Earlier this week, the cast of Hamilton gave a student workshop and a performance at the White House, and Barack and Michelle Obama gave the musical’s creator and star, Lin-Manuel Miranda, a warm welcome. “Hamilton teaches us history the way it really should be taught,” said the First Lady in prepared remarks, before giving Miranda some unsolicited advice.
We’d have a lot of great historians if we could only figure out how to do this more—for more subjects. I remember I was telling Lin-Manuel that he’s got to do this for, like, the Middle East, and all the other issues. You’ve got to talk about slavery. You’ve got to cover it all.
Later, when the president introduced a few numbers from the musical, he offered Miranda another suggestion, to laughter from the audience. “Lin-Manuel, if you have any ideas about a show about Congress, for example, now is your chance. We can use the help,” Obama deadpanned.
The Obamas aren’t the only ones who have offered Miranda unprompted creative advice—it seems that everyone has an idea for what kind of musical Miranda should write after Hamilton. When Miranda guested on BuzzFeed’s Another Round podcast, hosts Tracy Clayton and Heben Nigatu brainstormed a musical about Jeb Bush’s failed presidential campaign to be called Jeb! An Uncomfortable Musical. Just this week, the Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg wrote an essay assuming “ that Miranda will soon be writing Obama: The Musical” and offering “a free idea” for a song that adapts a foreign policy monologue that Secretary of State John Kerry once ad-libbed.
Obviously, lots of Hamilfans’ ideas for Miranda are jokes, like Another Round’s Jeb! and even Obama’s suggestion for a musical about Congressional obstructionism. But others are not.
The fact that people are so excited to brainstorm other political or historical subjects for a hip-hop musical is, of course, a testament to Miranda’s skill as a storyteller and songwriter. It is ultimately a compliment to Hamilton that so many fans are eager to see what Miranda will do next. And yet—obviously—Miranda does not need help dreaming up a new musical. He will write a new musical when he’s good and inspired to write a new musical, not because some random person tweets a name of a historical figure or movement at him. If Michelle Obama wants to watch a musical about the Middle East, her best bet is probably to write it herself.
To his credit, Miranda has been, for the most part, enormously gracious about the barrage of unsolicited advice. But surely he gets at least a little annoyed every time someone says to him, “Hey, have you ever thought about writing a musical about X?” And every now and then, he shows fans how he really feels.
Read more in Slate about Hamilton:
- All the Hip-Hop References in Hamilton: A Track-by-Track Guide
- #Ham4Ham, the Joyous Free Shows the Cast of Hamilton Puts on Twice a Week on the Sidewalk
- A Hamilton Scholar on How Broadway’s Hamilton Resembles the Historical One
- “Hamiltines” Are the Perfect Valentine for the Hamilton Fan in Your Life