The cast of the hit Broadway show Hamilton, the musical biography about Alexander Hamilton, the orphan raised in the Caribbean who rose to become America's first Secretary of the Treasury, performed at the White House on 14 March at the invitation of US President Barack Obama. The Obamas have declared themselves big fans of the hit musical and invited local high schoolers and aspiring performers to watch a selection of songs from the show.
The White House performance marks a return home of sorts for the show's creator, Latino performer and composer Lin-Manuel Miranda. Miranda debuted a song from the work-in-progress at a White House poetry slam in 2009. The 46 songs that Miranda eventually composed have become the Broadway show that is now sold out for the foreseeable future.
Obama said: "Hamilton has become a phenomenon, a smash hit, taken Broadway by storm, captivating the entire country, winning tons of awards, turned musical haters into die-hard fans." The President then joked: "In fact Hamilton, I'm pretty sure, is the only thing Dick Cheney and I agree on."
Obama said that he and First Lady Michelle Obama wanted to make the show accessible to as wide an audience as possible. "The show reminds us that this nation was built by more than just a few great men. It is an inheritance that belongs to all of us. And that's why Michelle and I wanted to bring this performance to the White House. Because Hamilton is not just for people who can score a ticket to a pricey Broadway show. It is a story for all of us and about all of us," he said.
Hamilton tells the story of the man who would rise from penury to become a right hand man to General George Washington, as well as a key figure in the creation of the US financial system and the creator of the US Coast Guard. He was killed in an 1804 duel with then Vice-President Aaron Burr.