The Success of Hamilton on Broadway

Yvonne AK Johnson

On August 6th 2015, with $30 million in advance sales, Hamilton opened on Broadway at The Richard Rodgers Theatre. Lin-Manuel Miranda is the lyricist, writer, composer, and star of this extremely successful show. For the first preview, about 12,000 people entered a lottery to win two free tickets. And throughout the first preview week some 700 people lined up outside the theater everyday to enter another lottery, this one for $10 tickets for the front row of seats. President Barack Obama and his daughters, in addition to many other influential people and celebrities, were present at the shows previews. In its first full week of performances after opening, Hamilton brought in $1,459,314 and during the week of November 28th the cast album made it to number 1 on the Billboard Rap Album Chart. This widely popular show is something so new and different that it has been a game changer for Broadway. It is expected to sweep the Tony Awards in June.

Hamilton is set in the early years of America and follows the rise of immigrant Alexander Hamilton from a poor nobody to the President’s right hand man. It is a show about young rebels who grab and shape the future of an unformed country. The play is as much about politics as it is an opus about emotion. A fascinating part of Hamilton is that the show’s Founding Fathers are all actors of diverse races and ethnicities, but you barely notice it.

There are no movie stars in the cast and the show isn’t a revival- it breaks every rule of Broadway success. So what makes Hamilton so popular? Hamilton reminds us why America is so great and it makes us remember that at one point most Americans were from somewhere else. The story itself makes us feel patriotic and think about the current situation of immigration in America. The music in Hamilton is another reason that this show has become extremely popular and successful. It incorporates multiple musical styles such as rap, jazz, pop and hip-hop. The whole story unfolds through songs that have a modern rhythm and pulsing energy. Jonathan Groff, who plays the role of King George in the show, believes that this show is so popular because “it’s storytelling and an original piece of theater that has inspired all this excitement.”

You can buy tickets to see Hamilton here. But be warned, the first show with tickets available isn’t until April 2016.

Yvonne AK Johnson

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