The Hamilton phenomenon
Hamilton is one of the most successful musicals ever to run on Broadway. Since it opened in 2015, it has won eleven Tony awards, one Grammy and even the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. The theatre is sold out every single night and it is loved by everyone, including famous figures such as Barack Obama.
The show takes place at the time of the American Revolution and tells the story of Alexander Hamilton, an immigrant orphan who became one of the Founding Fathers of the USA. His face now even appears on the $10 bill. Lin-Manuel Miranda, who also wrote the acclaimed musical In The Heights and the songs for Disney’s most recent princess blockbuster Moana, created the show after he read a biography of Alexander Hamilton written by Rob Chernow. He was inspired by Hamilton’s story and immediately started to create songs based on it.
You might expect a musical with historical characters such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and King George III to be very boring and serious, but Miranda has taken an innovative approach. All the actors in the cast are people of colour, and the music is in a variety of styles, particularly featuring rap and hip-hop elements. The result has been called a cultural phenomenon.
The problem with the huge success of Hamilton is that you can only fit 1,319 people into the Richard Rodgers Theatre, and there is no film version for people who can’t obtain tickets or travel to New York. Many of the musical’s biggest fans have never even seen it, instead listening obsessively to the soundtrack album, which made it to number three in the US Billboard 200 chart.
In November, British fans will finally get a chance to see the musical when it opens at the Victoria Palace Theatre in central London. Tickets went on sale on 30th January, and within a day had completely sold out for every show in its first five months. I’m one of the very lucky people who managed to secure tickets for next January, and I can’t wait to finally see the show I’ve heard so much about!