Celebrating America’s History with Hamilton: an American Musical

What better way to celebrate the birth of America than with Hamilton: an American Musical ? While the musical may chronicle the beginning of American history, the musical and it’s creator, Lin Manuel Miranda, have been makinghistory with this groundbreaking musical. With more than $60 million dollars in ticket sales, a Pulitzer prize, a Grammy, and a whopping 11 Tony Awards, it seems the world just can’t get enough of the famous founding father’s story. Tonight, we take a look at the bestselling book that goes into the making of the hip-hop musical and the Broadway revolution called Hamilton.

Find out where you can catch the hottest Hamilton fan experience in town, where you can get tickets to this sold out show, and for a special cast performance footage, check out our Metrofocus Extra! on Metrofocus.org

 

TRANSCRIPT

> TONIGHT ON 'METROFOCUS,' HAMILTON.

IT'S THE BROADWAY MUSIC SMASH HIT ABOUT AMERICAN HISTORY THAT'S MAKING HISTORY WITH MORE THAN $60 MILLION IN TICKET SALES, A PULITZER PRIZE, A GRAMMY, AND 11 TONY AWARDS.

NOW THERE'S A BEST-SELLING BOOK ON THE MAKING OF THE HIP-HOP MUSICAL, AND TONIGHT WE LOOK AT THE EVOLUTION OF THE REVOLUTION CALLED 'HAMILTON.'

ALL THAT AND MORE AS 'METROFOCUS' STARTS RIGHT NOW.

> THIS IS 'METROFOCUS.'

FUNDING FOR THIS PROGRAM WAS PROVIDED BY --

> IN 2009, THE TONY AND GRAMMY AWARD WINNER LIN-MANUEL MIRANDA RAPPED A STORY ABOUT ONE OF THE INTRIGUING FOUNDING FATHERS IN FRONT OF THE PRESIDENT AND FIRST LADY IN FRONT OF A WHITE HOUSE POETRY JAM.

♪♪ ♪ ALEXANDER HAMILTON HIS NAME IS ALEXANDER HAMILTON ♪

PRETTY MUCH NO ONE HAS HAD TO ASK WHAT THAT FOUNDING FATHER'S NAME IS.

AND HIS STORY HAS BECOME THE MEGA BROADWAY HIT AND CULTURAL PHENOMENON 'HAMILTON.'

♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪

AND IF YOU CAN'T GET TICKETS TO THE MUSICAL, WHICH IS MORE THAN LIKELY, A NEW BOOK TITLED 'HAMILTON: THE REVOLUTION' WRITTEN BY LIN-MANUEL MIRANDA AND AUTHOR JEREMY McCARTER CONTAINS AN ACCOUNT OF ITS CREATION, SOME BEHIND THE SCENES ANECDOTES, AND REMARKS ON HIP-HOP, THE POWER OF STORIES, AND THE NEW AMERICA.

AND JOINING US NOW TO TELL US WHAT IT WAS LIKE TO BE IN THE ROOM WHERE IT HAPPENED IS SOMEONE WHO WAS, JEREMY McCARTER.

WELCOME.

GREAT TO BE HERE.

BY THE WAY, THE ROOM WHERE IT HAPPENED DID IS ONE OF THE BIGGEST NUMBERS IN THE MUSICAL.

EVER.

IT'S BECOME THE SHOW STOPPER.

AARON BURR'S BIG SECOND ACT NUMBER.

YOU KNOW, THAT, AS THEY SAY, ALONE IS WORTH THE PRICE OF ADMISSION.

♪♪ ♪♪

HOW DID YOU GET TO KNOW LIN-MANUEL, AND HOW DID YOU COME TO WRITE THE BOOK?

HOW MUCH TIME WE HAVE?

I FIRST GOT TO KNOW LIN WHEN I WAS DRAMA CRITIC FOR 'NEW YORK' MAGAZINE IN 2007.

HIS FIRST SHOW IN THE HEIGHTS HAD ITS OFF-BROADWAY PREMIERE, AND I WENT TO SEE IT.

♪♪

FOR YEARS BEFORE THAT NIGHT, I HAD BEEN LOOKING FOR PLAY WRITES WHO WOULD USE HIP-HOP IN SOME INVENTIVE WAY.

I'D GROWN UP LISTENING TO HIP-HOP AND LOVING THEATER AS MUCH AS LIN HAD, IN FACT, THOUGH I DIDN'T KNOW THAT AT THE TIME.

WHEN I WENT IN THE HEIGHTS, FOR ALL THE YEARS I'D BEEN LOOKING TO USE HIP-HOF AS A WAY TO TELL STORIES, I THOUGHT, THIS GUY GETS IT AND IN A WAY THAT I'VE NEVER SEEN ANYBODY ELSE GET IT.

