Since the beginning of American history, plays have been a huge part of entertainment. Whether it be comedic, tragic or dramatic there has always been the desire to sit down comfortably and watch others perform works of art which take people into an entirely new world. One such source of entertainment is a new musical that is gripping the attention of Americans everywhere: Hamilton.
Written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, this play is about historical figure and founding father Alexander Hamilton. Unlike most Broadway musicals, Hamilton is filled with rap battles, pop music, and hip-hop. This work has appeared in many places, including London, New York City, and Chicago. Just what is the history behind this historical piece? How did it become the massive hit it is today? What is the reasoning behind the location of the play? This essay will explore the history of Lin-Manuel Miranda and how he came to write Hamilton.
The background of the play itself will be discovered as well as the locations and why it has premiered there. Miranda is responsible writing many plays other than Hamilton. He also composed In the Heights, Bring it On: The Musical, and 21 Chump Street. According to broadway.com, In the Heights was the first rap-infused musical Miranda has produced. His love for music, especially pop music, had a huge influence in his life.
In the process of writing Hamilton during the production of In the Heights, Miranda was asked to perform his work in the White House. “When the White House calls and says, we’d love for you to perform, or if you have anything else on the American experience, and you have a hot 16 bars about Alexander Hamilton in your back pocket, my choice was clear,” Miranda says. “It actually felt like a sign, that the thing I had been working on in my spare time, there might be an audience for it” (NPR, 2016). From day one, there has been an audience. Lin’s show took off, becoming one of the most well-known musicals of this time. What made it so? While vacationing in Mexico in 2008, Lin-Manuel Miranda read Ron Chernow’s historical biography, “Alexander Hamilton.” Seven years later, rehearsals for his play began. One of the reasons viewers have enjoyed it thus immensely is because of its accuracy.
Susanne Fowler wrote in her article, “Lin-Manuel Miranda has done for U.S. history what J.K. Rowling did for literacy with ‘Harry Potter.’ She ignited a whole generation of readers and this show has awakened an interest in U.S.
history for kids” (Fowler, 2017). Miranda has inspired youth and adults across the nation to become more interested in history. Furthermore, the play acts as a bridge between the 1700’s when Alexander Hamilton was alive and current day. The combination of hip-hop music to a historically accurate production has gripped the attention of Americans. Miranda said this about the topic: “That was what grabbed me about it…he was this was a guy who used words to get everywhere and do what my favorite hip-hop artists do — if not write about their struggles, their lives, then transcend their circumstances by sheer virtuosity” (NPR, 2016). This is the reason Hamilton has been a large success. Hamilton has been performed all over the world. The play’s official website conveys that there are three permanent locations, including New York City, New York; London, England; and Chicago, Illinois.
Additionally, there is a U.S. tour covering everywhere from Los Angeles to Boston. New York City, Chicago, and Los Angeles are the three largest cities in the United States, as stated by the U.S. Census Bureau.
Chicago’s population as of July 1, 2016 is 2,704,958, making it the third most populous city in the United States. New York’s population as of July 1, 2016 is 8,537,673, making it the first most populous city in the United States. London has a large population as well, including 10,549,000 people in the city. New York and London are some of the most toured cities in the world, New York receiving 59.
7 million tourists in 2015 and London reaching over 19 million visitors in 2016. The three cities Hamilton shows in are also major cities for plays in the world, which is why it has premiered permanently in these locations. In addition to the three cities Hamilton is located at, there is a tour covering the entire United States. Smaller cities such as Salt Lake City, Utah and Tempe, Arizona are being shown Hamilton in the near future.
This is to spread the musical to those who cannot access large cities like Chicago. Doing this will increase the amount of people who buy tickets, and therefore the amount of money the play makes. To conclude, Hamilton is a musical with rap music written and composed by Lin-Manuel Miranda. Lin wrote other plays with similar aspects to Hamilton such as In the Heights and Bring it On: The Musical. Miranda was asked to perform his work in the White House, and it took off from there. There are many explanations as to why Hamilton has been as popular as it is. Some include its historical accuracy and connections to modern and old times.
The three cities Hamilton is performed include Chicago, New York City, and London. They are some of the most populous cities in the world, hence the reason behind these locations. This is the history of the Broadway musical Hamilton and its playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda.