Gather round Angelenos, the time has finally come for us to be in the same room as Hamilton: An American Musical. We’ve been waiting patiently since it opened on Broadway in 2015 and honestly, we can barely contain our excitement. In celebration of this momentous occasion, we here at Pavemint would like to share some fun facts about the musical and its creator Lin-Manuel Miranda. Not to mention, the best hassle-free parking for your night at the theater.
Do you know all the words from “Alexander Hamilton” to “Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story”? Maybe you mostly remember the time current Vice President Mike Pence received a special message from the Broadway cast. Perhaps you heard someone say, “Young, scrappy and hungry,” once and now you’re intrigued. No matter where you’re at on the Hamilton fan spectrum, we’re here to help you cross into the expert sphere. Let’s start with the basics.
We hope you already have them because they are notoriously difficult to come by. Pantages season ticket holders got first dibs when the tickets went on sale last year, but they sold out quickly. Prices range from $85-750, and unfortunately, tickets under $300 are no longer available. If you’re one of the many left behind, don’t lose hope! There is a lottery for 40 orchestra seats at $10 a piece at every show. They call it #Ham4Ham, as in a Hamilton for Hamilton. Get it? These guys are great. As a bonus, members of the cast often sneak outside the theater to give mini performances for Hamilton hopefuls waiting to find out if they’re going to see the show.
The Birth of Hamilton: Thanks Obama
Actually, you can thank Obama for Hamilton, at least partially. Lin-Manuel Miranda premiered the first song he wrote, “Alexander Hamilton,” at the White House in 2009, after President Obama invited him to participate in an evening of live performances focused on “The American Experience.” Miranda had already won a Tony for his musical, In The Heights, which he wrote and starred in. But instead of singing something from In The Heights, he asked if he could perform an original rap about Alexander Hamilton. The White House gave him the go ahead and the rest is history.
Diversity and Historical Accuracy
The choice to have a multicultural cast tell the story of the birth of our nation was 100% intentional. Miranda said he wanted the players on stage to reflect America as it looks now so that the audience could enjoy the story and the music without any feelings of exclusion. Miranda has been on this quest throughout his career. And even though the musical takes its fair share of creative license, Ron Chernow, author of the best-selling biography of Alexander Hamilton that inspired the musical, acted as a historical consultant on the play.
A Hip Hop Story
While reading Ron Chernow’s 800-page biography, Lin-Manuel Miranda noticed the story’s hip hop vibe. Born with the odds stacked against him, Alexander Hamilton made his way to New York City. Through his power of will and an excellent command of language, he became one of the Founding Fathers of our country. Miranda said, “Hamilton literally wrote a verse to get him off an island—that’s the most hip hop shit ever. He transcends the struggle, and if you look at your favorite rapper, that’s most likely what they did.” Hamilton’s tragic end felt familiar to Miranda too. He saw in Hamilton the same dangerous confidence that he had seen in rapper Tupac Shakur: brilliant but lacking tact to a fatal degree. The musical is sung-through, meaning there is no spoken dialogue, with songs full of references to hip hop and musical theater alike.
A Phenomenal Touring Cast
While we won’t get to see Lin-Manuel Miranda perform as Alexander Hamilton when the show opens at The Pantages next week, we will get an absolutely amazing set of actors. People are swooning over two-time Tony Award nominee Joshua Henry as Aaron Burr. Michael Luwoye is playing Alexander Hamilton, though he has actually played both leading roles in the same day. Tony-nominated Rory O’Malley from Book of Mormon is playing King George. The touring cast is a sensational lineup of Broadway’s best and brightest.
Awards on Awards on Awards
Hamilton took home eleven Tony Awards last year, including Best Musical, Best Score, Best Book of a Musical, Best Orchestrations. Need we continue? That’s just shy of the record set by The Producers in 2001 of twelve. In addition to sweeping the Tonys, Hamilton won a Pulitzer Prize for Drama and a Grammy for Best Musical Theater Album. Lin-Manuel Miranda received a “Genius Grant” from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation in 2015. He has also won a pile of theater awards for both Hamilton and In The Heights. And let’s not forget his nomination for an Academy Award for Best Original Song in Moana.
Now, off to the theater we go!