A musical production about one the Founding Fathers, Hamilton began as a vision when Miranda was performing In The Heights. Miranda started reading the biography written by Ron Chernow during this time and started envisioning Alexander Hamilton’s life as a musical. Acting on this, Miranda created a few of the numbers as a musical “mixtape,” which he then performed at the White House Poetry Jam.
By 2015, Hamilton made its official debut as an Off-Broadway show, which quickly sold out. Its near-instant success helped it then move up to Broadway, where it has played its run at the Richard Rodgers Theater. Word-of-mouth and high demand led to unprecedented advance ticket sales for Hamilton’s Broadway shows.
By early 2016, the show received 16 Tony nominations. At the awards show, it won 11, including Best Musical. Further, it showed it connected with a younger audience by winning the 2016 Grammy for Best Musical Theater Album and the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.
What’s made a musical about a Founding Father such a hit? While, like many modern musicals, the production is primarily made up of musical numbers, with some dialog in between, Miranda decided to keep the period look, down to the sets and costumes, but used Black and Hispanic actors to play prominent historical figures. About this decision, Miranda’s previously told the press that this casting choice, one, reflects the United States’ diverse population and, two, makes it more relatable.
While Miranda’s moved onto other projects, Hamilton has made its mark.