Hamilton is a musical inspired by Ron Chernow’s biography of founding father Alexander Hamilton. The production, which opened on Broadway on Aug. 6, 2015, is original, exhilarating, thoughtful, and thoroughly entertaining.
Hamilton runs at the Richard Rodgers Theatre located at 226 West 46th Street. The jam-packed show runs nearly three hours and contains one intermission.
Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote Hamilton’s music, lyrics, and book. He also originated the role of Alexander Hamilton.
That name should sound familiar to Broadway aficionados. Miranda wrote the music and lyrics, and originated the lead role for the 2008 Tony Award winning Best Musical, In the Heights.
Miranda got the idea for Hamilton while on vacation from In the Heights. He purchased Chernow’s book at the airport and while reading it realized the biography would make the perfect fodder for a Broadway musical.
Miranda began working on Hamilton during his off time from In the Heights.
Amazingly, the only major theatre work about Hamilton was produced in 1917. The 1969 musical, 1776, was about the founding fathers but Alexander Hamilton was not a character.
Similarities Between Hamilton and In The Heights.
>>Both Hamilton and In the Heights opened on Broadway at the Richard Rodgers Theatre.
>>Both Hamilton and In the Heights were directed by Thomas Kail and choreographed by Andy Blankenbuehler.
>>Other members of both musicals’ creative teams are Paul Tazewell (costume designer), Howell Binkley (lighting designer), and Alex Lacamoire (orchestrations and music direction).
>>Javier Muñoz plays the role of “Alexander Hamilton” once a week and succeeded Miranda as the lead role in In the Heights.
>>Christopher Jackson originated the role of “George Washington” in Hamilton and played “Benny” in In the Heights.
>>Both musicals were nominated for at least nine Drama Desk Awards.
Box Office & Critics
Hamilton opened Off-Broadway in August of 2015. It was a resounding success. It opened on the Great White Way the following August with a reported $30 million in advanced Hamilton ticket sales.
Critics love Hamilton too. They have showered it with praise. For example, the Wall Street Journal proclaimed: “Hamilton' is the most exciting and significant musical of the decade.”
Hamilton captured eight Drama Desk Awards including Outstanding Musical. It was nominated for 14 awards overall.
The Founding Fathers featured in Hamilton (Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and George Washington) are portrayed by Hispanic and black actors.
This casting choice was done on purpose. As Miranda explained, it allows audience members to leave their “cultural baggage… at the door” and to better reflect what Americans look like now.
King George, however, was originally played by white actor, Jonathan Groff. Groff played “Jesse St. James” on Glee and is the voice of “Kristoff” in the animated film Frozen.