THE PUBLICIST FOR THE SHOW THEN HEARD THAT LIN HAD LIKED WHAT I WROTE AND THOUGHT THE TWO OF US WOULD HIT IT OFF.

SO HE SET US UP TO MEET.

WE BECAME FRIENDS, AND IT TURNS OUT IN OUR VERY FIRST CONVERSATION BACK IN 2008, HE TOLD ME ABOUT THIS INSANE IDEA HE HAD TO WRITE A HIP-HOP CONCEPT ALBUM MIX TAPE ABOUT ALEXANDER HAMILTON.

AND THE BOOK, HOW DID THAT COME ABOUT?

THE BOOK CAME ABOUT AFTER THE SHOW CAME TO THE PUBLIC THEATER.

IT WAS THE OPENING NIGHT PARTY THERE.

HE CAME UP TO ME AND PROPOSED THIS IDEA.

I WASN'T SURE AT FIRST WHETHER I SHOULD DO IT BECAUSE I WASN'T QUITE SURE, HOW DO YOU MAKE A BOOK ABOUT SOMETHING THAT IS THIS SORT OF WONDERFUL AND SELF-CONTAINED, AND WHAT CAN YOU POSSIBLY ADD?

WE THOUGHT ABOUT IT FOR A WHILE AND CAME UP WITH SOMETHING.

NOW, YOU KNOW, ALMOST A YEAR LATER, HERE IT IS.

THE BOOK IS CALLED 'HAMILTON: THE REVOLUTION.'

SO WHAT'S THE REVOLUTION THAT YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT?

THERE ARE TWO REVOLUTIONS.

AND IN FACT, THIS IS THE KEY THAT LET US UNLOCK HOW TO MAKE A BOOK THAT WE THOUGHT WOULD BE A FIT COMPANION FOR THE SHOW.

THE FIRST IS OBVIOUS.

IT'S THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION.

IT'S WHAT THE SHOW DRAMATIZES.

IT'S THE STORY OF HOW THE FOUNDING GENERATION WON THE WAR, WON THEIR INDEPENDENCE ON THE BATTLEFIELD, AND THEN CREATED THE AMERICAN REPUBLIC.

THOSE ARE TWO MIRACLES.

THOSE ARE TWO THINGS THAT HAD NEVER HAPPENED BEFORE.

THOSE MEN AND WOMEN DID IT TWICE IN A DECADE.

SO THAT'S THE STORY THAT THE SHOW IS TELLING.

THE SECOND REVOLUTION IS THE SHOW ITSELF.

AS I GOT TO WATCH AS THE SHOW DEVELOPED OVER THE YEARS AND I SAW ALL THE THINGS THAT IT WAS ALREADY BEGINNING TO CHANGE, I JUST THOUGHT THERE'S GOING TO BE A BEFORE AND AFTER BECAUSE OF THIS SHOW.

IT'S NOT THE KIND OF REVOLUTION THAT MEANS THERE'S A NEW FLAG GOING UP THE FLAG POLE AT THE END.

IF YOU THINK ABOUT WHAT IT MEANS FOR THE WAY THAT BROADWAY SOUNDS, IF YOU THINK ABOUT WHAT IT MEANS FOR THE MEN AND WOMEN WORKING ON THE SHOW AND HOW THEIR LIVES HAVE CHANGED, THINK ABOUT HOW WE TALK ABOUT OUR FOUNDING AND WHO FEELS THAT THEY HAVE ACCESS TO IT, AND THEN THE BIGGEST ONE IS THINK ABOUT THE KIDS WHO ARE COMING TO SEE THIS SHOW WHO ARE GOING TO BE INSPIRED BY IT AND TELL THEIR OWN STORIES BECAUSE OF IT, FEEL THEY HAVE PERMISSION NOW BECAUSE OF WHAT LIN HAS DONE.

WHO KNOWS WHAT THAT CHANGE LOOKS LIKE, BUT I'M SURE IT'S COMING.

WE'LL TALK ABOUT ALL THAT.

WE'LL TRY TO TALK ABOUT ALL THAT IN THE NEXT HALF HOUR.

LET'S FIRST TALK A LITTLE ABOUT THE HISTORY OF THE PLAY ITSELF.

THE WELL-KNOWN ORIGIN STORY IS LIN-MANUEL WAS ON A RARE VACATION, THIS TIME TO MEXICO.

HE WAS SITTING BY THE POOL, OF COURSE READING A BIOGRAPHY OF ONE OF THE FOUNDING FATHERS, AND BOOM, IT CAME TO HIM.

I'M GOING TO DO A MUSICAL ABOUT THIS.

IS THAT AN ACCURATE HISTORY?

IT'S A LITTLE BIT ACCURATE.

