Lin-Manuel Miranda takes his final bow for his iconic, self-created turn as Alexander Hamilton tonight. To say farewell (for now) to the brilliant writer, Hypable’s Hamilton-obsessed staff share what particular parts of Lin’s legacy we’re most thankful for.
Dear Lin Miranda, what to say to you?
It’s going to be, in your own words, a bit of a day. Tonight in your final act two, when you appeal to your president one last time, Alexander Hamilton’s unwillingness to accept George Washington’s stepping down will echo the sentiments reaching you from across the world in regards to your own exit from your magnum opus. Of course, because you’re you, you’ve already provided us the answer and the antidote in Washington’s own response. We get it. For Hamilton to stand on its own two feet, just like the fledgling America, it needs to prove it can outlive the shadow cast by one exemplary figure. A Broadway show cannot and should not be defined by its original cast if it is to truly succeed and spread and grow and run forever.
But it doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt like hell. Your own inclusive and infectious energy means that when you have the feels, we have the feels. Tonight, your cast and crew will say happy trails to Pippa, to Leslie and to you — our dear Mr. Hamilton. We know how bittersweet it’s going to be. As we reflect today on the Hamilton phenomenon of the past year and a half, there’s a few things we’d like to thank you for.
For your honesty
Lin, I have been following you since the days of In The Heights, and could thank you for many things. I could thank you for your eloquence, your humor, your ability to turn a rhyme. I could thank you for your ceaseless effort, your imagination, and your crafting of wonder. I could thank you for your amazing hair.
But what I think I most deeply appreciate is your honesty. There is potent truth sizzling beneath (and sometimes on the surface of) every line in Hamilton — and frankly, pretty much everything I’ve heard you say. There is a Kaballistic saying that words spoken from the heart reach the heart; this is what you do, with words sweetened and salted with truth, and this is the source of my most powerful gratitude. With humor, with rhyme, with harmony, and with with heart, you present the essence of the Real… and the world will never be the same. Thank you.
— Michal Schick
For your affirmations
I haven’t seen Hamilton. I haven’t listened to the soundtrack (because I’d rather see it live first). I don’t get any of the Hamilton jokes except for #YAYHAMLET.
But I do follow you on Twitter. And you’re the most inspiring and engaging person I follow.
Most mornings, you’ll tweet a hello to your followers. Most evenings, you’ll do the same thing (you know this — you’re you). Each of these greetings and farewells are beautiful, inspirational, and make us want to think differently about the world.
Compassion on full blast.
Okay let's go.
— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) July 8, 2016
Grateful to see you. Let's go.
— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) July 7, 2016
You can fume at the world if you like.
You can also use your words, art & gifts to let us in.
Build us a bridge to where you are.
— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) July 6, 2016
We writers spend our lives trying to do you justice.
And you're always more than we can capture.
— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) July 5, 2016
We writers spend our lives trying to conjure you from every angle.
We get close enough to keep trying.
— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) July 6, 2016
Thank you for the daily inspiration, Lin. As I see in your mentions, tens of thousands of people enjoy your unrelenting messages of hope, love, and strength.
— Andrew Sims
For our friendships
There was a brief amount of time where Hamilton existed only in the lives of those lucky enough to see it on the stage. One week prior to the soundtrack’s release, I was fortunate enough to win the live Ham4Ham lottery and experience the show for the first time on stage next to fellow Hypable writer Karen and across the orchestra stalls from Natalie. Even before the curtain rose, Karen, Natalie, and myself had plenty of great stories from waiting in line for the lottery (where I learned the identity of the Winter Soldier), to witnessing a Ham4Ham before they were a weekly sensation, to hearing the crowd cheer for the winners of the lottery even if it wasn’t their name that was pulled. There was a sense of community among strangers that I had not witnessed in a very long time.
Little did I know that that was just the tip of the iceberg. Once the soundtrack became available to the world, a new kinship, an “in-crowd” was created. Within Hypable an insular kinship flourished. Twitter conversations looped sparked from lyric exchange blossomed into a Hype special. Listeners and fans, particularly on ReWatchable, began to dominate the conversation, leading to the masterpiece Ariana created where she spun the lyrics of “Helpless” to reflect the drama unfolding onBuffy. From being in the theater and hearing Karen audibly gasp after Daveed Diggs finished rapping on stage to quoting “One Last Time” and “My Shot” in everyday conversation, knowing that someone out there will nod and smile in recognition as part of the Hamilton takeover is extraordinary.
Lin, as you prepare to step down as Alexander Hamilton, I’m grateful that I was touched by the ripple that formed from this particular drop of your incredible talent. Thanks for giving my friends and I something to bond more deeply over, even if it leads to a few embarrassing attempts to perform “Satisfied.”
— Brittany Lovely
For the fandom
Being in fandom is a big part of who I am — the simple fact that I engage with media on a level that perhaps some others don’t is the most defining characteristic of my life. I expend a huge amount of energy in being a fan of things — it’s why I travel, it’s why I write, it’s why I have friends. The relationship between a fan and a creator has always been a delicate one — sometimes beautiful or stressful or both, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone field it better than you have. Not only are you producing life-altering, game-changing work, but you also understand how to make the fan experience surrounding that work enriching and enduring.
