Video Of The Week: Lin-Manuel Miranda at the White House

Last night the Gotham Gal, our daughter Jessica, and I went to see Hamilton at The Public. This is a hip hop musical about the life of Alexander Hamilton. The writer and star of the show, Lin-Manuel Miranda, read Ron Chernow’s biography of Hamilton, got obsessed with Hamilton, and started writing a hip hop record about him. That eventually led to the show.

But along the way, back in 2009, the White House invited Lin-Manuel to Poetry Night and he performed the opening number for the President, the First Lady, and their guests. This is the video of that night. It’s great and serves as the perfect trailer for the play, which you should try to see when it opens on Broadway this summer.


Comments (Archived):

  1. JamesHRH

    Earlier this week I posted that, every now & then, I wish I was John Oliver. (here’s the link that triggered that thought:…HOWEVER, I think I have a new person to put at the end of that sentence – what a talent.This is what every History teacher in the world should be like.

  2. David Fleck

    That is awesome. I love stuff like this because it challenges our conceptions about a media, a genre.Another of my favorites is this group: Easy Star All Stars. Why? I love reggae. Listen to it every day. These guys are reggae artists who ‘cover’ (if you can say that) acts like Pink Floyd and Radiohead. Freaking awesome.

    1. Dave Pinsen

      It doesn’t challenge mine. Maybe I’m close-minded, but I think music is better when it has melody.

      1. LE

        Agree. And for that matter movies and TV are way better when music is attached no question about that. Music in film is way underrated and not appreciated for what it does for the visual images. [1] And many reality TV shows would be toast without a soundtrack which emphasizes and greatly enhances the story line similar in a way to the old days of silent films (which had a soundtrack or whatever it was called when music was played in the theater..)[1] My guess is many people have never heard of John Williams.

        1. Joe Cardillo

          One of the good things about going to a liberal arts college was being required to take classes way outside my discipline, including a music appreciation class that focused on film scores. I got really into John Williams, and also Ennio Morricone….absolutely amazing stuff, like discovering a whole new universe.

  3. William Mougayar

    This was good. If all hip hop rap was like that, I would love it even more. I’m totally inspired by Alexander Hamilton.”What Hamilton had was genius, conspicuous even as a teenager. Extraordinary talent always attracts notice. Hamilton collected powerful patrons the way other young men acquire bad debts. His abundant gifts, well wrapped in personal discipline, earned him a passage from the island of St. Croix, where he worked as a shipping clerk, to New York City to study at Columbia, then called King’s College. There Hamilton’s quickness, wit, charm, and diligence won him a new group of enthusiastic backers who felt their faith in him well vindicated by his writings in support of the Patriot cause.”…

    1. Joe Cardillo

      I pretty much learned the word “treatise” because of AH…have had a healthy appreciation for checks and balances ever since. One of the original ecosystem thinkers, before the word was popularized.

  4. Tom Labus

    Looking forward to this show.If you’re interested in a financial history of the US, Ron Chernow’s House of Morgan is brilliant and so insightful.

  5. Kirsten Lambertsen

    Wow, I know him from Sesame Street! Such a talent.

  6. Susan

    Great clip. We have tickets and really looking forward to seeing HAMILTON on Broadway having read in NYT that off-Broadway was entirely sold out!! Many articles popped up about the production including this from CITY JOURNAL published in February….

  7. Susan

    I loved Chernow’s book and forgot to share the VARIETY article on HAMILTON in former post which like CITY provides more info on the show and putting it together. Super.

  8. Erin

    Wow. I got chills. You guys appreciate your history so much more than us Canadians.

  9. Joe Cardillo

    Ok ok I’ll take the hit. Someone has to share the very first drunk history w/Michael Cera as Hamilton

  10. Scott Barnett

    My daughters loved In The Heights. We will all love this, I’m sure it will be our next family Broadway outing. Miranda is a special talent. Thanks for sharing.

  11. Yinka!

    Yes! Thanks for posting this. I read about the musical a while back, when it was in the planning and was jealous that I wouldn’t get to see it. But I didn’t know related bits were also performed and recorded elsewhere.

  12. Thor Snilsberg

    Thanks for posting this video Fred!From an education perspective…..Lin-Manuel Miranda has a powerful personal story about following your dreams and seeing where they take you. In his case, Broadway, the White House and beyond. His New Yorker feature is great:…A few years back, CityScience lead 25 teenagers in STEM explorations of the newest National Park (Paterson, NJ where Alexander Hamilton founded America’s first planned industrial city). Seeing students’ respond to Lin-Manuel’s White House rap made me reconsider how to connect and teach youth. After one watch, every kid was hooked on Hamilton and had the pertinent facts down pat. Learn more about the the new park and one of the most important and innovative cities in American history here: http://www.hamiltonpartners…In Ph.D speak, Lin-Manuel’s video is an excellent example of “culturally responsive” teaching. One of the leading figures in this pedagogy is Dr. Chris Emden at Columbia. Any and all educators of urban youth should listen to his podcasts and youtube videos. Very powerful stuff. friend and colleague leading the way in this type of education is Flocabulary, also located here in NYC. your a historian or American innovator go see the play and read Chernow’s book on Hamilton. If you teach urban kids……find ways to connect with them before you try teaching them!

  13. William Carleton

    Great stuff, good to know about this.The Chernow book on Hamilton is awesome. One of the best single volume biographies I’ve ever read.Chernow’s more recent biography of Washington is good, too. Both these men straddled what seem like so many different formative eras.

  14. AlexHammer

    Brilliant talent!!