How Lin-Manuel Miranda’s historical ‘Hamilton’ reflects America now: ‘It’s always going to have something to say’

Brian Truitt, USA TODAY Published 3:36 p.m. ET July 2, 2020 | Updated 4:29 p.m. ET July 3, 2020CLOSE Lin-Manuel Miranda tells USA TODAY’s Brian Truitt what resonates with him now about “Hamilton,” ahead of the musical’s release to Disney+. USA TODAYLin-Manuel Miranda takes off his cap and tousles his longish quarantine hair, like he’s…


Published 3: 36 p.m. ET July 2, 2020 | Updated 4: 29 p.m. ET July 3, 2020


Lin-Manuel Miranda tells USA TODAY’s Brian Truitt what resonates with him now about”Hamilton,” ahead of the musical’s launch to Disney+.


Lin-Manuel Miranda takes his cap off and tousles his longish quarantine hair, like he’s ready to get back on stage, throw on that colonial coat and rap historical rhymes as Alexander Hamilton in a minute’s notice. 

“I haven’t cut my own hair and I believe it’s because I miss it,” Miranda says through video interview of playing with the flowingly coiffed fundamental character of the Tony Award-winning, history-making musical“Hamilton.”  “It also helps that my wife enjoys the hair.” 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the only way anybody can watch “Hamilton” anytime soon is on Disney+ (beginning Friday), although the upside is this filmed creation of the series will be streamed by a legion of new fans.

‘Hamilton’ for newbies: Can Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Disney+ movie live up to this Broadway hype?

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“What blows my mind is more people will see the show on July 3, 4 and 5than ever have seen it from the previous five years,” says Miranda, 40, of”Hamilton,” which began its record-breaking Broadway operate in 2015 before becoming a touring attraction. “Even though that is only the Disney+ readers that exist now, that is 50 million people. I am really grateful that the wider world can see it in this manner.”


“Hamilton” founder Lin-Manuel Miranda chats with USA TODAY’s Brian Truitt about homeschooling his 5-year-old, quarantine grocery shopping and much more.


The first action of this genre-smashing musical, together with Black and Latino actors playing with the Founding Fathers, takes Alexander Hamilton through the Revolutionary War, where he was the right-hand man of George Washington (Christopher Jackson) and the husband of Eliza Schuyler (Phillipa Soo).  The second action shifts to Hamilton’s tumultuous political and personal lives as a rival to Thomas Jefferson (Daveed Diggs) and longtime friend Aaron Burr (Leslie Odom Jr.).

Directed by Thomas Kail, the”Hamilton” movie was primarily filmed in 2016 more than two live performances before first cast members started to exit — and a week before Miranda departed. The show’s brain trust wanted the musical to become more accessible to crowds after”we had been restricted to that rocket ship” of being a Broadway sensation and the show became a tough ticket to get, he says.

Over time, Miranda has found it intriguing how”Hamilton” has moved through the entire world and through time,”in the moment I got the unbelievable privilege of singing the first song in the White House (in 2009), back when we had a president that encouraged artists to the White House, to watching the series resonate beneath the Trump administration.”

As an example, there used to just be a laugh with the line”Immigrants, we get the job done.” It gets a”Yeaaaaaaah!” From the audience”as immigrants have been under attack” in the USA, Miranda states.

With the national conversation now centered on white supremacy and systemic racism,”the lyrics regarding slavery — exactly what all of these personalities did and what they did not do — struck differently today since the series, just in telling Hamilton’s story, brushes from the roots of the nation. It’s always going to have some thing to say,” Miranda says. “When I had any insight in the writing of the thing, it was all that was present in the foundation is still present: the sins of it, the paradoxes of it, the methods by which we fall short of this perfect’All men are created equal’ the minute we wrote it down.”


A filmed production of the Tony-winning Broadway musical”Hamilton,” starring Lin-Manuel Miranda as Alexander Hamilton, debuts on Disney+ July 3.


Having recently watched the film, what stands out to Miranda now is how young the people were who fought in the Revolutionary War — Hamilton, for instance, was at his ancient 20s — and how young the people are leading the charge in the protests occurring as a consequence of George Floyd’s death.

“I’m inspired when I see a sign at a Black Lives Matter demonstration that says,’History has its eyes on you,'” says Miranda, speaking to the”Hamilton” tune in which Washington tells Hamilton about a tragic failure in his first control. The pandemic has forced”a true reckoning of what kind of country we want this to be. That is an unexpected resonance, just young people demanding change that kind of echoes across centuries.”


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Another thing Miranda detected with all the”Hamilton” film:”That is the most exhausted I’ve ever been,” he says with a laugh. “I had a newborn child, I had been doing two outside performances for a million people out on the street each week, and that I was doing seven shows a week.”

Still, he misses it. “I’m sure I’ll jump in again,” says Miranda, who’s now on coronavirus-forced hiatus from directing his own film musical, the late Jonathan Larson’s”Tick, Tick… Boom!”

“Playing Hamilton is a 14-class meal,” he states. “You have to do all the items: You grow up, you fall in love, you’ve got gunfights, you’ve affairs, you’ve got amazing verbal battles, you fight in wars.

“There was such a hullabaloo when I was leaving the show, and even then, I tried to tell people,’Men, I wrote a part in it I can return to repeatedly. You’re going to be so ill of me when I’m on my sixth revival tour of this.'”


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