LIN AND I HAD BOTH BEEN TELLING THIS STORY, THAT THIS IS HOW THE SHOW STARTED.

HE WAS FLOATING POOLSIDE WITH THE BOOK AND THEN THE LIGHTNING BOLT STRIKES.

IT TURNED OUT LAST SUMMER AS THE SHOW WAS MAKING ITS WAY TO ITS BROADWAY OPENING, LITERALLY ON THE AFTERNOON OF OPENING NIGHT, IN FACT, WE WERE SITTING IN HIS DRESSING ROOM AND WE WERE WORKING ON THE BOOK.

I HAD CHECKED BACK THROUGH MY E-MAIL ARCHIVES TO PINPOINT SOME DATES.

TURNS OUT LIN AND I HAD OUR FIRST CONVERSATION ABOUT HIS HAMILTON IDEA BEFORE THAT VACATION STARTED.

SO WE CHECKED OUR E-MAILS AND WHAT WE CAME UP WITH IS HE HAD STARTED READING THE BOOK BEFORE HE GOT ON THE PLANE.

EVEN THE BRIEFEST EXPOSURE TO WHAT WAS WRITTEN AND THE STORY TOLD WAS ENOUGH FOR LIN TO GET THE IDEA NOT JUST THAT HE WANTED TO DO THIS, NOT JUST THAT HE WAS GOING TO USE HIP-HOP AS A WAY OF TELLING, BUT HE EVEN HAD HIS TITLE THAT NIGHT.

THAT'S HOW QUICKLY THE INSPIRATION HIT.

YOU MENTIONED RON, THE HISTORIAN WHO WROTE THE BIOGRAPHY.

WHAT DOES HE THINK ABOUT THE PLAY?

DOES HE THINK IT FAITHFULLY REFLECTS THE REAL LIFE OF HAMILTON?

I ASKED THAT BECAUSE IN A RECENT 'NEW YORK TIMES' ARTICLE, ACCORDING TO THAT ARTICLE, THERE'S SOME HISTORIANS WHO DO NOT THINK IT'S A FAITHFUL REFLECTION OF THE REAL HAMILTON.

RIGHT.

YOU KNOW, THERE'S THE SORT OF MARVEL RIGHT OFF THE TOP THAT, YOU KNOW, THE BEST HISTORIANS IN AMERICA ARE NOW ENGAGED IN A DIALOGUE ABOUT A BROADWAY MUSICAL, WHICH IS ALREADY PRETTY WONDERFUL.

LIN TOOK VERY SERIOUSLY THE RESPONSIBILITY OF TELLING THE STORY WELL.

BECAUSE HE WANTED TO MAKE A SERIOUS PLAY.

HE DID.

HE TOLD RON THE FIRST TIME THEY MET FACE TO FACE THAT HE WANTED HISTORIANS TO TAKE THIS SERIOUSLY.

AND THEY HAVE FOR THE MOST PART.

SERIOUSLY ENOUGH TO SAY WE THINK THAN IT HAS BEEN, WHICH IS NOT SOMETHING A LOT OF HISTORIANS FEEL THEY NEED TO SAY ABOUT A BROADWAY MUSICAL.

♪♪ ♪♪

RON WAS INVOLVED IS EARLY ON AND THROUGHOUT THE PROCESS AS HE TOLD ME IN A CONVERSATION WE HAD FOR THE BOOK, HE CALLS IT AMERICAN HISTORY FOR GROWN-UPS.

HE SEES ALL THE WAYS THAT A PLAY WRITE WHO IS LESS INTERESTED IN BEING AS FAITHFUL AS HE COULD TO THE HISTORICAL RECORD WOULD HAVE CUT CORNERS, WOULD HAVE SENSATIONALIZED, AND LIN AND HIS DIRECTOR AND OF COURSE HIS CREATIVE PARTNER WANTED TO GET THEIR FACTS RIGHT.

THEY WANTED TO TELL A RIGOROUS STORY.

I THINK THE FACT THAT SO MANY HISTORIANS HAVE BEEN RESPONDING TO IT AS WARMLY AS THEY HAVE IS A TESTAMENT TO HOW WELL IT WENT.

BUT THE BIGGEST GRIPE, I THINK, AMONG SOME OF THOSE HISTORIANS WHO QUESTION THE AUTHENTICITY OF THE PLAY IS THAT IT MAKES HAMILTON TOO HEROIC.

YES, HE CAME FROM A POOR BACKGROUND.

HE CAME WITH NOTHING TO THIS COUNTRY, AN IMMIGRANT, BUT HE RAN AWAY FROM THAT BACKGROUND AND HE, IN FACT, WAS AND WANTED TO BECOME A ONE PERCENTER.

WELL, HAMILTON WANTED TO BE RICH, FOR SURE.

