Here’s How the Hip-Hop Musical ‘Hamilton’ Was Created
This August, Lin-Manuel Miranda's Hamilton opened on Broadway at the Richard Rodgers Theatre. By Labor Day weekend, it was the second-highest grossing play in New York, behind only The Lion King. So how does a hip-hop musical about one of the founding fathers who never became President cause such a splash in the arts community? Charlie Rose investigated for 60 Minutes, spending time with Miranda and members of the Hamilton cast and crew. Citing the need to paint Hamilton as a "world-beating intellect," Miranda made sure the banking pioneer was employing decidedly modern cadences and rhyme schemes, whereas some of his less inspired peers were stuck "in the place to be." Though Rose notes the show is accessible to people who have little prior experience with hip-hop, Miranda is careful to note that rappers and producers have expressed their support and admiration.
Miranda made his first foray into Broadway in 2008 with In the Heights, another rap-based show which eventually won the Tony for Best Musical. (Hamilton is eligible for the 2016 awards season.) This year, the playwright and rapper was awarded the MacArthur Genius grant, which pays promising individuals a total of $625,000 over five years in quarterly installments. The Roots were so thoroughly impressed by his new work that they agreed to produce the cast album. (In his 60 Minutes spot, Miranda recalls being unable to afford Broadway tickets, but studying the form via the recordings.) Below, watch him freestyle with Black Thought on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.