“Angelica, Eliza, and Peggy!” The original Schuyler Sisters from the Broadway behemoth, Hamilton: An American Musical, are singing the “America the Beautiful” at Super Bowl LI tonight! When it was announced that Renée Elise Goldsberry, Phillippa Soo, and Jasmine Cephas Jones would be at arguably the biggest sporting event of the year, I, as a diehard #HamilFan, freaked out. I was also reminded of (and impressed by) this recent trend that the Super Bowl has exhibited in hiring famous Theatrical and Opera performers to sing.
In 2014 for Super Bowl XLVIII, Opera Singer (and personal hero of mine) Renée Fleming provided a beautiful rendition of the National Anthem, and the internet and tabloids went NUTS, myself included, of course. She sounded beautiful and effortless, and as a classically trained singer myself with a degree in Music, I know just how difficult it is to sing that tune, especially with cold weather straining the vocal folds!
Last Super Bowl, tonight’s halftime performer, Lady Gaga sang the National Anthem BUT she was accompanied by deaf Academy Award winning actress, fresh off of her run in the impressive Deaf West Broadway Revival of Spring Awakening, Marlee Matlin. I remember finding out from BroadwayWorld.com that Ms. Matlin would sing with Lady Gaga, and I was thrilled, only to be incredibly disappointed by her criminally minuscule screen-time during the telecast. You can see here here at 1:00 for all of two seconds.
This year, though the Schuyler Sisters aren’t singing “The Star Spangled Banner,” they are singing “America the Beautiful,” and I couldn’t be more excited. The original cast of Hamilton are no strangers to singing at sporting events: Christopher Jackson, the OG George Washington performed the National Anthem for Game 2 of the 2015 World Series and crushed it. Renée Elise Goldsberry, who we will see tonight, sang it for a campaign event for Hillary Clinton last year and slayed. Even Jasmine Cephas Jones, who we will also see tonight, sang with the replacements of Angelica and Eliza, Mandy Gonzalez and Lexi Lawson, at a baseball game not too long ago.
All I can say is, whoever picks the singers of the National Anthem for the Super Bowl, keep ’em coming! (Perhaps Lin-Manuel Miranda or Joyce DiDonato next year, please??)