“Cultural transfer starts with imitation, but eventually the imitation gets better than the original. Immigrants of all colors are making great contributions to our country now that will have an impact for generations to come. This was the magic of Alexander Hamilton, and it is the magic of “Hamilton” by Lin-Manuel Miranda.”
~ New York Latin Culture
Lin-Manuel Miranda is a New Yorker with a Puerto Rican heritage. Miranda first gained prominence by writing the 2008 Tony® Award-winning Broadway musical In the Heights. That was about the Caribbean communities in Washington Heights, New York City which is now mostly Dominican.
Hamilton Heights is the neighborhood just south of Washington Heights. We wonder if that played a role in getting Miranda to pick up the Ron Chernow book about Alexander Hamilton. If this were true, Miranda’s next show might be “Morningside” after Morningside Heights, the home of Columbia University, or perhaps a tale of the Harlem Renaissance. How about “The Rose of Spanish Harlem” after the Aretha Franklin song. Then Miranda has all of Manhattan to cover, although West Side Story has already been done. This just keeps getting better.
The United States is a country of immigrants. New York City is a city of immigrants. Hamilton was a poor immigrant. Let’s be honest, we give immigrants a hard time, but eventually they make important contributions to our society. Both Alexander Hamilton and Lin-Manuel Miranda are great Americans who are part of the ever-changing story of our country.
It’s highly likely that Hamilton will become an American standard that stays with us for years. It’s education, inspiring, and fun. That’s Broadway.
POSTSCRIPT: We are grateful to the Native American, Dutch, and English cultures that laid the foundations for our country which allow us to be a multicultural society today in the best sense of that word.
Hamilton won “Best Musical” Obie Award, Lucille Lortel Award, Outer Critics Circle Award, New York Drama Critics Award, and a Drama Desk Award.
In an unusual play, “Hamilton” held its move from the Public Theater to Broadway so it could compete in the 2016 Tony® Awards instead of in 2015. “Hamilton” was nominated for a record 16 Tony Awards, and won 11.
Lin-Manuel Miranda won Tonys for Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical, and Best Original Score. Leslie Odom, Jr. won Best Actor in a Musical. Daveed Diggs won Best Featured Actor in a Musical. Renée Elise Goldsberry won Best Featured Actress in a Musical. Paul Tazewell won Best Costume Design of a Musical. Howell Binkley won Best Lighting Design of a Musical. Thomas kall won Best Direction of a Musical. Andy Blankenbuehler won Best Choreography. Alex Lacamoire won Best Orchestrations.
About Alexander Hamilton
Alexander Hamilton (1755/57 – 1804) was born in the Caribbean island nation of Nevis, one of the small islands of the Lesser Antilles, east of Puerto Rico. Fatherless and orphaned as a child, Hamilton made his way to New York City at age 17 where he was noticed for his talent, making his way to a degree from what is now Columbia University.
Hamilton is one of our country’s founding fathers. He played a role in the American Revolutionary War as an aide to George Washington, founded the Bank of New York (now The Bank of New York Mellon), helped develop the American Constitution, founded our American financial system, and founded the first American political party, the Federalist Party. When did Hamilton sleep?
As the first U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, Hamilton crafted the deal that allowed the U.S. to pay our Revolutionary War debt by selling bonds. As part of the deal, our nation’s capital was moved from New York City to Washington D.C. This was the foundation of our U.S. financial system which has now grown into the world’s financial system.
School children in the United States learn about the 1804 duel between arch-rivals Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton that ended Hamilton’s life. The founding father is buried in Trinity Church downtown. He deserves a long, restful sleep and our eternal gratitude. He did pretty good for an orphan from the Caribbean.
This article was originally published on September 1, 2015.