Three hours before showtime, Lin-Manuel Miranda — the “Hamilton” creator who wrote the music, book and lyrics for the hit musical — burst out of the front doors of the Richard Rodgers Theater with a bullhorn and was met with the shrieks and applause of a crowd gathered on West 46th Street.
He was there to lead a group of Broadway performers in a rendition of “Theme From ‘New York, New York,’” the anthem popularized by Frank Sinatra, creating a sort of mood-setting overture for the night ahead.
“Get a mask, get vaccinated and come see live theater!” said Miranda, who also played Alexander Hamilton in the original Broadway cast.
The appearance was not publicized until about 4 p.m., when Miranda tweeted a photo from inside the theater and announced a so-called Ham4Ham, which, before the pandemic, was a performance by “Hamilton” cast members outside the theater that accompanied a lottery for tickets to see the show. (There would be no free tickets today, Miranda said.)
Passers-by and Broadway superfans rushed to the scene as soon as they saw the social media announcement.
Eva Ferreira, a 10-year-old “Hamilton” fan who has memorized nearly every word of the musical, watched with her parents, who had taken her to New York City for her birthday.
Four teenagers — all aspiring Broadway performers who had spent the day in class at Steps Conservatory — sprinted to the theater from the subway after they saw Miranda’s tweet. They stood in the crowd in awe of the group of performers — the kind that they hoped to be one day.
Jessica Payne and her husband ran down from their hotel room to catch Miranda and the other performers. Their spring 2020 trip was canceled because of the pandemic, so they had flown in from Colorado recently to see eight Broadway shows in six days after “a year and a half of heartbreak” while the industry was on pause.
“We both cried when the plane landed,” Jessica Payne said, listing the shows the couple was planning to see (“Wicked” is on the schedule tonight). “We’re so happy to be here.”