Ever since that single performance of one song in front of President Obama back in 2006, people have been in love with the idea of a rapping founding father. The story of Alexander Hamilton, a financial genius, has never been told in such a way. Lin-Manuel Miranda has been called a genius himself after writing the music, lyrics, and book of Hamilton and then also stared in the musical on Broadway as the title role, Alexander Hamilton. Once on Broadway in August of 2015, the show almost immediately hit critical acclaim. The advance box-office sales grew enormously after the first showing and tickets were sold out up to a year in advance.
The idea from this all came from Miranda reading an autobiography about Hamilton, Alexander Hamilton, by Ron Chernow. The book inspired him to think of what a musical surrounding Hamilton’s life would be like. Little did he know how successful this idea would turn out to be. At the White House Evening of Poetry Miranda decided to perform a rough draft of would later become the first song to be sung in the musical, “Alexander Hamilton.”
After the success of the show Hamilton went on to be nominated for sixteen Tony awards. Eleven of which were won, including Best Musical. Miranda himself won two awards, one for Best Book of a Musical and Best Original Score.
Shayne Maggard (’18) got the chance to see Hamilton on Broadway and said, “It was unreal to be able to see Hamilton on Broadway because it is so hard to get tickets and it is so popular.”
Many things about this musical make it different from anything else on Broadway currently, including the fact that it brings in a lot of rap and R&B elements into the musical style. In addition, these historical figures, who were all white men, are played by a combination of African American, Hispanic, Asian-American, and mixed race actors.
Maggard, while talking about her cast favorites, said, “Javier Muñoz and Sydney Harcourt, who I saw as Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr, they both had huge shoes to fill from the originals…and they did a fantastic job in every aspect of their performances.”
This takes strides in the progressiveness of Broadway. The reasoning behind this is that the creators want the story to tell the story of America then, but visually represent the diversity of America today.
Riding on the wave of its popularity, a documentary about the making and creation of this musical has been produced for PBS and was aired on October 21, 2016. This documentary shows the creation of the Hamilton and how Miranda wrote Hamilton’s biography in the form of a musical.
For those Hamiltonians out there who can’t travel to see Hamilton on Broadway, you’re in luck. The musical is starting a national tour set to premiere in March of 2017 in San Francisco, with stops in North Carolina later next year.