Did you know that the opening number of “Hamilton” originally had a different hook?
Did you know that Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote Alexander Hamilton’s final song in the play after he spent some quiet time with his son?
Did you know that Miranda plays tribute to Mobb Deep in the musical's rap lyrics?
All of these facts were revealed by Miranda when he spoke at the Qualtrics X4 Summit in Salt Lake City on Thursday afternoon.
Miranda, who created the musical “Hamilton,” which will arrive in Salt Lake City in April, sat down for an interview with Qualtrics co-founder and CEO Ryan Smith.
Miranda spoke about the beginning of his career and how he began as a writer. He said he always loved the idea of writing a play because he could play any of the parts he wanted.
"Writing is a heightened form of acting,” he said.
When he was developing as a writer, Miranda said his mom gave him the advice that you can learn from every experience — whether it's chores or heartbreak or losing friends.
His mother told him to remember when you're feeling sad, when you're feeling heartbroken, when you're at your lowest, because you can use it as a writer, according to Miranda.
"She was training me, without even knowing it, how to be an artist."
Miranda said it took him nine years to develop “In the Heights,” his first Broadway muscial. Success, he said, didn’t come so easily.
Miranda said he first came up with the idea for "Hamilton” when he visited a Borders bookstore and saw Ron Chernow’s biography on the Founding Father. He said he came up with the idea for rap songs because of the sheer volume of words in Hamilton's speeches.
He then Googled for a hip-hop performance of Hamilton. No one had done it.
So he knew this was his shot.
Miranda said he debuted “Hamiltons” opening song at the White House during a poetry jam, where he was asked to perform any song he had performed before, unless he had something new.
So, he decided to perform “Alexander Hamilton,” what is now the musical's opening number. He said the original lyrics had a hook about how there were no monuments honoring Hamilton, but he soon realized there are many across the United States.
Miranda said he came up with the idea of Hamilton’s final song in the musical — “The World Was Wide Enough” — while sitting with his son, who was quietly sleeping on his chest.
“We haven’t had a moment when there’s no music and no band and it’s just quiet,” he said.
The show has since become a worldwide success.
But no matter how big it gets, the story is still fitting in today’s society, Miranda said.
He said the show deals with two drap battles on two issues — the debate over federal and states' rights and when to help out other countries.
“You could sub in Iraq, Syria and anything else happening in the world and what is our responsibility” to help other countries, he said.
And, he said, “every character in the show, except for George Washington, die from gun violence,” which is a major issue in today’s society, he said.1 comment on this story
He also said the play shows elements of slavery.
“The past isn’t even past,” he said.
Miranda said that the play is as much about Alexander’s wife, Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton.
Even though Hamilton died from a duel and his political rivals all became president, his wife lived a lot longer. She even met Abraham Lincoln.
“We live our life, we do what we can … but we don’t get really a say in what people say about us when we die,” he said.
“She outlives everybody,” he said, of Hamilton’s wife Eliza. “She’s a hero.”