HamHistory: Review 8 Years of Hamilton Via Lin-Manuel Miranda's Twitter Updates
Go back in time with Lin-Manuel as he creates his "masterpiece."
Creating a musical takes time. A lot of time. Years of research and rewrites. Of table reads and workshopping new songs. In the case of composer/lyricist/bookwriter Lin-Manuel Miranda's Hamilton, that genesis happened over the course of eight years. Not a remarkably long or short period of time in the development of a new musical, but what is unique about the Hamilton process is that the entire Twitter universe (or, at the very least, 71K of Miranda's followers) got to witness its creation through tweets, videos, photographs, and even late-night live-streaming video chats where Miranda answered questions about everything from (then called) The Hamilton Mixtape to Grand Theft Auto 5. This was the first time the public saw glimpses of, from beginning to end and in real time via the Internet, the birth of a new Broadway musical.
We compiled 50 of Miranda's tweets — from as far back as Twitter would allow us to go to till the present — to create a social-media timeline of Hamilton's evolution.
1. 2008: Where it all started. LMM recently tweeted a #MrowbackMonday (his spin on a #tbt) of himself reading Ron Chernow's Hamilton biography on vacation in 2008 (before Miranda joined Twitter).
2. 2009: LMM debuted the first song, which is now the opening song of Hamilton, at the White House Evening of Poetry, Music, and the Spoken Word. We can all thank Ambassador Patrick Gaspard for that.
Hey @patrickgaspard, thanks for booking me at the White House in 2009. That was awfully nice of you. Great to see you and meet fam tonight.— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) March 20, 2015
3. May 13, 2011: The Daily Show's Jon Stewart rants about the White House Evening of Poetry, Music, and the Spoken Word and pokes fun at Alexander Hamilton being the subject of a rap song. LMM tweets a link to the video (which has been moved to here).
Not to worry, Stewart seems to be warming to the idea these days.
To the video: //www.thedailyshow.com/watch/wed-may-13-2009/old-man-stewart-shakes-his-fist-at-white-house-poetry-jams?xrs=share_copy— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) May 12, 2011
5. June 8, 2011: LMM talks with Hamilton biographer (and the show's historical consultant) Ron Chernow. There are a few social-media shout outs to meetings Miranda has with Chernow over the course of his writing process.
Just spent a few hours talkin Hamilton n life with Big Homey Ron Chernow. Now sitting in an amazing Bklyn Barnes & Noble! #ganando— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) June 8, 2011
6. June 20, 2011: LMM tries out a new Hamilton tune at the Ars Nova fundraiser. (A quick YouTube search revealed that people honored the no-cameras request. Good job, Twitterico!)
I am testing a NEW Hamilton song tonight, at the Ars Nova Fundraiser. No Cameras. Only way to hear it is to go. //t.co/VUTf1G1— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) June 20, 2011
7. June 21, 2011: Reporting back on the Ars Nova evening, LMM (quite accurately) predicts the future.
8. July 12, 2011: On this day in 1804, Hamilton died in the West Village. The harmonies in this YouTube video are giving shades of the Schuyler sisters.
On this day in 1804, Alexander Hamilton died in the West Village, NYC. RIP: //t.co/a7QZMwH— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) July 12, 2011
9. October 15, 2011: Everyone needs an occasional Buffy break.
Not Heights movie related, not Hamilton related. It is an out-of-left-field delight. Dinner, then I swear we'll watch a Buffy.— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) October 16, 2011
10. October 30, 2011: The Hamilton Mixtape is announced for the American Songbook Series in 2012.
11. November 30, 2011: The cast for the America Songbook's Hamilton concert starts coming together. (Christopher Jackson has been in it to win it, having played George Washington since this concert.)
Starting to line up friends for Hamilton concert. I think you're going to like George Washington. #Forrealthough . . .— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) November 30, 2011
12. September 1, 2012: A reminder that musicals and masterpieces take time.
."@Eric01:No news on the Hamilton Mixtape in a while. Can you give a fan any new hope?" Yes. Still writing. It's my masterpiece, takes time.— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) September 1, 2012
Periodically during the writing process, Miranda asked his followers to yell at him when he was on Twitter instead of writing. Followers happily obliged and Twitter-prolific Miranda mostly kept his tweets down to one every few days.
