Beach Read to Broadway! How Lin-Manuel Miranda Turned a History Book into Hamilton

News   Beach Read to Broadway! How Lin-Manuel Miranda Turned a History Book into Hamilton
 
The historical hip-hop musical Hamilton, which played an acclaimed Off-Broadway run earlier this year, has taken a circuitous route to its highly anticipated Broadway bow. Take a look back at the show's road to its own historical opening here.

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1755-1804 The life of Alexander Hamilton.

2004 Historian Ron Chernow publishes the biography "Alexander Hamilton," which stays on the New York Times Best Seller list for three months and is named a finalist for a National Book Critics Circle Award.

Late Summer 2007 After his musical In the Heights completes its Off-Broadway run, but before its Broadway run begins, composer Lin-Manuel Miranda takes the book with him on vacation. "Something about it just grabbed me," he told Playbill.com. "I picked up the book thinking maybe I’ll get a funny song out of it — some jokey-rap thing about the Hamilton/Burr duel. But as I read it, I realized Hamilton’s whole life was about the power of words and wouldn’t it be great to hear a hip-hop album about how we created this country?" Read more from this 2009 interview! He also credits his father, political advisor Luis A. Miranda, Jr., for his interest in the subject. Read Playbill's exclusive interview with the Miranda men here.

Feb. 14, 2008 In the Heights opens on Broadway and goes on to win the 2008 Tony Award as Best Musical. During this time Miranda conceives his Hamilton project as a "rap concept album." Miranda said Hamilton was "as self destructive as he was brilliant and got into these epic fights with Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and Aaron Burr — the last of which ended in him getting shot in Weehawken, NJ. And as I’m reading this, I’m thinking ‘This is Biggie, this is Tupac…this is hip-hop!’ This is my Jesus Christ Superstar, Andrew Lloyd Webber moment [laughs]. As I’m writing, I’m imagining these dream rappers playing specific roles. There’s a point in one song where I’m just doing a bad Busta Rhymes impression on the demo because I just can’t picture anyone but Busta Rhymes doing it. In my ideal vision for this project, we get really amazing rappers to play these different parts."

May 12, 2009 Miranda is invited to perform for President Obama as part of the White House Evening of Poetry, Music, and the Spoken Word. He uses the opportunity to debut the opening number from the project now titled The Hamilton Mixtape — his first public performance of the song.

 

Second Half of 2009 Encouraged by the reaction to his performance, Miranda works on another number in the show, "My Shot," and other songs from Act I.

Jan. 11, 2010 Miranda offers a sneak preview of songs from The Hamilton Mixtape, which he is now called a "hip-hop song cycle" as part of the 14th season of Lincoln Center’s American Songbook series on what would have been Hamilton’s 255th birthday. It serves as the New York premiere of songs from the project.

Summer 2013 Now taking shape as a stage musical instead of a recording, The Hamilton Mixtape gets a workshop production at Vassar College. Miranda reassembles his Tony-winning In the Heights team of director Thomas Kail, choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler and musical director/orchestrator Alex Lacamoire for the workshop, which consists of Act I and three songs from Act II. Miranda plays Hamilton and Daveed Diggs plays Thomas Jefferson, roles they will go on to recreate on Broadway.

March 6, 2014 The Public Theater announces that it will host the premiere of the musical, now titled simply Hamilton, for a limited run starting in January 2015.

Dec. 16, 2014 With more than a month to go before its first preview, Hamilton announces that ticket sales are so strong that the limited run will be extended to March 22.

Jan 14, 2015 A week before the first public performance, the limited run is extended a second time, through April 5.

Jan. 20, 2015 Hamilton begins previews Off-Broadway at the Public Theater, for a run scheduled to open Feb. 17. Learn what Miranda, and his co-star Leslie Odom, Jr., have to say about the production here.

Feb. 4, 2015 Now in previews and already being discussed as a possible Broadway transfer, Hamilton gets a third and final extension, to May 3.

Feb. 17, 2015 Opening night at the Public Theater. An instant sensation, the show gets rave reviews. Check out reviews of the Off-Broadway production here.

Feb. 24, 2015 Producers announce that the show will move to Broadway in summer 2015, taking a hiatus after the May 3 Off-Broadway closing so Miranda can do further rewrites.

April 16, 2015 To mark the 40th anniversary of A Chorus Line opening on the same stage at the Public Theatre, the cast of Hamilton hosts original cast members of A Chorus Line and recreates a number from that show. Watch the video.

 

May 3, 2015 Hamilton ends its Off-Broadway run.

May-July 2015 Miranda polishes the script, cutting a reported 15 minutes from the musical's original 2 hour and 45 minute running time.

July 13, 2015 Broadway previews begin at the Richard Rodgers Theatre. Take a look at the Broadway Playbill! President Barack Obama and his daughters attend a preview performance in July. Read the cast's first-hand accounts of performing for the President here.

Aug. 6, 2015 Opening Night on Broadway.

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