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‘Hamilton’ musical wins Pulitzer Prize

The hip-hop musical about America’s founding fathers was an unexpected and massive hit


Rachael Revesz
New York
Monday 18 April 2016 20:46
'Hamilton' might be hip-hop but is also deeply patriotic and has become a tourist must-see
'Hamilton' might be hip-hop but is also deeply patriotic and has become a tourist must-see

If it was difficult to get tickets for “Hamilton” before, it will be almost impossible now.

The massive Broadway hip-hop musical, about America’s founding father Alexander Hamilton, has been awarded a Pulitzer Prize for drama.

Described by Mike Pride, administrator of the Pulitzer Prizes, as a “landmark American musical about a gifted and self-destructive founding father”, “Hamilton” is already sold out for months in advance.

Not only a phenomenal commercial success, the show is made up by a mostly non-white cast, and has pushed itself to the forefront of the nation’s debate on immigration and ethnic diversity.

One of its commonly-repeated refrains, “In New York, you can be a new man”, speaks to youth and the American dream of reinvention, and has drawn large, celebrity-packed crowds every night of the week. President Barack Obama has seen it twice.

It was created by the 35-year-old composer, rapper and actor Lin-Manuel Miranda, and it took five years of production before "Hamilton" hit the stage.

Mr Miranda, who stars in “Hamilton”, also wrote a play called “In The Heights" which is on show at the London King's Cross Theatre.

“If I was not performing every night, I’d be on the next plane there,” Mr Miranda told The Independent during an interview in December.

The play started Off Broadway at the Public Theatre last spring and received a first wave of positive reviews.

It has since moved to the Richard Rodgers Theatre and is grossing over a million pounds a week.

It tells the story of Mr Hamilton, the founding father who established America’s financial system and served as George Washington’s chief aide, but died in a duel with Vice President Aaron Burr.

In an interview with the New York Times, producer Jeffrey Seller said "Hamilton" could remain on Broadway for decades, and revenue could run into the billions of dollars, dwarfing other hits like “Rent" and even Hollywood blockbusters.

Mr Seller revealed that his previous play, “The Last Ship”, featuring music by Sting, closed its run after less than five months.

A runaway hit like “Hamilton” poses different challenges, he said, like how to advertise it without further agitating people who would like a ticket.

Tickets, if you can get one, are on sale through January 2017.

Winners of the other Pullitzer Prize categories can be found here.

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