I MEAN, HIS AMBITION IS THE ENGINE OF HIS LIFE.

AND HIS AMBITION IS ONE OF THE THINGS THAT I THINK GIVES NEW YORK CITY THE CHARACTER THAT IT HAS.

HE CERTAINLY DOWN PLAYED HIS ORIGINS.

THERE'S A SCENE IN ACT TWO WHEN HAMILTON AND THOMAS JEFFERSON HAVE A CABINET DEBATE.

JEFFERSON ATTACKS HIM BECAUSE HE SAYS, YOU KNOW, ATTACKS HIM ON THE BASIS OF WHERE HE CAME FROM.

♪♪ YOU KNOW, SLAVERY IS IN, I THINK, THE EIGHTH LINE OF THE SHOW.

SLAVERY WAS THE SUBJECT OF A THIRD CABINET DEBATE THAT ULTIMATELY DIDN'T MAKE IT INTO THE SHOW.

BUT IT'S IN THE BOOK, BY THE WAY.

WE PRINTED IT IN THE BOOK BECAUSE AS LIN SAYS, THE PROBLEM IS NO ONE DID ANYTHING ABOUT IT.

THAT'S WHY IN THE SHOW THERE NEEDS TO BE DRAMATIC ACTION, THINGS HAPPENING AS A CONSEQUENCE OF WHAT YOU'RE SEEING ON STAGE.

AND THERE'S A MOMENT AT THE END OF THE SHOW, THIS IS A SORT OF A GRACE NOTE THAT WAS ADDED BY CHRIS JACKSON, WHO PLAYS GEORGE WASHINGTON IN CONJUNCTION WITH TOMMY, THE DIRECTOR.

THERE'S A MOMENT WHEN ELIZA STEPS OUT, HAMILTON'S WIFE, AND SAYS, YOU COULD HAVE DONE SO MUCH MORE IF YOU ONLY HAD TIME.

♪♪ AND WASHINGTON, PLAYED BY CHRIS, BOWS HIS HEAD IN SHAME.

IT'S CHRIS' WAY OF ACKNOWLEDGING WHAT WASHINGTON DID AND DIDN'T DO TO TRY TO AMELIORATE SLAVERY IN HIS TIME.

LET'S TALK ABOUT NEW YORK.

HOW BIG A ROLE DOES NEW YORK CITY ITSELF PLAY IN THIS PLAY?

IT'S A HUGE ROLE.

I MEAN, NEW YORK IS ESTABLISHED AS THE SETTING FOR THE PLAY VERY EARLY ON, PARTICULARLY IN THE NUMBER WITH THE SKYLER SISTERS, WHICH SHOWS HAMILTON'S FUTURE WIFE AND SISTERS COMING DOWNTOWN TO SLUM IT WITH THE POOR, AS LIN SAYS.

♪♪ THERE WAS A BIG CHALLENGE THROUGHOUT THIS PROCESS, AND EVERYONE WHO WORKED ON IT WAS INVOLVED IN IT ONE WAY OR ANOTHER.

HOW DO YOU MAKE THIS FEEL REAL?

HOW DOES IT NOT FEEL LIKE A TEXTBOOK COME TO LIFE?

WHAT ARE THE WAYS YOU CAN GIVE AN AUDIENCE A WAY INTO THIS STORY, INTO THIS WORLD?

ONE OF THEM IS, WELL, NEW YORK CITY NOW IS NOT SO DIFFERENT FROM NEW YORK CITY THEN.

IN SOME WAYS THAT LEND THEMSELVES TO BEING STAGED.

THERE'S THE ENERGY, THE HUSTLE, RICH AND POOR, VIOLENCE, AMBITION.

ALL THESE THINGS NEED TO BE EVOKED BECAUSE THEN WE UNDERSTAND THAT THESE DEBATES, YOU KNOW -- IT'S NOT LIKE THEY WERE ARGUING ABOUT DIFFERENT THINGS BACK THEN.

THEY WERE ARGUING ABOUT A LOT OF THE SAME THING IN SOME OF THE VERY SAME PLACES THAT WE ARE TODAY.

IF YOU LOOK AROUND AT NEW YORK, JUST GO DOWN A LIST OF THE THINGS THAT DEFINE HAMILTON'S PERSONALITY.

YOU'RE DEFINING THE SORT OF STEREOTYPE OF A MODERN DAY NEW YORKER.

HE RUBS OFF.

NOW, COULD HAMILTON HAVE RISEN AS HIGH AS HE DID IF HE HAD NOT SETTLED IN NEW YORK?

I MEAN, HE LANDED IN MASSACHUSETTS.

WHAT IF HE HAD STAYED THERE?

WHAT IF HE HAD GONE TO VIRGINIA?

