A Guide to the Hamilton The Musical

By | Posted on 30-Jun-2020

A Guide to the Hamilton The Musical

It is the moment that we have all been waiting for. This weekend on Disney+, Hamilton The Musical will be released worldwide for viewers to watch.

Filmed live on Broadway with the original Broadway cast, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s multi-award-winning musical about the life of the American Founding Father has captured the hearts and minds of audiences around the world, blending hip-hop, jazz, blues, rap, R&B and Broadway sounds to create an epic musical.

One of the stand-out shows of the decade, find out more about the rise of Hamilton on Broadway, in the West End and around the world now.

Hamilton: From Broadway to the West End

Is Hamilton based on a true story?

With the musical focusing on Alexander Hamilton’s life, it’s no surprise that the stories told in Hamilton are based on real events.

Based on Ron Chernow’s 2004 biography of the founding father, Hamilton tells the story of a new, revolutionary America bursting with energy and optimism, matched with the contemporary sounds of a present-day United States.

Growing up an orphan, audiences first meet Alexander Hamilton as a plucky 19-year-old wanting to make a difference in society. Meeting influential people in New York including Aaron Burr and Hercules Mulligan, Hamilton finds himself immersed in a brand new life that’s far away from his comfort zone. Falling in love and rising through the political ranks at great speed, he eventually becomes George Washington’s right-hand man, assisting Washington to propel America through a revolutionary era like no other.

As the story of Hamilton unfolds, audiences learn about his public and private lives, including explosive cabinet battles as well as his involvement in what’s considered to be the first sex scandal in America.

Simultaneously informing audiences about the history of the United States to 21st-century sounds, Hamilton reflects both the foundation of the American nation as well as the country today in an epic musical that’s become one of the biggest shows this century.

Where did inspiration for Hamilton come from?

Although Hamilton has taken over the theatre world in recent years, initial inspiration for Hamilton first came over a decade ago.

In 2008, the show’s creator Lin-Manuel Miranda began reading Ron Chernow’s biography about Alexander Hamilton on holiday, immediately believing that his would translate well for the stage. In an interview with CNBC, Miranda spoke of his emotions towards reading the acclaimed biography. Swept up in his emotional life story, Miranda said: “It’s uniquely an immigrant story and it’s uniquely a story about writers”.

Starting work on the musical soon after, Miranda was later invited to perform at the White House in 2009. Performing an early version of ‘My Shot’ at the White House, it took a further six years for Hamilton to be completed. The musical received its world premiere at The Public Theater in January 2015, going on to inspire the lives of audience members around the world forevermore.

Who is Lin-Manuel Miranda?

Lin-Manuel Miranda is an award-winning writer and composer, whose catalogue of award-winning musicals include Hamilton, In the Heights and Bring It On. He has also starred in Mary Poppins Returns opposite Emily Blunt, as well as writing the lyrics for songs in Moana.

When was Hamilton first performed?

Hamilton received its world premiere in 2015 and has since gone on to be performed around the world. Take a look at where Hamilton has been performed charting the rise of the historically-inspired musical.

Off-BroadwayThe Public Theater20th January 2015 – 3rd May 2015
BroadwayRichard Rodgers Theatre13th July 2015 – Present
ChicagoCIBC Theatre27th September 2016 – 5th January 2020
West EndVictoria Palace Theatre6th December 2017 – Present
Puerto RicoUniversity of Puerto Rico’s Teatro UPR11th January 2019 – 27th January 2019

Who was in the original Broadway cast?

The original Broadway cast of Hamilton starred Lin-Manuel Miranda in the titular role, with Leslie Odom Jr. as Hamilton’s long-standing foe Aaron BurrJonathan Groff starred as King George III, with the Schuyler Sisters played by Renee Elise Goldberry, Phillipa Soo and Jasmine Cephas Jones as Angelica, Eliza and Peggy respectively, with Cephas Jones also playing the role of Maria Reynolds.

Christopher Jackson originated the role of George Washington, with Daveed Diggs as Marquis de Lafayette/Thomas Jefferson, Okieriete Onaodowan as Hercules Mulligan/James Madison, Anthony Ramos as John Laurens/Philip Hamilton.

The creative team of Hamilton is completed by Lin-Manuel Miranda, who wrote the book, music and lyrics. The musical is directed by Thomas Kail, choreographed by Andy Blankenbuehler, set design by David Korins, costume design by Paul Tazewell, lighting design by Howell Binkley and sound design by Nevin Steinberg. Music Direction and Orchestrations are by Alex Lacamoire.