13. December 2, 2012: How the lyric sausage is made vs. how the political sausage is made:
I have about 5 Moleskines in rotation in every coat pocket and bag, they all have scrawled Hamilton lyrics, and I can't find the one I need.— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) December 2, 2012
This was Hamilton's travel-writing kit. He took it everywhere and wrote everywhere. One can relate. Goodnight. pic.twitter.com/1zlpCOLFru— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) February 25, 2014
15. December 19, 2012: LMM spent 2012 shooting the television series Do No Harm with fellow Broadway star Steven Pasquale.
Last day of work on Do No Harm in 2012! Then I speed home to my wife and dog and get us all sick! Hooray!— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) December 19, 2012
16. December 21, 2012: A major rewrite is completed.
Finished a major Hamilton rewrite and I feel happy of myself. //t.co/irUUI6uL— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) December 21, 2012
17. December 29, 2012: Twitter got a taste of some Hamilton lyrics.
I'm past patiently waitin, I'm passionately smashin' every expectation, every action's an act of creation.-The Hamilton Mixtape #justyouwait— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) December 29, 2012
19. March 30, 2013: While LMM wrote, other stuff happened in the world.
It's the feeling of freedom, of seein' the light. It's Ben Franklin with a key n' a kite. You see it right? -The Hamilton Mixtape (upcoming)—Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) December 29, 2012
I wrote a f*ckton of Hamilton, grew my hair really long and a bodega guy won the lotto for real and the Pope's name is Francis now. You?— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) March 31, 2013
20. Apr 19, 2013: Hamilton is announced as part of Vassar's Powerhouse Theater season.
21. May 2, 2013: Lafayette makes his linguistic allegiances known.
I think Lafayette wants to rap in French now. I have to go learn some French. Damnit, Lafayette. #Hamilton— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) May 2, 2013
22. May 3, 2013: A table read.
We got some actors around a table singing new Hamilton today, because my demos are nigh unlistenable. Excited.— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) May 3, 2013
23. July 16, 2013: The Hamilton Mixtape makes chapter 6 of LMM's mental autobiography (something tells us it probably has its own section by now).
@seanberry That's the name of this chapter in my autobiography: Chapter 6: Coffee Sweat 2009-2014: The Hamilton Mixtape— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) July 16, 2013
24. July 22, 2013: Disappointed LMM couldn't work in a reference to one of his favorite cult movies, The Room here, but for writing 30 tunes, he's off the hook.
We're presenting 30 songs from Hamilton on saturday and I'm still not done writing. You guys, I might be the Synecdoche NY guy.— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) July 22, 2013
25. August 11, 2013: There were occasional late-night Twitterico Town Hall Meetings (AKA live chats) where fans got the latest updates on Hamilton progress and a lyric or two.
Oh snap. Okay. Meet me here at 11pm est. Lemme make some coffee. LATE NIGHT TWITTERICO TOWN HALL MEETING! //t.co/A7MqqFS5aa— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) August 12, 2013
26. September 17, 2013: Sometimes Hamilton had to wait on other projects.
Hey Sesame Street fans: I wrote the music for this tune for the new season: //t.co/Jugedu1Qyl— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) September 18, 2013
27. October 8, 2013: Everyone procrastinates. Even writers on deadline.
Finishing a tune at 10:30 for actors who are learning it at 11. Horrible horrible when will I stop doing my homework on the bus I'm 33— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) October 8, 2013
28. October 24, 2013: A Hamilton album update.
I'm SO close to the other end of Hamilton. This album will be out next year. So I'll tweet w you less cuz I'm throwing my whole heart at it.— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) October 24, 2013
29. January 10-11, 2014: We all got history lessons in between the writing updates.
On this spot, Hamilton traded away NY as the nation's capital in exchange for approval of his financial plan. pic.twitter.com/DnvHDAwwwo— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) January 12, 2014
'Adieu, best of wives and best of women." -Hamilton, in his last letter to his wife pic.twitter.com/18S7P4Lfky— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) January 10, 2014