You’re everything a fan could ever want from a creator — so compassionate, so generous with your time, so earnest with your emotions, and you understand fan culture better than 95% of other creators out there — you share your own experiences of what it is to be overwhelmed and obsessed and immersed. It really shouldn’t be headline news that a creator actually cares about their own work — they should care about it more than anyone, surely! — but there’s often an odd distance present when writers discuss their work, a sense of removal, jadedness or even a bit of scorn or laughter towards fans who take it so seriously. A divide between those who create, and those who are fans, as if one could not bleed into the other. Approaching your writing as a workaholic or a perfectionist is one thing. Approaching it as a fan is another, and that’s rarer than it should be. We all know that you are unashamedly fannish, that you can’t help it, and the mere fact that you admit to crying when researching or writing your own characters is manna to all of us who have ever felt a little crazy for caring so much about stories or songs.
You’ve also perfected the balancing act of what parts of yourself to share and what you need to hold back, when to chime in and when to look away, in order to remain resilient in a fandom environment. Even your gentle but firm insistence that fandom upholds a standard of behavior is well-received — so many creators approach similar situations rather more indelicately which leads to unnecessary conflict, but you manage to invoke the empathy of your fans at every turn, even when it comes to setting boundaries or what you’re not able to give them. No matter how much people may project their feelings onto you, you’ve ultimately seemed to avoid the dehumanization that accompanies fame and fandom.
Most importantly, you encourage us, you value us and you love us. Your work may be raising the bar, but you’re gleefully challenging others to jump over it with you. Some geniuses have the unfortunate issue of shining so bright that they blind others. Your light shines on us and illuminates us too, instead of blotting us out. Your intellect is the type that doesn’t intimidate. It invites us in, makes us feel comfortable and we feel smarter and more inspired for being a part of your conversation. You seem to see the potential in every single person you engage with, you do not underestimate what any human being has to offer, and it isn’t just lip service – you put it into practice constantly.
Thank you, Old Man Miranda. For every post on Twitterico and Tumblrico, for every Ham4Ham, every meme, every t-shirt, every promise you keep, every way you find to share something special. For every time you turn your earnest eyes on something you love and we know that we are not alone in how we engage with the world. Thank you for getting us.
— Natalie Fisher
For empowering immigrants
I can’t pick a favorite Hamilton song to save my life, but I can tell you that there’s one line that consistently sends chills down my spine.
Interestingly enough, you’ve put it right in the opening number: “The ship is in the harbor now/ See if you can spot him/ Another immigrant coming up from the bottom…”
Today, I want to take a moment to thank you for this particular line in general. Why? Because it’s a line that reminds me that no matter how bleak the future may seem, the beauty of having been born in America is that I have the potential to rise up and be the best version of myself. It’s a gift that was granted to me by my fearless grandparents who chose to flee Mexico and put down new roots in California.
In an era where the word “immigrant” is consistently raked through the mud, I take comfort in the fact that in creating Hamilton, you’ve managed to shine a positive light not only on the word itself, but also on the people who come to this country to seek new opportunities.
Thank you for reminding us all that if given the chance, immigrants like Alexander Hamilton have the power to change the world for the better.
— Pamela Gocobachi
For unifying people of color
Dear Lin-Manuel Miranda,
As a woman of color and a descendant of immigrants, I’ve always had a complicated relationship with the Founding Father narrative.
In school I learned that the Founding Fathers were rebels and geniuses. Free-thinkers full of contradictions. They set the world on fire, seemingly creating a lasting nation through sheer force of will. The world was waiting for them to fail, but they chose to push through and fight and write and scream and claw their way towards the completion of a country, bickering with each other the entire way there because they understood that the stakes were so incredibly high.
They stood for this idea that I so desperately wanted to believe: that anything in this country is possible if you only have the tenacity and brilliance to make it happen. I felt a kinship to their kind of hopeless idealism. And yet, sitting in class with my history book, a part of me also understood that there was an inherent separation between the founding of my country and me.
As a Mexican-American, the books in school tell me I am either the villain or the footnote in my own history. As a woman of color, I understand that regardless of my own abilities, the Founding Fathers would have never made space for me in the “the room where it happens.” I’m forced to recognize that our American history is fraught with both pride and terror, and that just as these men fought for their freedom, they also denied the most basic rights to others. This country has given my family so much, and for that I am grateful. But I am also forced to acknowledge that when the Founding Fathers were fighting for freedom, they didn’t know they were fighting for me.
But history belongs to those who write it, and with Hamilton, you’ve created a narrative where we can not only belong to our country’s founding as people of color, but unite under an umbrella of pride. That incessant struggle to prove one’s own self-worth is at the heart of the Founding Father narrative, and with Hamilton, it becomes a parallel to the struggle that people of color go through living in a country that is still dealing with its own issues regarding race.
You’ve helped us take back our history, because while they didn’t value us then, in casting our brown faces, you’re forcing them to see us now. Using our music, you’ve ensured they hear our voices. As people of color, we’re so often divided by what we look like and where we come from, but you’ve reminded us that we are similar in our struggles of oppression, and that we are stronger when we stand together. As you wave your Puerto Rican flag high, you somehow allow us the space to celebrate the beauty of our differences, while still uniting under the shared humanity of our American spirit.
— Ariana Quiñónez