COULD HE HAVE BEEN ONE OF THE GREATEST FOUNDING FATHERS?

YOU KNOW, HAMILTON AS A NEW ENGLANDER --

IT'S HARD TO PICTURE.

TAKES A LOT.

HE LANDED IN BOSTON THEN CAME DOWN TO NEW YORK, I THINK.

YOU KNOW, IT'S HARD TO SAY.

LIKE I SAID, I THINK THE CITY ABSORBS SO MUCH OF HAMILTON'S ENERGY, PARTICULARLY AROUND FINANCE, WHICH IS SO HUGE A PART OF THE CITY'S ECONOMY.

WHAT HAPPENS WITH HAMILTON'S DRIVE AND PASSION ENDS UP IN A DIFFERENT CITY.

YOU TOLD ME IN AN EARLY CONVERSATION THAT NEW YORK IS WHAT IT IS IN LARGE PART BECAUSE OF HAMILTON.

YEAH, THE DUTCH -- I MEAN, HE FOUNDED A CONGENIAL PLACE TO DO WHAT HE DID BECAUSE THE ENERGY OF THE CITY WAS ALREADY MOVING IN THE DIRECTION THAT HE WANTS IT.

BUT I LOOK AROUND AND SEE HAMILTON EVERYWHERE NOW.

NOT JUST THE MONUMENTS AND THINGS BUT JUST BECAUSE THIS IS IN A SENSE THE PATH THAT HE SET US DOWN, IN GOOD WAYS AND BAD.

COULD ANYONE BUT A NATIVE NEW YORKER HAVE WRITTEN THIS PLAY?

DEFINITELY NOT.

I MEAN, IN SOME CASES, IT'S LITERALLY TRUE HE'S GIVEN HAMILTON A NEW YORK ACCENT.

THAT FEELS SO RIGHT.

ANOTHER WAY THAT HAMILTON IS RECOGNIZABLE TO US IS THAT THE FOUNDERS TENDED TO BE FROM THE COUNTRY.

THERE WERE VERY FEW PEOPLE WHO PLAYED KEY ROLES IN THAT GENERATION WHO CAME FROM CITIES.

BUT HAMILTON DID.

HE WAS A NEW YORKER.

HE DIDN'T HAVE A BIG ESTATE WHERE HE WOULD RETREAT THE WAY ADAMS AND THE VIRGINIANS DID.

IT'S ONE OF THE WAYS WE CAN UNDERSTAND HIM.

AS LIN WRITES IN THE BOOK, THE LINE THAT GETS THE BIGGEST AUDIENCE REACTION ALWAYS IS THE ONE THAT GOES IMMIGRANTS, WE GET THE JOB DONE.

THAT'S RIGHT.

♪ IMMIGRANTS, WE GET THE JOB DONE ♪

TALK ABOUT THAT LINE AND HOW REFLECTS THE ENTIRE PLAY.

SURE, LIKE IN 'THE HEIGHTS,' HE'S SEEING THIS THROUGH THE EYES OF SOMEONE WHOSE PARENTS CAME HERE FROM PUERTO RICO.

LIN UNDERSTANDS IN HIS BLOOD, IN HIS BONES WHAT IT FEELS LIKE TO BE PART OF A FAMILY WHERE YOU'RE STARTING OUT IN THIS COUNTRY, WHERE THERE AREN'T A HUNDRED YEARS OF PREDECESSORS BEFORE YOU.

I THINK ONE OF THE THINGS THAT WE CAN FEEL COMING THROUGH HIS DEPICTION OF HAMILTON IS THIS DETERMINATION TO RISE AND THE FACT THAT IMMIGRANTS, WE GET THE JOB DONE, HAS GOTTEN SUCH A HUGE REACTION HAS MADE OTHER PEOPLE FEEL THAT TOO.

I THINK 13% OF THE AMERICAN POPULATION IS FOREIGN BORN, WHICH IS NEAR AN ALL-TIME HIGH.

THIS IS A WAY OF REMINDING US THIS IS AN IMMIGRANT COUNTRY.

IT ALWAYS HAS BEEN.

IT'S PROBABLY ALWAYS GOING TO BE.

THAT'S IMPORTANT ABOUT THE SHOW IS MAKING US LOOK AT THE COUNTRY FROM THAT PERSPECTIVE.

I THINK FOR SOME PEOPLE, THAT'S A NEW WAY OF LOOKING AT IT.

FOR SOME PEOPLE, IT'S A REFRESHING JUSTIFICATION FOR LOOKING AT IT THAT WAY.

NOW, YOU WRITE THAT THE REAL REVOLUTIONARY NATURE OF THE PLAY WILL BE TRULY FELT TEN YEARS FROM NOW.

WHY?

