You don’t need to be a musical theater geek to appreciate the musical Hamilton. It’s the hottest ticket on Broadway since The Book of Mormon, and the tour hits ASU Gammage from January 30 through February 25.
Hamilton explores the life of Alexander Hamilton, the man whose face graces all those 10-spots in your pocket. He’s a founding father with immigrant roots, and his story is particularly prescient amid America’s current cultural climate.
Hopefully you’ve already got your tickets, but don’t give up if you’re not one of the fortunate few. The theater will have a ticket lottery for the show. And, as of this writing, tickets are still popping up through the ASU Gammage website.
It’s fine to just show up and take it all in, of course. But if you want to go full-on Hamilton, we’ve got some suggestions on ways to get ready for the show.
Read Ron Chernow’s book
Pulitzer Prize-winning author Ron Chernow wrote the biography that inspired Broadway wunderkind Lin-Manuel Miranda to create the musical Hamilton. Miranda read Chernow’s Alexander Hamilton while on vacation, then wrote a rap song he performed for President Obama at the White House, and the rest in history. It’s a tome (with more than 800 pages), so you'll need to start sooner rather than later. And feel free to skim. You can always come back to it after you’ve seen the show.
Check out the lyrics
Unless you’re well-versed in the rhythms of rap, you’ll probably have a hard time catching all the lyrics the first time you hear them. Miranda packs a lot of words into his songs, so it’s easy to miss their full measure if you’re not up to speed. Listen to the Hamilton soundtrack before you head to the theater. That way, you can spend more time enjoying the show and less time wondering whether you missed anything. You can read all the lyrics online as well.
Watch a sneak peek
Maybe you missed the documentary film titled Hamilton’s America when it was broadcast on PBS as part of the Great Performances series in 2016. But you can watch clips online (or the whole thing, if you’re a PBS supporter). The film includes footage of the New York production with the original cast, interviews with Miranda and other creatives, and visits to historic sites related to Hamilton’s life and times.
For the full fandom experience, you should follow the official Broadway show, Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, and ASU Gammage on social media. Keep a close eye on the theater's online presence, especially, if you're looking for news of lotteries and show-related experiences.
Snag some merch
You’ll be able to get T-shirts and other Hamilton souvenirs at ASU Gammage. But merchandise is also available online through the official Hamilton website. Which means you can order something ahead of time and wear it to the show. We’re especially fond of the shirt that features this popular lyric: “Immigrants – we get the job done.”
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Get the backstory
Miranda co-authored a book called Hamilton: The Revolution with Jeremy McCarter that recounts the creative process for bringing the musical to life. It’s even got Miranda’s lyrics, with his annotations in the margins. And it’s filled with photographs by Frank Ockenfels and Joan Marcus, whose work will help keep your Hamilton memories alive long after you’ve seen the show.
Take a deep dive
Before there was Hamilton, there was In the Heights, a musical by Lin-Manuel Miranda that imagines life for immigrant families in the Washington Heights neighborhood in New York City. Watch In the Heights: Chasing Broadway Dreams , another Great Performances special available from PBS online, before you see Miranda's newest musical. It’ll help you appreciate the immigrant thread running through Hamilton.
Hamilton runs from January 30 through February 25 at ASU Gammage. Get show information on the ASU Gammage website.