Hamilton at the Tony Awards
Kevin Mazur/ Theo Wargo/ Mike Coppola/ Dimitrios Kambouris/ Bruce Glikas/ Getty Images
“I am inimitable, I am an original”
You could be forgiven if you felt a little overwhelmed by the amount of Hamilton coverage lately. It’s so ubiquitous because Lin-Manuel Miranda and the show Hamilton are at once separate entities and inextricably linked.
Miranda won two Tonys personally last night, Best Score and Best Book, that are both incredibly deserved. Months after first listening to the album, weeks after getting the Hamiltome, I still find new things in the show, jokes or moments I’m processing for the first time. When I eventually see it at summer stock in 2023 in Poughkeepsie, there will still be new things. It is phenomenally smart.
And Miranda is phenomenally smart. But he’s leaving the role he created after next month, which is why all this is reaching a fever pitch. In fact, many actors’ contracts will be up in the coming weeks (Philippa Soo, who plays Eliza, is reportedly done in July too), which contributes to the panic/flop-adoration, too. “I have to see it with Lin! With Leslie! With Daveed!”
Which is warranted, given that the actors aren’t just incredibly talented, but are in that place where they’re very aware of the life-changing thing they’re a part of. I cried all night, like most people – but Renee Elise Goldsberry saying she hoped all her life she’d have a chance to stand up and thank her parents? It was over. Daveed Diggs talking about how his supported him unquestioningly all his life was really real. Leslie Odom, Jr, talking about how he almost fell, but his castmates were there to catch him? This cast is witness to a special moment in time. And we are too.
But unlike when an actor leaves a role on a TV show, Hamilton, and all it represents, continues. Last night, all four major acting awards were won by people of colour—three of them from Hamilton. It’s the visual of that. It’s seeing yourself in history. Whether it’s people of colour or women or immigrants, Hamilton is here to include us all - utterly truthful but also the fairytale we want to be true.
You’ve heard my favourite line, “Immigrants – we get the job done”, but there are so many others that form the thesis for anyone who’s ever felt like an outsider:
“I am not throwing away my shot.”
“History has its eyes on you.”
“Let me be a part of the narrative.”
They go on and on, and like Miranda’s sonnet from last night, they grow more and more poignant when you think about the world we’re both lucky and horrified to be living in every day. It’s more than just a moment, it’s the movement—something that should be abundantly clear given that the President and First Lady introduced it together. What else can you think of that has received that kind of anointment?
So yes, the hype about Hamilton is worth it. Yes, it will be a part of our cultural conversation. You shouldn’t actively miss a mortgage payment for it, but you’ll never regret getting the chance to see yourself in all the places you had no idea you were.
(Lainey: watch his presser. He opens by APOLOGISING for being late!)