ham4Ham, the free sidewalk performances Miranda coordinates for the crowds lined up for “Hamilton” ticket lotteries.
That Miranda hits the hard “chet” in “l’chaim” just right may be because in elementary school, as he told The New Yorker, “all my friends were Jewish,” and he was also no stranger to singing and dancing at over-the-top Jewish events. As he told The New York Times Vows column, he met his wife — an MIT-trained scientist who is also an attorney — before his first Broadway bonanza, and he was paying the rent by performing at bar mitzvahs.
“‘I was literally one of those guys who shows up in a black satin shirt and tries to get kids and old people to dance,” he said. ‘It was bleak.’”
The future, of course, is bright, and the toasts to “Hamilton” and Miranda — a MacArthur Fellow and winner of last month’s Pulitzer Prize for Drama—are only just beginning.
Yet it’s possible that no performance will top the one he orchestrated at his own wedding.
“That’s what will be my real legacy,” Miranda told Mo Rocca last year on CBS Sunday Morning. “It’s one of the things I’m proudest of in my life.”