ONE OF THE THINGS I FOUND IN TALKING TO PEOPLE WHO WERE WORKING ON THIS SHOW IS THAT IT HAS CHANGED THE WAY THEY THINK ABOUT THE COUNTRY.

HE CAN SYMPATHIZE AND UNDERSTAND THE MEN OF THE FOUNDING GENERATION MUCH MORE THAN HE COULD NOW THAT HE'S STEPPED INTO THEIR SHOES.

SO IF WE TAKE NOT JUST THE TWO OF THEM, TAKE THE ENTIRE COMPANY AS A SAMPLE, AND SAY THIS IS WHAT DIRECT EXPOSURE TO THIS STORY TOLD IN THIS WAY DOS TO PEOPLE.

BY THE WAY, THOSE TWO ACTORS ARE AFRICAN-AMERICAN.

THEY ARE, RIGHT.

BUT EVEN IF THEY WEREN'T, LET'S JUST SAY -- I MEAN, TO BACK UP A STEP, WHAT DO WE THINK OF WHEN WE THINK ABOUT THE FOUNDING GENERATION?

LITERALLY WHAT PICTURES DO WE CARRY AROUND IN OUR HEADS OF THESE GUYS?

IF YOU'RE BRITISH, WELL, THERE'S A LOT OF HISTORICAL IMAGINATION TO DRAW ON BECAUSE SHAKESPEARE WROTE HIS HISTORY PLAYS.

THERE'S A RICH DRAMATIC TRADITION OF THE CHARACTERS WHO HAVE BEEN IMPORTANT IN THE STORY OF THE ENGLAND.

HERE, WHAT DO WE HAVE?

I'VE BEEN ASKING FRIENDS THIS LATELY BECAUSE I NEVER STOPPED TO THINK ABOUT IT, EVEN WHEN I WAS WRITING THE BOOK.

WHEN WE THINK ABOUT THE PEOPLE WHO FOUNDED THE COUNTRY, WE THINK ABOUT OUR TEXTBOOKS.

WE THINK MAYBE THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT A CHERRY TREE AND A FLAG.

POWDERED WIGS.

RIGHT.

BUT THE PICTURES WE HAVE ARE VERY STATIC.

SUDDENLY YOU'VE GOT THESE MEN AND WOMEN LEAPING INTO THREE-DIMENSION AND RAPPING.

♪♪ HOW IS THE RELATIONSHIP OF THE PEOPLE WHO ARE COMING INTO CONTACT WITH THIS PIECE GOING TO CHANGE THE WAY EVERYBODY THINKS ABOUT THE COUNTRY?

IF IT WERE A SMALLER SHOW, I'D SAY MAYBE IT'S NOT GOING TO CHANGE THAT MUCH, BUT I REPORTED IT OUT.

I CALLED PEOPLE AND SAID -- WHO IN THE WORLD OF MUSIC LICENSING, WHO ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR DETERMINING WHEN, LET'S SAY, A HIGH SCHOOL CAN DO THE SHOW, HOW POPULAR IS THIS GOING TO BE?

THEY TOLD ME IT'S GOING TO BE ONE OF, IF NOT THE MOST, POPULAR SHOWS WHEN IT'S RELEASED.

WHEN YOU HAVE 600 SCHOOL PRODUCTIONS OF 'HAMILTON' TEN YEARS FROM NOW, 700, 800, AND THEN THE YEAR AFTER THAT YOU'VE GOT 600 MORE, I MEAN, WE'RE TALKING ABOUT TENS OF THOUSANDS OF YOUNG AMERICANS AT A MOMENT WHEN THE COUNTRY'S DEMOGRAPHICS ARE CHANGING DRASTICALLY, FEELING A NEW CONNECTION TO THE BIRTH OF THE REPUBLIC.

I DON'T KNOW WHAT THAT DOES.

I CAN'T BEGIN TO GUESS, BUT I'M SURE IT'S GOING TO DO SOMETHING.

YOU SAY THE PLAY SUCCESS, LIKE THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION ITSELF, WAS NOT INEVITABLE.

NO.

HISTORIANS SAY SOMETHING LIKE THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION WAS MAYBE LIKELY TO OCCUR.

YOU KNOW, GIVEN ENOUGH TIME, THE MOMENTUM WAS GOING IN THAT DIRECTION.

BUT TO HAVE IT HAPPEN IN A WAY THAT IT DID, TO HAVE IT HAPPEN IN A WAY THAT FOR ALL THE THINGS THAT SHOULD BE BETTER ABOUT THE COUNTRY THAN THEY ARE, THE FACT THAT IN 1861 WE STARTED SHOOTING EACH OTHER AND WENT TO WAR, THE FACT THAT IT WORKED, THAT THE EXPERIMENT ACTUALLY WORKED, IS THE KIND OF SECULAR MIRACLE.

