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Award-winning ‘Hamilton’ musical was ‘no overnight success’, says creator Lin-Manuel Miranda

Music director Alex Lacamoire and Actor, composer Lin-Manuel Miranda celebrate on stage during 'Hamilton' GRAMMY performance for The 58th GRAMMY Awards
Theo Wargo | Getty Images Entertainment | Getty Images
Music director Alex Lacamoire and Actor, composer Lin-Manuel Miranda celebrate on stage during 'Hamilton' GRAMMY performance for The 58th GRAMMY Awards

It's been one of the most-talked about Broadway shows of the past few years, and now, the U.S. musical tale "Hamilton" has set its sights on international markets, debuting in the English capital of London in December.

So far, the sung- and rapped-through musical has garnered huge success, having received a GRAMMY award, a Pulitzer Prize, and a number of Tony Awards.

So how did its creator Lin-Manuel Miranda get inspired to take on the story of one of the U.S. Founding Fathers and the first U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton? It all began with picking up Ron Chernow's "incredible biography" on the historic American figure.

"I knew about as much as anyone did about Alexander Hamilton, before I picked up Ron Chernow's incredible biography," musical creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, told CNBC.

"I knew that he was on our $10 bill in the States and I knew that he died in a duel. You know you learn that in high school and that was about it."

"And that was enough for me to pick up a book off the shelf and I was going on vacation with my then-girlfriend, now wife, and I just wanted a big book to read."

Speaking in London ahead of the West End premiere of "Hamilton" last week, the creator told CNBC that he was "swept up" by the story of the first U.S. treasury secretary, but added that it took several years for Miranda to fashion an adaptation on Hamilton's life and to turn it into an international success.

"I was swept up by the story. I thought it 'out-Dickens' Dickens in the unlikeliness of this man's rise from his humble beginnings in Nevis in the Caribbean, to changing, helping shape our young nation. And it's uniquely an immigrant story and it's uniquely a story about writers," said Miranda.

"It took me seven years to write this show. This is no overnight success — took me a year to write the second song in the show 'my shot.' I'm in awe of people who can just write well and quickly."

"And it took me a long time to be able to write about that guy, but that was sort of what inspired me about his story."

Miranda admitted to CNBC that he was "incredibly humbled" by the reception that the show has received, adding that it was "really overwhelming" to see how this part of U.S. history had been awakened within a younger generation.

Lin-Manuel Miranda attends the curtain call for 'Hamilton' Chicago opening night at PrivateBank Theatre on October 19, 2016 in Chicago
Daniel Boczarski | WireImage | Getty Images
Lin-Manuel Miranda attends the curtain call for 'Hamilton' Chicago opening night at PrivateBank Theatre on October 19, 2016 in Chicago

Transferring the all-American story of Alexander Hamilton to the U.K.'s West End in London meanwhile raises questions as to how powerful this historical account will be received outside of the States. The musical creator said that the British-based audience was "exactly like New York," however, when Miranda attended the previews.

In terms of what he wants audiences to take away from this story, Miranda explained how Hamilton's life had "a lot of lessons in it."

"I think one of them is: your story will be told by those who survive you, you have no control over that. You can only control what you do and what you put into the world," said Miranda.

"Hamilton put a lot into the world in his short time and he was outlived by his enemies for a really long time. But he was also outlived by his wife who was, to me, the hero of the show."

"(Hamilton's wife) leaves an incredible legacy of her own. And I think that's what moves people, is the notion of what do we do with the time we have on this planet."

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