From late-night performances to viral covers and popular #Ham4Ham shows, Playbill.com gathers the most impactful and talked-about videos of 2016. In chronological order, watch (or re-watch) our picks for the 21 top theatrical videos of the year.
The Ladies of Hamilton #Ham4Ham, January 3
The big hit of 2016 was, without a doubt, Hamilton—and for those unable to see it, creator and star Lin-Manuel Miranda invented digital pre-shows called #Ham4Ham, in which special guests perform outside the Richard Rodgers Theatre before drawing lottery winners. The most-viewed #Ham4Ham this year was put on by the show’s female performers for an epic performance at the beginning of this year. Miranda watched from the back as the females from Hamilton threw down outside the theatre.
Disney on Broadway Sing-Off, January 8
The casts of Disney’s Aladdin and The Lion King went head-to-head in a televised sing-off on Good Morning America, in which they covered songs from each other’s scores. The two shows previously engaged in an impromptu battle at the airport after their flights were delayed by six hours. Watch that 2015 video here.
“You Matter to Me” Cover, January 18
Waitress covers were all the rage this year. In this popular version of “You Matter to Me,” performed by Wicked’s Jessica Vosk and Mamma Mia!’s Zak Resnick, Melanie Moore and Brandt Martinez add interpretive dance; the quartet is accompanied by Mairi Dorman-Phaneuf on cello and Benjamin Rauhala on piano.
Digital #Ham4Ham With Jimmy Fallon, January 20
On the pre-recorded side of #Ham4Ham, Miranda welcomed Jimmy Fallon to sing “You’ll Be Back” in vocal styles called out by Miranda. Not only did Fallon kill it on YouTube, but his official performance will live on forever as part of the Hamilton Mixtape.
Aaron Tveit and Gavin Creel, “Take Me or Leave Me,” April 8
There were tons of gender-bending covers at the annual MCC Theater Miscast gala, in which performers sing songs they’d never get to do in an actual production (with traditional casting, at least). Aaron Tveit and Gavin Creel joined forces for a belty, brassy performance of “Take Me or Leave Me” from Rent.
The Color Purple’s Tribute to Prince, April 21
Following the death of music legend Prince in April, Jennifer Hudson (then starring in the Tony-winning revival at the Bernard B. Jacobs) led the cast in a musical tribute during curtain call.
#OutOfOz’s “For Good,” May 6
Original Wicked stars Kristin Chenoweth and Idina Menzel reunited for a special, stripped-down performance of “For Good”—over a decade later from when they originated the roles of Glinda and Elphaba in the hit musical at Broadway’s Gershwin.
Cynthia Erivo, “I’m Here,” May 24
Aside from Miranda, the other most-talked about Broadway star in 2016 was Cynthia Erivo. She brought down the house on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert in May, her first performance of “I’m Here” on national television. The performance was so epic that a version, with cutaways to Oprah’s reactions from a former Kennedy Center Honors, was created soon thereafter. (It’s the only high-quality version of Erivo’s Colbert performance that still remains on YouTube!)
Dear Evan Hansen Obie Awards Performance, June 1
This awards season, after Ben Platt won the Obie Award May 23 for his performance as the anxiety-stricken title character in Off-Broadway’s Dear Evan Hansen, he was welcomed back to the stage to perform the show’s “Waving Through a Window,” accompanied by writer Justin Paul on piano.
Broadway Carpool Karaoke, June 6
After the Obies and prior to the Tony Awards, late-night and Tony host James Corden took Broadway stars Lin-Manuel Miranda, Audra McDonald, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, and Jane Krakowski around the city in his car for the popular carpool karaoke. The gang performed songs from Hamilton, Rent, Jersey Boys, and more.
Hamilton’s “Wait For It” in 360°, June 9
Tony Award-winning Hamilton star Leslie Odom, Jr. and the cast of Hamilton performed an a cappella version of “Wait For It” onstage at the Richard Rodgers Theatre—but the best part is that it is presented in 360°! Viewers can move their video screen to see the performance from every angle.
Waitress Tony Awards Performance, June 12
At the awards, Sara Bareilles opened Waitress’ performance, accompanying herself on piano, before passing the baton to Jessie Mueller, who earned a Tony nomination for playing Jenna. They delivered a heart-wrenching “She Used to Be Mine.”
“Broadway For Orlando,” June 18
Following the tragic events that transpired at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, FL, the same day as the 70th Annual Tony Awards, the Broadway community banded together for a moving tribute. Bareilles, Miranda, Carole King, Nathan Lane, Audra McDonald, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Sarah Jessica Parker, and dozens more gathered June 15 at Avatar Studios to sing a benefit single of “What the World Needs Now is Love.” One-hundred percent of the proceeds from downloads benefitted the LGBT Center of Central Florida. Watch the exclusive Playbill video below, but add to your YouTube playlist here.
Democratic National Convention, “Fight Song,” July 26
An a cappella version of “Fight Song,” inspired by the Pitch Perfect films and produced by Elizabeth Banks, Bruce Cohen, and Mike Thompkins, featured stage and screen actors singing their support for Hillary Clinton to the Rachel Platten tune. The video features appearances from Hairspray Live!’s Garrett Clayton, Kristin Chenoweth, as well as Ben Platt, Billy Porter, Idina Menzel, and many more.
“What the World Needs Now” at the DNC, July 27
Broadway stars also performed “What the World Needs Now” at the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Washington, D.C.
Cynthia Erivo, “I Can Do Better Than That,” September 5
The Last Five Years concert, starring Erivo and Joshua Henry, was one of the most anticipated events of the year. Prior to the concert at Town Hall in September, she performed a preview of “I Can Do Better Than That” this summer at Elsie Fest. (Read our recap of the concert event if you couldn’t be there yourself.)
“Ring of Keys” Cover, October 4
In celebration of GLAAD Spirit Day, San Francisco’s Curran Theatre and students from Oakland School for the Arts presented “Ring of Keys” from the Tony Award-winning Musical Fun Home.
Lin-Manuel Miranda’s SNL Monologue, October 8
Following his Hamilton run, the Tony- and Pulitzer Prize-winning creator hosted SNL in October, and in true Miranda fashion, he rapped the opening number, rewriting the lyrics to “My Shot.” Click here to watch his top sketches from the episode.
Sara Bareilles and Leslie Odom, Jr., “Seriously,” October 28
This American Life asked Tony-nominated Waitress songwriter Sara Bareilles to imagine thoughts President Barack Obama might be having about this year’s presidential election, but can’t say publicly. Tony-winning Hamilton star Odom, Jr. performed the song, titled “Seriously.”
The Beauty and the Beast Trailer, November 14
The first full-length trailer for the Beauty and the Beast live-action film, starring Emma Watson as Belle and Dan Stevens as the Beast, hit the Internet November 14. Watch the sneak peek at the anticipated film before it hits theatres March 17, 2017.
Jennifer Hudson, “I Know Where I’ve Been,” December 7
Following her stint in The Color Purple, Hudson stopped the show with her rendition of “I Know Where I’ve Been” in the NBC broadcast of Hairspray Live! Click here to read about the five best things from the December 7 live show.