(Chris Wiegand’s article appeared in the Guardian, 6/19.)
Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamildrops project gives his leftover lyrics a new life. What happens to other songs dropped from musicals – and how do their creators feel about them?
‘Good songs find a way’ … Trevor Dion Nicholas as the Genie in Aladdin; Lin-Manuel Miranda in Hamilton; and Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, starring John McCrea. Composite: Deen van Meer/Getty Images/Johan Persson
When Hamilton opened in London last year, many in the audience already knew its songs inside out. The 2015 Broadway recording of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s smash hit – about the US founding father who will not throw away his shot – had long since gone triple platinum. With 46 tracks, it boasts more songs than most musicals; the off-Broadway track list was even longer. But Miranda still had leftover lyrics – and the feverish love for his show means new Hamilton material is still being released three years after its New York debut.
Remixes, covers and demos appeared on the Hamilton Mixtape in 2016 and this year Miranda has been putting out fresh Hamilton-related tracks every month as part of his Hamildrops series, which he kicked off with a song – and character – he cut from the show. He had written “Decemberists-esque lyrics” to be sung by Ben Franklin but that founding father was deemed superfluous to the story. Miranda later sent the lyrics to Decemberists frontman Colin Meloy and they collaborated on Ben Franklin’s Song (opening line: “Electricity … Yeah, you can all thank me”). Hamilton fans were duly electrified.