History has its eyes on you


Broadway, Rap and Alexander Hamilton.

These three things could not seem farther apart, but composer Lin Manuel Miranda has combined the three into Broadway’s hottest ticket. His new musical, Hamilton, has taken more than the theatre community by storm.

Miranda is no stranger to Broadway. In 2008, his musical, In the Heights, quickly found its place in American musical theatre history. The show combined traditional musical theatre style songs with a rap flair that mirrored the story’s setting of Washington Heights. The show took the theatre world by storm, winning the Tony Award for Best Musical.

Immediately after In the Heights opened, Miranda began work on Hamilton. At first, it was only intended to be a mixtape based on Hamilton’s life, but the project evolved. In 2009, Miranda was invited to the White House Evening of Poetry, Music and Spoken Word. He was supposed to perform a song from In the Heights, but decided to perform a part of the opening number of this concept musical about the founding father. When he introduced the idea, the room broke out in laughter. By the end of the song, they were speechless.

Five years after the White House event, Miranda finished the show, and it began an Off-Broadway run at the Public Theatre in New York City. Almost immediately, the show began selling out. After six months at the Public, the cast moved to Broadway, selling out months in advance.

When you look at the cast, you may have a hard time determining who plays whom. Many of the actors bear no resemblance to the characters they play as most of the leads are played by actors of color.

Miranda wanted this story to be “America then told by America now.” For this same reason, he chose rap to be the main musical genre of the show. He wanted this musical to connect with a new audience, and it succeeded.

The show’s popularity has extended far beyond its home at the Richard Rodgers Theatre. The cast album hit #1 on the billboard rap charts, and students all over America are turning to the musical.

Hamilton is so spectacular because it seamlessly blends different exquisite styles. The characters are relevant. The story is compelling. The music is phenomenal. This is all combined with a multiracial, insanely talented cast,” Ella Atkinson (11) said.

Atkinson and fellow students are coming together thanks to this show. By combining so many elements, Hamilton appeals to everyone and though the idea may seem improbable, it is just as intuitive as the man who created it and inspired it.