AND WHAT WAS EXCITING TO SEE ABOUT THE SHOW IS YOU REALIZE THAT WHAT THEY ACHIEVED BACK IN THE 1770s AND '80s AND '90s IS A WAY THAT HELPS US UNDERSTAND ANY KIND OF INCREDIBLE JOINT ACTIVITY ABOUT HOW PIECES NEED TO COME TOGETHER, ABOUT WHAT IT MEANS TO PUT YOUR DIFFERENCES TO ONE SIDE TO GET SOMETHING DONE, ABOUT TAKING RISK.

I WOULD WATCH THESE GUYS, LIN CALLS HIS CLOSEST COLLABORATORS THE CABINET, WHICH IS THOMAS KALE, THE DIRECTOR, ALEX, WHO'S THE MUSIC DIRECTOR AND ORGANIZATIONER, WE WATCH THEM WORKING, WATCH THE SHORTHAND THEY HAVE WITH EACH OTHER AND THOUGHT, WELL, IT KIND OF MAKES MORE SENSE TO ME NOW.

I SORT OF UNDERSTAND WHAT IT WAS LIKE IN 1787 A LITTLE BIT MORE.

OBVIOUSLY THE SCALE OF THESE THINGS IS VERY, VERY DIFFERENT.

I DON'T MEAN TO SAY THAT THE HISTORICAL IMPORTANCE.

BUT IF YOU HAVE A GROUP OF PASSIONATE PEOPLE WHO WANT TO SAY THAT BECAUSE THINGS HAVE BEEN DONE A CERTAIN WAY IN THE PAST, THEY'RE ALWAYS GOING TO BE DONE THAT WAY, WHO SAY, NO, WE THINK WE'VE GOT A NEW INSIGHT HERE, I THINK THOSE EXAMPLES ARE ACTUALLY PRETTY CONSISTENT ACROSS TIME.

I GOT THE CHANCE TO MEET SOME OF THE PEOPLE YOU JUST MENTIONED WHEN WE DID A PIECE ON 'IN THE HEIGHTS' WAY BACK WHEN.

ONE THING I REALIZED ABOUT THEM THEN AND EVEN MORE AFTER READING ABOUT THEM IN YOUR BOOK IS THAT MANY OF THEM, THE MEMBERS OF THE CABINET, ARE NOT ONLY FANTASTIC ARTISTS, THEY'RE ALSO INTELLECTUALS WHO KNOW A LOT MORE BEYOND THE THEATER.

THEY KNOW HISTORY, POLITICS, PHILOSOPHY.

HOW TYPICAL IS THAT OF A GROUP OF PEOPLE WRITING A PLAY, WORKING ON A PLAY, AND TO WHAT DEGREE DID THAT MAKE 'HAMILTON' WHAT IT WAS?

YOU KNOW, YOU HAVE TONY, WHO'S A FIRST-RATE PUBLIC INTELLECTUAL, BRILLIANT GUY ABOUT POLITICS, WHO ALSO HAPPENS TO WRITE THE BEST PLAYS IN 50 YEARS.

YOU'VE GOT PEOPLE LIKE LIN AND HIS COLLABORATOR WHO CAN SUSTAIN AND COLLABORATION.

IT'S NOT ABOUT SHOULD THE ACTORS STAND HERE OR THERE, BUT IT'S ABOUT WHAT IS GOING ON HISTORICALLY IN THIS MOMENT, WHAT IS THE STORY WE'RE TRYING TO TELL.

I MEAN, FOR ME, WHAT'S EXCITING WAS GETTING TO BE IN THE ROOM WHERE THEY WERE TALKING ABOUT CHANGES TO MAKE, WHAT'S WORKING, WHAT'S NOT, AND JUST A LITTLE THEATRICAL IQ WAS INCREDIBLE.

JUST TO SEE THAT PROCESS UNFOLD, YOU KNOW, I TRIED IN THE BOOK TO CAPTURE THE LITTLE MOMENTS.

YOU DID.

VERY KIND.

IT'S HARD TO DO BECAUSE THE SHORTHAND IS SO SHORT THAT YOU KIND OF HAVE TO BE IN THE RIGHT PLACE AT THE RIGHT TIME TO CATCH IT.

LET ME ASK YOU A QUESTION THAT THE VENERABLE HIP-HOP ARTIST QUEST LOVE ASKS IN YOUR BOOK.

IS 'HAMILTON' THE MOST REVOLUTIONARY THING TO HAPPEN TO BROADWAY OR THE MOST REVOLUTIONARY THING TO HAPPEN TO HIP-HOP?

I GUESS TIME WILL TELL, RIGHT.

THAT'S WHAT'S SO EXCITING ABOUT IT.

