Bringing the Grammys to the Theatre

The Grammys are arguably the music industry’s most prestigious awards show and this year was no exception with some of the world’s biggest performing artists taking to the stage and taking home awards. Adele, Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga and . . . Hamilton?

Hamilton 3

There is one field in the Grammys awards list that is not like the others. Best Musical Theatre Album. In amongst, pop, rock and R&B, there is an award for the best album to come from Broadway. Yet while they have their own award, musicals have only ever performed on the Grammys stage ten times in its 58-year history. (To give you some perspective, Beyoncé has already won twice as many awards from the prestigious show!).

Why?

Well, let’s have a look at the shows which have achieved this milestone:

  • Godspell (1972)
  • The Magic Show (1975)
  • Evita (1981)
  • Sophisticated Ladies (1982)
  • La Cage Aux Folles (1984)
  • The Will Rogers Follies (1992)
  • Bring in ‘da Noise, Bring in ‘da Funk (1997)
  • Riverdance (1997)
  • American Idiot (2010)
  • Hamilton (2016)

There is a large cluster which gained performance spaces in the 70s and 80s. But since then it has waned a bit for the entertainment form. Why? Because it ultimately comes back to the audience. Musicals had a different place in society back in the 70s and 80s. A lot of their music transitioned into pop singles or was championed by famous actors and actresses. And of course the Grammys wants to put on a show which will resonate with their audience . . . largely traditional and mainstream music listeners.

This is, ironically, also one of Broadway’s easy target markets to create future audience members!

Look at the 2010 performance. American Idiot hit the stage with their soundtrack of Green Day hits. Songs which had been performed on that stage by the iconic band earlier in that decade. Easily recognisable and accessible to the mainstream music audience (and with great appeal to the potential future audience of Broadway shows)!

Hamilton being chosen for a Grammys feature represents another great step towards making the entertainment form more accessible. They are creating music which resonates with the general population, otherwise they wouldn’t have been offered the place. And that represents a healthy future for the musical industry. If they can keep creating works that could easily transition over into the Grammy Awards, then they are making works which can transition over into the Grammys audience. And that means more paying customers!

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