Perhaps the silver lining that comes with Hamilton creator and star Lin-Manuel Miranda retiring from the production is that ticket prices will go from laughably impossible to only moderately bankrupting. This past Saturday’s performance of the record-breaking and transcendent hip-hop musical marked the end of Miranda’s lead role as Alexander Hamilton, and it went out with a bang over a whimper.
Due to the unimaginable success of the show that turned everyone into a history nerd, this final performance with the original cast was an emotional one. The lucky crowd within the Richard Rodgers Theatre roared during the last curtain call and somehow with extra vigor as Lin-Manuel Miranda took his bow. In lieu of a speech, Miranda simply put his hand to his chest, took an additional bow then bounced off stage with his arm around Phillipa Soo as the orchestra played The West Wing‘s theme song (a favorite show of Miranda’s).
Ron Chernow, the author and historian who wrote the Hamilton biography that inspired Miranda, was one of these fortunate audience members in attendance. He previously told the Associated Press regarding the revolutionary (pun intended) show that, “I think it’s safe to say that when I was writing the book, I never imagined that it would be turned into a musical, much less a hip-hop musical, much less this extraordinary hip-hop musical.”
Miranda, who also penned the award-winning show, is now heading to Hollywood to co-star with Emily Blunt in a Mary Poppins sequel as well as to write the music for the upcoming animated Disney film, Moana, starring Dwayne Johnson.
The July 9 performance, however, was not only curtains for Miranda, but for Tony Award for Best Actor winner Leslie Odom Jr., who took on the role of Aaron Burr, as well as for Phillipa Soo who played Hamilton’s love interest, Eliza Schuyler. Soo will be taking part in a forthcoming musical adaption of Amelie while Odom is moving on to continue to further his own music career.
Extraordinary opportunities for these three stars are likely boundless following the wild success of Hamilton. The show was awarded eleven Tony Awards out of the sixteen it was nominated for, including Best Musical and Best Original Score. The ‘hip-hopera’ also received a Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater album, a Pulitzer Prize for Drama and also earned Miranda a MacArthur Genius Grant.
The show broke boundaries of what was previously the archetype of a successful musical. The music transcended beyond the elitism that is often associated with Broadway and rather, was easily consumed by a mainstream audience. It has also been regaled for its commitment to diversity, even being nominated for an NAACP Image Award as it breaks down the status quo of race in terms of who can take on what role.
Behind the scenes, Miranda was finally able to chop off the long locks he grew for the role and posted the momentous occasion on Twitter, writing, “Teach ’em how to say goodbye…”.
However, while it was a sad moment for both fans and stars of the show alike, for Junior Muñoz, the night possibly leaned more to the side of sweet within the bittersweet dichotomy. Muñoz, Miranda’s alternate, will be immediately taking on the Hamilton role and in celebration took shots with Daveed Diggs following this final performance. In a tweet highlighting the moment, we see Diggs who plays Thomas Jefferson and the Marquis de Lafayette pouring patron into Muñoz’s Grammy and joined by the hashtag – #Javilton.