EVEN QUEST LOVE, BECAUSE HE ASKS THAT BECAUSE EVEN HE DIDN'T HAVE AN ANSWER TO IT, WHICH IS GREAT BECAUSE HE'S A BRILLIANT OBSERVER OF HIP-HOP AND MUSICAL THEATER.

I SPOKE TO HIM ON THE DAY THAT THE PRINCIPAL ACTORS RECORDED THEIR VOCALS FOR THE CAST ALBUM.

HE PRODUCED IT, RIGHT?

YEAH, HE AND CHARIQ FROM THE ROOTS PRODUCED IT.

WE TALKED ABOUT SHOW.

HE WAS VERY HONEST.

HE SAID HE DID NOT EXPECT A LOT GOING IN.

HE SORT OF GOT DRAGGED THERE.

WHAT HE SAW JUST BLEW HIS MIND.

♪♪ HE HAD NEVER SEEN ANYTHING LIKE IT.

HE THOUGHT, IT'S A WAY OF HIP-HOP TO DEMONSTRATE IT'S STILL YOUNG, STILL CAN SURPRISE PEOPLE EVEN THOUGH IT'S 40 YEARS OLD.

AND WHAT'S EXCITING TO THINK NOW IS YOU'VE GOT ALL OF THESE FAMOUS MCs GOING TO SEE THE SHOW AND TELL PEOPLE HOW MUCH THEY ENJOY IT.

PEOPLE LIN AND I GREW UP WITH AND WERE OBSESSED WITH TELLING HIM THEY'RE FANS.

DOES ANY OF IT CARRY OVER?

WHO'S TO SAY.

WE KNOW THERE'S AN ALBUM COMING.

THE 'HAMILTON' MIXED TAPE IS COMING.

SONGS INSPIRED BY THE SHOW, PERFORMED BY SOME OF THESE ARTISTS WHO HAVE COME THROUGH.

IT'S JUST EXCITING.

ONCE YOU CARVE OUT A LITTLE MORE SPACE, ONCE YOU MAKE IT POSSIBLE TO LET PEOPLE'S IMAGINATIONS RUN FREE, EVEN QUEST LOVE DOESN'T KNOW.

SO LET ME CONCLUDE WITH THIS.

YOU WRITE THAT THE PLAY DOES NOT REINVENT THE AMERICAN CHARACTER, IT RENEWS IT.

RIGHT.

HOW SO?

WELL, THE NOTION THAT THERE ARE TWO REVOLUTIONS, THE ONE THAT THE FOUNDERS WAGED IN THE 18th CENTURY AND THIS ONE, WHAT I FOUND THE MORE I THOUGHT ABOUT IT IS THAT THEY'RE ACTUALLY TWO ASPECTS OF THE SAME REVOLUTION.

ALEXANDER HAMILTON, ACCORDING TO THE FIRST EDITOR OF HIS PAPERS, THE GREAT WORK OF HIS LIFE IS THAT HE CREATED A NATIONAL SENTIMENT.

IT'S NOT ABOUT STARTING THE TREASURY.

IT'S NOT ABOUT THE DEBT PLAN OR ANYTHING ELSE.

IT'S THAT HE CONVINCED THE MEN AND WOMEN WHO LIVED IN THE COLONIES AND THEN IN THE STATES THAT THEY COULD COME TOGETHER AND THEY COULD BUILD A UNION THAT WOULD MAKE THEM ALL STRONG AND FREE.

WHAT I SEE HAPPENING AROUND HAMILTON NOW IS A LITTLE BIT OF THE SAME THING.

YOU'VE GOT THIS SHOW, WHICH BY ANY REASONABLE STANDARD SHOULD NEVER HAVE BEEN WRITTEN.

I MEAN, IT DOESN'T MAKE ANY SENSE THAT LIN HAD THIS IDEA.

IT CERTAINLY DOESN'T MAKE SENSE THAT IT WORKED AS WELL AS IT WORKED, BUT NOW LOOK WHAT'S HAPPENING.

ALL OF THESE PEOPLE WHO WOULD NOT OTHERWISE FIND A LOT OF REASONS TO IDENTIFY WITH EACH OTHER OR FIND COMMON GROUND ARE REALIZING THAT THEY HAVE MORE IN COMMON THAN THEY THOUGHT.

JEREMY, THANK YOU SO MUCH.

THE BOOK IS REALLY A WONDERFUL COMPANION TO THE MUSICAL, AND IF YOU CAN'T GET TO THE MUSICAL, READ THE BOOK.

EVEN IF YOU CAN GET TO THE MUSICAL.

THAT'S RIGHT, OF COURSE.

JEREMY, THANK YOU SO MUCH.

THANK YOU.

♪♪ ♪♪

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