Weird Al Yankovic stopped by Hamilton last night, and the Internet was charmed by the appearance of another wild haired virtuoso. At this point, it’s pretty clear that anyone out there who hasn’t heard of the smash success Broadway musical has probably been living under a rock for the last few months. But it’s fair to say that even people who are aware of the show may not know about the finer points of the fandom and hysteria that has grown up around it. One slightly lesser known feature of the show is the daily live performance that members and friends of the cast share with the audience. This is one such treat. Take a minute and watch it above.
The #Ham4Ham tradition is a new addition to the show’s epic online presence and mastery of social media. Up until the weather took a turn for winter here in New York City, you could only find fan videos of it online because star Lin-Manuel Miranda and whomever he could round up performed the mashup number on the steps of the Richard Roger Theater here in New York for the hundreds of fans who would show up in all kinds of weather to try their luck for lottery tickets. The lottery sells 21 $10 tickets for each performance (mostly) every day. The lottery has since moved online for safety reasons and with that move, #Ham4Ham also went online. This was partly because the digital lottery keeps hundreds of people from needing to line up outside the theater and partly to preserve the voices and health of the actors who throw in to have a good time with Manuel and the roaring crowd each day.
Weird Al and his family joined Miranda and the uber-talented Renee Elise Goldsberry (Angelica) in the dressing rooms of the theater for this fun rendition of the “Right-Hand Man,” featuring Yankovic and his accordion. If you want to see some other incredible pop-up guests at #Ham4Ham all you have to do is peruse the Hamilton YouTube page where Miranda and friends have collected exclusive online performances and an assortment of fan videos that captured the live outdoor performance.
Just to get you started, here are two of my absolute favorites:
Les Misérables’ Kyle Jean-Baptiste stepped up to perform opposite Miranda (much to his glee) this past August, only weeks before his accidental and tragic death at 21. Jean-Baptiste was the youngest actor to portray Jean Valjean on Broadway and the show’s very first African-American in the role. He died at the end of August after he fell from a fire escape in New York.
Part of the fun of the new digital versions of #Ham4Ham is that Miranda is able to coerce amazing people to join him for a song. Just weeks ago, he mashed up “Say No To This” from Hamilton with Billie Holiday, portrayed by the legendary Audra McDonald, and released the gem above.
I hope these #Ham4Ham bits and pieces inspire you to go traipsing through the Hamilton YouTube page if only to find all the random and incredible performers who have joined the cast for these bits of entertainment. It’s looking like the Valentine’s Day special is going to be a doozy too:
Tell us which ones you like the most in the comments below!