31. January 23, 2014: A high-five from fate.
In 1818, the widow Eliza Hamilton established the Hamilton Free School, the first school in WASHINGTON HEIGHTS, NY. #STOPCRYING— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) January 29, 2014
32. January 24, 2014: Music director Alex Lacamoire takes over on some Hamilton teaching.
Lac teaches what I've written of Hamilton to an insanely talented crew. It's getting so real. Good morning. pic.twitter.com/blcwDKeHHR— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) January 24, 2014
33. March 6, 2014: Hamilton's world premiere is announced as part of The Public Theater's 2014-2015 season.
34. April 4, 2014: A Hamilton creative-team cabinet meeting.
Life POV: Lac and Blank and Kail (via phone). We're figuring out who sings what in Hamilton all morning. pic.twitter.com/Za29qP7pxx— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) April 4, 2014
35. April 8, 2014: 30 songs become 52 songs.
There are 52 songs in Hamilton right now. I think I can get that down to a lean 48. Plus Alaska & Hawaii.— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) April 8, 2014
36. April 13, 2014: An artist at work finishing his hat.
37. April 16, 2014: This is what goes through a writer's head.
What the f*ck was going through Hamilton's mind during that last duel? All this and more on Lin Paces Around His Apartment, tonight!— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) April 17, 2014
38. April 26, 2014: More from inside a writer's brain.
*Comes up with brilliant triple rhyme. *Checks etymology, realizes word originated after 1790s. *Curses, starts from scratch. #Hamilton— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) April 26, 2014
39. July 16, 2014: LMM writes the Hamilton cast breakdown for the Public Theater production. And it's amazing. (Scroll down, it's still there.)
40. July 29, 2014: Hamilton tickets on sale for the show's Public Theater premiere.
Overwhelmed by your response to Hamilton tix on sale. Proud to be a part of @PublicTheaterNY's incredible & diverse season. Good night.— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) July 30, 2014
41. October 2, 2014: Hamilton Public cast is announced.
No words to express how excited I am for this Hamilton cast. So I'll keep posting links. //t.co/O3bOVxRUI8— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) October 2, 2014
42. November 10, 2014: While actors filled out the roles in Hamilton, LMM and his wife, Vanessa, got a new cast member at home.
[The screams reach a frenzied pitch. SEBASTIAN MIRANDA enters. He is 7 pounds 10 ounces.] End Of Act One. pic.twitter.com/qy2VUomSeB— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) November 10, 2014
Starting on January 20 2015, Lin-Manuel Miranda & Co put on Hamilton at The Public Theater. LMM's Twitter feed is filled with selfies galore with Twitterico fans, friends, and celebrities alike, all who have come downtown to see the show.
43. February 18, 2015: A new Hamilton hashtag (and future merch item) is born: #YayHamlet
*Lady rolls down her car window at 181st street* "congrats on HAMLET!" Me: "I WISH I wrote Hamlet!" Lady: "Yay HAMLET!" *drives away* #myday— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) February 19, 2015
44. June 15, 2015: Hamilton Broadway cast is announced.
45. July 2, 2015: Hamilton begins tech at the Richard Rodgers Theatre.
46. July 13, 2015: Hamilton begins previews on Broadway in the same theater where LMM's In the Heights played.
47. July 14, 2015: The first preview goes well.
They'll tell the story of tonight. I'm drinking throat coat n making changes for tomorrow. Gnight!— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) July 14, 2015
48. July 15, 2015: The Hamilton lottery becomes a performance in and of itself with a rotation of cast members rapping at 5:55pm every performance day. LMM dubs it the HAM4HAM Show.
49. July 16, 2015: It's announced that Questlove and Black Thought are on board to produce the Hamilton cast album, dropping this fall.
50. July 18, 2015: President Obama and his daughters take in the matinee performance of Hamilton, where they see Javier Muñoz debut in the role of Alexander Hamilton (Muñoz is Miranda's alternate in the role). LMM watches the show for the first time on Broadway. Full circle.
Today I watched my Broadway show for the first time with the First Family in attendance. Long live Javilton & this cast. God Bless America.— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) July 18, 2015