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‘ . . . It was ‘Hamilton.’ That’s all anybody had to hear, and they were all-in.’

As Disney+ streams "Hamilton" beginning Friday, ESPN's The Undefeated debuts Hamilton In-Depth with Kelley Carter. Here's how the collaboration happened.

Raina Kelley, Managing Editor, The Undefeated (Nick Caito/ESPN Images)

Very few Broadway shows have had the cultural impact of the Tony Award- and Pulitzer Prize-winning “Hamilton” – the story of America’s founding fathers and mothers played by a cast of Black, Asian, Latin, and other minorities.

As the film, a live capture of the original Broadway production premieres on Disney+ on Friday, The Undefeated, ESPN+, and Walt Disney Studios teamed up for Hamilton In-Depth with Kelley Carter – a unique virtual interview show with the stars (see trailer above). Starting Friday, the program will stream alongside Hamilton on Disney+ and TheUndefeated.com.

The Undefeated’s managing editor Raina Kelley and VP and Executive Producer, Original Content for ESPN+, Brian Lockhart, are executive producers of Hamilton In-Depth. Kelley discusses the project:

What was one experience you will remember about this project?
Kelley: Here’s something I found out just more than two weeks ago: People will do anything for ‘Hamilton.’ I’m serious. I would like to tell you that it was the jaw-dropping audacity of my leadership, but it was “Hamilton.” That’s all anybody had to hear, and they were all-in. Sure, The Undefeated had worked with ESPN+ before, but we’d never worked with [Walt Disney] Studios to make a new show with Disney+ 10 days.

Kelley Carter (L), Lin Manuel Miranda (Illustration: The Undefeataed/ESPN)

How would you describe Kelley Carter’s role hosting these many stars in one virtual interview?
Kelley: Kelley Carter was already the host of our brand-new digital talk show, ‘Another Act,’ on The Undefeated. She has gotten everybody from Oprah and Mary J. Blige to Ludacris and [“Hamilton” star] Daveed Diggs. As a seasoned entertainment reporter, Kelley is comfortable talking to Hollywood stars. We needed her to talk to the nine original cast members and director Thomas Kail in one day and make a show out of it. She did.

How important is it for The Undefeated to be a part of this project?
Kelley: Hamilton is a hip-hop musical, as Miranda says about “America then, told by America now.” Because it is just as true now as it was when the show debuted on Broadway in 2015 and way back in 1776 — America is a country born with the words that all people “are created equal,” but it has not yet been able to make that true for all its proud people. That is the promise of the American Experiment within Hamilton, within The Undefeated.

This time the reckoning comes after the killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and Rayshard Brooks in the middle of a pandemic disproportionately affecting Black people —our rights are not yet inalienable for all of us. That is the story that The Undefeated has been chasing since our birth in May 2016, and this is exactly the kind of project we’re meant to do as we expand across The Walt Disney Company.

From 2016: Hamilton’s Daveed Diggs and Leslie Odom, Jr. Perform At The ESPN Upfront

Disney+’s presentation of Hamilton on July 3 is just the latest collaboration between the award-winning play and The Walt Disney Company.

In 2016, Hamilton’s Grammy Award-winning and Tony Award-nominated artists Daveed Diggs and Leslie Odom Jr., opened and closed that morning’s ESPN Upfront presentation with an original performance written and created exclusively for the event.

Watch the opening performance in the video above. In addition, Diggs has worked with ESPN on other projects including this promotional video for ESPN’s NBA coverage.

– Mac Nwulu

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