Where can I listen to the songs?

With a global buzz about the originality of Hamilton as a sung-through musical, the original Broadway cast recording skyrocketed the musical’s popularity around the world. Released on 25th September 2015, Hamilton reached number 1 on the Billboard Rap album charts and number 12 on the Billboard 200 albums chart, the highest musical-theatre album entry for over 60 years.

After the success of Hamilton on Broadway, the Hamilton Mixtape was released in 2017, with popular hip-hop, rap and R&B artists covering songs from the musical. Attracting a wider audience to the music of Hamilton, the album topped the Billboard 200 chart upon release.

When did Hamilton open in the West End?

Originally scheduled to begin previews on 21st November 2017, maintenance work at the Victoria Palace Theatre meant Hamilton began previews on 6th December 2017 with a press night on 21st December 2017. Currently, Hamilton is at the Victoria Palace Theatre with an extended booking period to 28th March 2020.

Who is starring in Hamilton in the West End?

The cast of Hamilton in the West End currently stars Karl Queensborough as Alexander Hamilton, Simon-Anthony Roden as Aaron Burr and Gavin Spokes as King George III.

The Schuyler sisters are played by Allyson Ava-Brown as Angelica, Sharon Rose as Eliza Hamilton and Emilie Louise Israel as Peggy Schuyler/Maria Reynolds.

Jason Pennycooke stars as Marquis de Lafayette/Thomas Jefferson with Trevor Dion Nicholas as George Washington, Emile Ruddock as Hercules Mulligan/James Madison and Carl Spencer as John Laurens/Philip Hamilton.

The cast is completed byJade Albertsen, Curtis Angus, Robson Broad, Ashley Daniels, Lisa Darnell, Kelly Downing, Lydia Fraser, Dujonna Gift-Simms, Manaia Glassey-Ohlson, Joe Griffiths-Brown, Gregory Haney, Peter Houston, Barney Hudson, DeAngelo Jones, Jake Halsey-Jones, Phoebe Liberty Jones, Travis Kerry, Natasha Leaver, Aaron Lee Lambert, Sinead Long, Louis Mackrodt, Jay Perry, Alexzandra Sarmiento and Lindsey Tierney.

What awards has Hamilton won?

Essentially sweeping the boards at both the Tony Awards and the Olivier Awards, check out which awards Hamilton has won on both sides of the pond.

Tony Awards

(winning categories in bold)

Best musicalHamilton
Best performance by a leading actor in a musicalLeslie Odom Jr. as Aaron Burr
Best performance by a leading actor in a musicalLin-Manuel Miranda as Alexander Hamilton
Best performance by a leading actress in a musicalPhilippa Soo as Eliza Hamilton
Best performance by a featured actor in a musicalDaveed Diggs as Lafayette/Jefferson
Best performance by a featured actor in a musicalJonathan Groff as King George III
Best performance by a featured actor in a musicalChristopher Jackson as George Washington
Best performance by a featured actress in a musicalRenee Elise Goldberry as Angelica Schuyler
Best book of a musicalLin-Manuel Miranda
Best scenic design of a musicalDavid Korins
Best costume design of a musicalPaul Tazewell
Best lighting design of a musicalHowell Binkley
Best direction of a musicalThomas Kail
Best choreography of a musicalAndy Blankenbuehler

Olivier Awards

(winning categories in bold)

Best new musicalHamilton
Best actor in a musicalGiles Terera as Aaron Burr
Best actor in a musicalJamael Westman as Alexander Hamilton
Best actor in a supporting role in a musicalMichael Jibson as King George III
Best actor in a supporting role in a musicalJason Pennycooke as Lafayette/Jefferson
Best actor in a supporting role in a musicalCleve September as Laurens/Hamilton
Best actress in a supporting role in a musicalRachel John as Angelica Schuyler
Best sound design of a musicalNevin Steinberg
Outstanding achievement in musicLin-Manuel Miranda and Alex Lacamoire
Best costume design of a musicalPaul Tazewell
Best lighting design of a musicalHowell Binkley
Best direction of a musicalThomas Kail
Best choreography of a musicalAndy Blankenbuehler

Where is Hamilton performed in the West End?

Hamilton is at the Victoria Palace Theatre. The Victoria Palace Theatre is located on Victoria Street (SW1E 5EA). The closest train station is London Victoria, which is a 2-minute walk away from the theatre. District, Circle and Victoria lines are also available from Victoria underground station.