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From Miranda’s ‘joke’ to Obama’s White House, from Broadway to Chicago and back


September 1789: Alexander Hamilton was the first U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, serving until 1795.

March 2008: “On High” opens on BroadwayA musical written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, directed by Thomas Kail, choreographed by Andy Blankenbuehler and musical directed by Alex Lacamoire. It wins the Tony Award for best musical and announces Miranda’s name. Later that year, during a vacation, Miranda begins reading historian Ron Chernow’s biography of “Alexander Hamilton” (Penguin, 2004) and gets the idea that the story might be a hip-hop concept album. He mentions this idea to Jeremy McCarter; he also presumes that he was joking at first, according to their co-written book “Hamilton: The Revolution” (2016, Grand Central) about the development of the musical.

May 2009: Miranda was invited to the show “Hamilton Mixed List” Piano accompaniment by Lacamoire at the White House Night of Poetry, Music, and Words for Obama’s first family. He got a standing ovation. The song was adapted into the opening number of the musical.

July 2013: A first draft of the musical, which is currently titled “The Hamilton Mixtape,” is being worked on at the Vassar Reading Festival in Poughkeepsie, New York.

February 2015: “Hamilton’s” Public Theater debut off-Broadway is pretty much the same as the creative team on “In the Heights,” including Lacamoire, directed by Kail and choreographed by Blankenbuehler. Set design by David Korins.

August 2015: opening night on Broadway At the Richard Rodgers Theatre, with Miranda as Alexander, produced by Jeffrey Seller. “Hamilton” won 11 Tony Awards, including best musical.

October 2016: First post-Broadway production opens in Chicago In the then Private Bank Theater on Monroe Street (now the CIBC Theatre), Miguel Cervantes as Alexander. In November, vice president-elect Mike Pence attended a Broadway show and was addressed by the cast during the curtain close.

2017: The first national tour begins in San Francisco in March. “Hamilton” opens in London’s West End in December. The acclaimed Joshua Henry is stepping down from his role as Chicago’s Aaron Burr in January and is briefly replaced by Wayne Brady.

2018: “Hamilton: Exhibit” announced for Chicago’s Northerly Island. A second national tour begins in Seattle, and during the holiday “Hamilton’s” Broadway production sets a new box office record, grossing more than $4 million in a single week.

2019: In January, “Hamilton” plays a famous three-week run at the Centro de Bellas Artes in San Juan, Puerto Rico, with Miranda briefly returning to the role of Alexander. The Puerto Rican production was their third US tour. “Hamilton: Exhibition” opens on Northerly Island in late April and it closes at the end of August (earlier than expected).

2020: Chicago production of “Hamilton” closes on January 5th At the CIBC Theatre, just two months before the pandemic shut down theaters nationwide. The show had box office sales of nearly $400 million in 3½ years. In July, a filmed version of director Thomas Kail’s music releases on Disney Plus. Later that month, Miranda replied “Everything is fair game,” he tweeted, citing criticism of the show’s failure to fully acknowledge slavery.

2022: The first non-English production of “Hamilton” opens in Hamburg, translated into German.

2023: First return engagement to Chicago for musical announced. The show will take place from September 13 to December 30 at the Nederlander Theatre. On the US tour, Pierre Jean Gonzalez stars as Hamilton and Goodman in Deon as Aaron Burr.



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