Updated: Apr 19
In 2009, Lin-Manuel Miranda, a Puerto Rican writer known for writing the Tony-winning musical “In The Heights,” came to the stage and brought us what was then, a song called “Alexander Hamilton,” where Lin, himself, talks about the early struggles of one of the founding fathers of the United States. He was laughed at. No one knew what was about to happen with this man and his talents.
Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical piece was heavily inspired by the book “Alexander Hamilton,” by Ron Chernow. This book was a memoir of Treasury Secretary Hamilton. But who was Lin, and why was he so invested in knowing, and soon telling, the story of this man? Miranda was born in New York, New York, more specifically Manhattan, where his early life influenced his future life and career. Lin would notice things that others might not. Like how there was so much injustice, even then. By 28 years old, he had written and starred in “In The Heights”, where the lyrics “Lights up on Washington Heights, up at the break of day,” grabbed people’s attention.
Hamilton was just an idea that passed through Miranda’s mind here and there. He didn’t think it would become what it became, let alone grab as many people’s attention. I mean, it is about a white man who was liked control and fought to be able to make sure that he, and generations after him had that control.
In the book “Failing Up,” by Leslie Odom, Jr., who played Aaron Burr, he says how in awe he was of being able to have this chance of a lifetime, and that’s exactly what it was. Leslie also says how he was involved with the writers and producers. At the point that Leslie Odom, Jr. joined in on making Hamilton become an actual thing, there were very few people working on it. Along with himself and Lin, there was Daveed Diggs, Chris Jackson, and a few others. Hamilton was a work of magic, so to say. It touched on many subjects that others don’t. And if you’ve never heard anything from it, seen a film or picture of it, or live under a rock, you should know that this cast is one of the most diverse casts that has ever been seen on Broadway. The cast consisted of people from all walks of life, genders, sexualities, religions, beliefs, and races. This musical showed what it was like to live in the late 1700s. It showed how women didn’t have the rights to vote, work, or participate in many things besides finding themselves a wealthy husband and taking care of the children that would come after the marriage took place. It showed how women wanted more from their lives than that.
There’s a line in the song “The Schuyler Sisters” that I have in mind, “I’ve been reading Common Sense by Thomas Paine. So men say that I’m intense or I’m insane.” That line shows that Angelica Schulyer had struggles with dating and finding a suitable man for her, something that we would later on learn was exactly what was happening. She was the oldest of three sisters, showing her struggle of being seen as the girl who was going to have to make sure her father’s legacy was continued on well. That’s a reason why she knew that she could never wed Alexander Hamilton. Angelica Schuyler was played by Renee Elise Goldsberry, who has gone onto win the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical.
Phillipa Soo, who played Eliza Schuyler, will always be known for bringing the song “Burn” to us. She shows how heartbroken Eliza was when she found out that the love of her life had an affair while she was off with her sister on a vacation. Back then, and sadly even now, affairs were common. Eliza found out that her husband had slept with Maria Reynolds, a married woman. I believe that why we have so many affair scandals with men who are politicians and popular is because they’ve never been taught how to control power. This was just proving my point.
Another mentionable role in this musical would be the portrayal of Marquis de Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson, done incredibly by Daveed Diggs. Diggs has gone onto win a Grammy Award and a Tony Award for being in Hamilton. You can also see Daveed in the television show, Blackish, along with many, many more films and shows. Basically, if you turn on your TV, you’ll see or hear Daveed Diggs in some form. He has recently been in the new Pixar film, Soul. Hamilton changed the way that we viewed this story. We saw how the side of Aaron Burr’s story wasn’t told to the full extent. We stopped seeing Burr as the bad guy and more of the guy who grieved. I’m not saying what Burr did to Hamilton is right. It’s not. Violence wasn't the answer. Never before had we seen this diverse cast of a musical. We hadn’t ever experienced the beauty that was hip-hop stirred into Broadway until Lin-Manuel Miranda brought it to us, and we were never introduced to the love affair we have with Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr. I can never promise someone that I won’t cry during or at the end of Hamilton. I never fail to have a few tears in my eyes while listening or watching Hamilton. This musical brought me to my love of Broadway I had been pushing to the side. Those who don’t like musicals were brought to this musical because of the hype that was brought up from it. This musical, by far, dominated the spot for best musical ever written.
When I was very young, I thought of middle and high school as something that would be full of fun and I could be able to do whatever I wanted. I never expected to find something that I was so passionately dedicated to and willing to debate about as the top spot for best musical ever written.
Think about it. Musicals are pretty awesome. I like them because they show a story. If you listen to the first song to the last song, you’ve listened to a story. You can probably ask every person you know to name all the musicals they know. They most likely will say Hamilton first. The awesome thing about Hamilton is that everyone has heard about it. I was completely shocked when my grandmother knew who Lin-Manuel Miranda is. She doesn’t have WIFI, but she does know who Lin-Manuel Miranda is.
I don’t think that there will ever be a musical written that is as amazing and beautifully diverse as Hamilton is. Although this story is mainly about white people, they were able to create a place where being what you are wasn’t discriminated against.
I believe that Lin-Manuel Miranda will go down in history as one of the most influential, talented, and creative people in the world. He took a story about a founding father of the United States and made it interesting to teenagers, adults, and elders. I don’t think anyone else can successfully do that. I’ll wait.
I also believe that Hamilton will be remembered for thousands of years. You might not remember musicals from this time in 10-30 years, but you most likely will remember Hamilton and how you felt when you first listen to or watched it.
And that’s why Hamilton is the best musical ever written.
SaraJane Devereaux is a writer from Las Vegas, Nevada. SaraJane plans to study English in college. Her goals are to become a New York Times Bestselling Author and be a writer in the film industry. SaraJane has been published for poetry in Ice lolly Review's Issues 3-6, Feed Us With Words Literary Collection 1, and Blue Things Zine Issue 1. SaraJane is very passionate about her love for Hamilton.