During the evening of Poetry, Music and the Spoken Word at The White House in 2009, a young performer named Lin-Manuel Miranda informed the audience that he was working on a hip-hop album “about the life of someone I think embodies hip-hop…Treasury Secretary, Alexander Hamilton“. That line got a laugh from the audience, which included President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, but Miranda further explained his thinking.
You laugh, but it’s true! He was born a penniless orphan in St. Croix of illegitimate birth, became George Washington’s right-hand man, became Treasury Secretary, caught beef with every other founding father. And all in the strength of his writing, I think he embodies the world’s ability to make a difference. So I’m going to be doing the first song from that tonight.
And with that, he and Alex Lacamoire launched into the song “Alexander Hamilton” as sung from the point of view of Vice President Aaron Burr. The performance was so powerful that the audience was immediately on their feet in appreciation. Little did they know how popular Miranda’s historical musical Hamilton would become in a few short years.
Writer and star of the Broadway musical In the Heights, Lin-Manuel Miranda performs “The Hamilton Mixtape” at the White House Evening of Poetry, Music, and the Spoken Word on May 12, 2009. Accompanied by Alex Lacamoire.