‘Hamilton’ Makes American History Sing

By Molly Holt

The world of Broadway has been forever changed. Lin Manuel Miranda, creator of the hit musical In the Heights, has a new musical. His latest production, Hamilton, is far from the traditional Broadway offering.

Hamilton tells the story of one of America’s important founding fathers, Alexander Hamilton. But there is an interesting twist. Miranda, a man of Puerto Rican descent, plays Hamilton. The show prides itself on telling the story of a very white American history with a cast that showcases what Americans look like today.

“Our cast looks like America looks now, and that’s certainly intentional,” Miranda told the New York Times in an interview. “It’s a way of pulling you into the story and allowing you to leave whatever cultural baggage you have about the founding fathers at the door.”

On top of breaking down the racial barriers of American history and promoting non-traditional casting, Miranda has once again changed the soundtrack of Broadway. Hamilton, like In the Heights, features a hip-hop/ rap soundtrack. This drew an entirely new group of people into the theater community.

A financial success, Hamilton made $32 million in advanced ticket sales. The show has been sold out since it moved to Broadway and will be sold out until September. Second hand tickets are being sold on StubHub ranging from $530 to over $2,000 each. The only way to get tickets first hand, as of now, is through the Hamilton lottery. This is an online lottery that goes on for every show. Twenty-one tickets are available to the winners of the lottery for $10 each. But even considering the lottery, tickets are nearly impossible to get.

Despite the lack of tickets available, the show’s fans cannot be stopped. At every performance, hundreds of fans wait outside of the stage door to meet the cast of the show. Fans begin lining up at least two hours before the show has ended in order to get a prime spot in line.

Hamilton has reached a new level of fame. It has won a Grammy, a Pulitzer Prize and has changed the decision of the Treasury Secretary to replace Alexander Hamilton on the ten-dollar bill. Miranda met with Secretary of the Treasury, Jacob Lew, in an effort to plea his case as to why Hamilton should be left on the bill. Due to public resistance, Hamilton will remain on the front of the bill and women’s suffrage leaders and abolitionists will appear on the back of the bill.

On May 3, the Tony Award nominees will be announced, and Hamilton’s reception by the prestigious end of the theater community will be revealed. If the cast of Hamilton is nominated for any Tony Awards, actors of many minority groups will be nominated for major awards.