In May 2009, Lin-Manuel Miranda performed an early version of the song Alexander Hamiltonat an evening of poetry, music and spoken word hosted by US President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama at the White House. Accompanying him on piano was Alex Lacamoire, who had recently won a Tony Award for his orchestrations of Miranda’s musical In the Heights, and a Grammy for producing the original cast recording.

It was the first time that any music from Hamiltonhad been performed in public. Introducing the number, Miranda explained that it was from a concept hip-hop album he was working on about the life of “someone I think embodies hip-hop – treasury secretary Alexander Hamilton”.

The audience chuckled. “You laugh, but it’s true!” said Miranda. “He was born a penniless orphan in St. Croix of illegitimate birth, became George Washington’s right-hand man, became treasury secretary, caught beef with every other founding father, and all on the strength of his writing. I think he embodies words’ ability to make a difference.”

Alex Lacamoire. Photograph supplied

You can watch a YouTube video of the performance....

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