The hit musical, “Hamilton,” has been honored with 16 Tony nominations for this year’s Tony Awards, breaking the previous record of 15 nominations set by “The Producers” in 2001 and “Billy Elliott” in 2009. The show tells the story of Alexander Hamilton, a founding father who was famous for not only his many political achievements, but also for his dramatic personal life. That personal life made great material for a musical, in the eyes of Lin-Manuel Miranda, author of the music, lyrics, and book of this astounding show.
The musical has done extraordinarily well on Broadway. It uses mostly actors of color and the music is hip-hop and rap based. Miranda knew what he was doing when he chose Alexander Hamilton’s life for a rap and hip-hop musical; those genres tend to use more words in their lyrics, hence all the more words to be used in telling such a complicated story. The impact of the show in its casting, lyrics, staging, and musical choices on history, pop culture, and musicals overall is still being realized.
When the Tony Awards are broadcasted on June 12, 2016, “Hamilton” will be up for an unprecedented 16 awards. Not only has the show earned seven nominations for the acting in the show, it was also nominated for Best Scenic Design, Best Costumes, Best Lighting Design, Best Direction, Best Choreography, Best Orchestration, Best Book, and Best Original Score. The acting nominations have gone to Lin-Manuel Miranda himself for playing the title role of Alexander Hamilton, but also to Leslie Odom Jr for his role as Hamilton’s nemesis Aaron Burr; to Phillipa Soo for her role as Hamilton’s wife, Eliza; to Daveed Diggs for his dual roles as the Marquis de Lafayette and as Thomas Jefferson; to Jonathan Groff (the only white actor in the main cast) for his role as King George III; to Christopher Jackson for his role as George Washington; and to Renee Elise Goldsberry for her role as Angelica Schuyler, the competing love interest to Hamilton and sister to Hamilton’s wife, Eliza.
“Hamilton” has already been nominated for and won several Lucille Lortel Awards, Outer Critics Circle Awards, Drama League Awards, Drama Desk Awards, a New York Drama Critics Circle Award, an Off Broadway Alliance Award, a Theatre World Award, a Clarence Derwent Award, an Obie Award, an Edgerton Foundation New American Play Award, Drama League Awards, a Pulitzer Prize for Drama, a Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album, an NAACP Image Award, a Dramatists Guild of America award, and an Edward M. Kennedy Prize. The show was ranked by Billboard as Number Two of the 25 Best Albums of 2015, and by Rolling Stone as Number Eight of the 50 best Albums of 2015.
This musical has made such a big impact, it’s even influencing who’s on our money! Treasury Secretary Jack Lew was met with resistance when he announced that the next bill of American currency was the 10 dollar bill, which currently features Alexander Hamilton himself. Instead, plans were announced to put Harriet Tubman on the 20 dollar bill, which currently features Andrew Jackson.
But good luck getting a ticket to see “Hamilton” if you don’t have many dollars to spare. Tickets to the show on Ticketmaster are sold out for months in advance, and only resold tickets are available for $460 to $1,375 a pop. According to Bloomberg News, scalpers selling “Hamilton” tickets are pocketing about $240,000 every week. There’s not much we can do besides wait for the hype to die down–but will it ever? It seems like this is a show that will keep audiences salivating over its performances for many months to come. And until then, the rest of us who aren’t so lucky to go see the show on Broadway will have to be satisfied with listening to the soundtrack on Spotify, over and over and over…