The musical debuted in 2015 telling the biographical story of Alexander Hamilton and a handful of the other Founding Fathers through song. After rising to immense levels of acclaim, an original cast recording of the play debuted on Disney+ on July 3 for those who weren't able to travel to New York City to see the show live.
Although the play doesn’t shy away from showing the negative sides of the prolific founders of the United States, including affairs and violence, many have still criticized it for glorifying the lives of men who owned slaves.
Miranda responded to the criticism on social media Monday after “Another Round” podcast host Tracy Clayton shared her conflicting feelings over the play.
“Hamilton is a flawed play about flawed people written by an imperfect person that gave my flawed and imperfect little life a big boost when i needed it most, so again i know im biased... but i do appreciate the change this illustrates & will be following the convo's evolution," she wrote in part.
“Appreciate you so much, @brokeymcpoverty,” Miranda wrote in response. “All the criticisms are valid. The sheer tonnage of complexities & failings of these people I couldn’t get. Or wrestled with but cut. I took 6 years and fit as much as I could in a 2.5 hour musical. Did my best. It’s all fair game.”
Miranda, who wrote and stars in the play, has been open to hearing criticism about the slave-owning characters in his work in the past. However, that doesn't mean slavery is ignored completely in "Hamilton." At various points in the play, Alexander and his cohorts voice anti-slavery sentiments and he even calls out Thomas Jefferson in Act 2 for owning slaves. However, the issue largely takes a backseat to other aspects of the historical figure’s life.
The writer previously told Rolling Stone in 2016 that he originally included a rap battle between Hamilton, Jefferson and James Madison on the issue of slavery. However, he noted that the three real-life men never did anything to truly combat slavery in their lifetime, so the number was cut.
“We realized we were bringing our show to a halt on something that none of them really did enough on,” Miranda explained.
According to Variety, the Disney+ app saw a massive spike in downloads that coincided with the release of “Hamilton.” Downloads of the app reportedly shot up 74 percent from the average of the same four weekends in June 2020 over comparable time periods.