“My name is Alexander Hamilton.” Intrigue is ignited as writer-composer Lin-Manuel Miranda performs an opening number for an unwritten musical, “The Hamilton Mixtape,” during a poetry jam at the White House. The delighted audience includes the Obamas.
Miranda performs more songs, including “My Shot,” during Lincoln Center’s American Songbook series. “Sensational performance,” Stephen Holden writes in the New York Times. “Is ‘The Hamilton Mixtape,’ from which 12 numbers were performed, a future Broadway musical? A concept album? A multimedia extravaganza in search of a platform? Does it even matter? What it is, is hot.”
The three-hour “Hamilton” opens off-Broadway, at the Public Theater, to rapturous reviews and a clamor for tickets. Celebrity sightings in the audience and/or backstage become common — the Clintons, Michelle Obama, Madonna (who was texting during the second act, according to some of the actors).
The new hit musical transfers to Broadway. “Ham4Ham” (a Hamilton for “Hamilton”) is inaugurated — limited-availability $10 lottery tickets that begin to include street performances by the cast and special guests outside the stage door for fans hoping to score seats. Actors ham it up, bonding with audiences and expanding the show’s populist image. A video phenomenon is born. (Eventually the lottery goes digital, which is how it will be at the Kennedy Center.)
Miranda gets a “genius” grant from the MacArthur Foundation.
“Hamilton” wins the Pulitzer Prize for drama.
The show earns a record 16 Tony Award nominations, and wins 11 Tonys the following month.
Proving that the show’s appeal transcends its original cast, “Hamilton” begins a long engagement in Chicago. Tickets are on sale there through at least January 2019.
Vice President-elect Mike Pence is met by a mixture of boos and cheers when he attends the Broadway show 10 days after the election. After the show, actor Brandon Victor Dixon delivers the cast’s “We are the diverse America who are alarmed and anxious” remarks from the stage to Pence.
Two national tours begin, and by the end of the year, a company opens on London’s West End.