The young poet behind Broadway’s raddest, history-making show

“Hamilton,” a new musical on Broadway, finally opened on Thursday night, after weeks of insanely-positive reviews in advance of its official premiere. President Obama, along with Sasha and Malia, already saw it during previews last month and reportedly applauded loudly.

“Yes, it really is that good,” the New York Times proclaimed in their rave review of the show.

It’s not exaggerating to call “Hamilton” one of the most highly-anticipated shows in years — and the positive buzz is all thanks to the creator and star, Lin-Manuel Miranda.

Miranda is no stranger to Broadway acclaim. He also wrote “In The Heights,” a hit Broadway show that he says was inspired by growing up in northern Manhattan and hearing the mixture of music around him.

Miranda originally wrote “In The Heights” while he was a sophomore at Wesleyan University. He reworked the production for years, and it got to Broadway in 2008.

When a Broadway producer showed interest in “In The Heights,” Miranda was teaching at his old high school, Hunter College High School in New York. He was teaching seventh grade English and enjoyed teaching his students books like Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart and Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which he had them perform in class.

The school asked him to teach part-time — rather than sub — and Miranda, following his father’s advice, took a risk and pursued his creative interests instead, according to an interview in Playbill. It paid off. “In The Heights” got Miranda a Grammy for Best Musical Show Album and won the Emmys for Best Musical, Best Original Score, Best Choreography and Best Orchestration.

Now, it looks like Miranda will again see the same kind of success with “Hamilton.” The show tells the story of Alexander Hamilton, played by Miranda, and is musically based in rap. “Hamilton” was inspired by Ron Chernow’s biography “Alexander Hamilton,” about America’s first secretary of the Treasury.

Miranda told the New York Times it was a perfectly logical move to set the story to rap, explaining that Hamilton’s character fit the stereotype of a rapper — talented, egotistic, combative, and ambitious. Not to mention, word: Hamilton wrote 27 piece of written work, and rap is arguably the wordiest genre of music.

Miranda originally performed a rap about Alexander Hamilton at the White House in 2009, during the White House Evening of Poetry, Music, and the Spoken Word.

The president apparently liked this performance enough to come back for the real thing during previews in July. And President Obama’s not the only excited one — on the first day of the lottery for tickets to “Hamilton,” over 700 people lined up, according to Playbill. Wow.

(Image via Hamilton on Broadway.)

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