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ADOT Hit Drivers with Hamilton-Inspired Signs

Dynamic message sign inspired by the musical Hamilton.
Arizona Department of Transportation
Dynamic message sign inspired by the musical Hamilton.
More than 100 signs over Arizona freeways flashed messages inspired by the hit Broadway musical Hamilton on Tuesday, January 30.

Written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, the touring version of show opened its run at ASU Gammage in Tempe that same night.

"Talk Less, Drive More," the signs read.

The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) ran that message from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. It references a popular line from the show, which was inspired by the life and times of founding father Alexander Hamilton.

Spoiler alert: Hamilton gets killed by longtime political rival Aaron Burr.

"Talk less, smile more," Burr tells Hamilton when they meet during the musical's second song.

Miranda wrote the lyrics, book, and music for Hamilton after reading Ron Chernow's Hamilton biography. The show earned 11 Tony Awards, including best musical, in 2016.

Several quotes from the show have made their way into musical theater buffs' vocabularies — from "I am not throwing away my shot" to "Just you wait."

But there's no need to wait for more Hamilton-inspired signs to pop up during the show's run through February 25. ADOT isn't planning to run more, according to Doug Pacey, the department's communications project manager.

Still, officials hope "Talk less, drive more" will stick in people's minds as they're driving. After all, it's a safety reminder.

Even so, the department had a bit of fun with it.

ADOT placed three more Hamilton-inspired messages on signs just long enough to photograph them. Then, they shared the photos on social media.

Soon after, Miranda reposted the pictures on his social media accounts.

"That was unexpected and cool," Pacey says. "He's got millions of followers, so that really expands the reach of our safety message." 

ADOT decided to run a Hamilton-related message after ASU Gammage representatives approached the department last fall. They agreed on "Talk less, drive more" because people who aren't Hamilton buffs would still get it.

"We've done dozens of these messages through the years," Pacey says.

The first one went up in 2015. "Drinking and driving go together like peas and guac," it read.

Typically the messages are culled from current events, pop culture, and local stories. And that's certainly the case here.

"The Hamilton message was a way for us to get involved in the buzz around the show and promote a safe driving message."