PHILADELPHIA — The creator of the hit Broadway musical “Hamilton” says it’s a needed reminder during a heated political season that “immigrants get the job done.”
Lin-Manuel Miranda, who wrote and stars in the inventive biographical hip-hop show about the life of Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton, also apologized for not mentioning Philadelphia even though some of the action occurs in the city.
Miranda, speaking Monday at the University of Pennsylvania commencement, said even as politics traffics in “anti-immigrant rhetoric,” there is a musical “reminding us that a broke orphan immigrant from the West Indies built our financial system.”
“Since the beginning of the great unfinished symphony that is our American experiment, time and time again immigrants get the job done,” he said.
It was a thinly veiled jab at presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, who wants to deport the millions of people in the U.S. illegally.
Miranda began by apologizing for omitting any mention of Philadelphia or Pennsylvania except for one “blink and you miss it” reference to the Liberty Bell. He also apologized on the real Hamilton’s behalf for the decision to move the capital from Philadelphia, saying his character “traded Philly away in the most significant back-room deal in American history.”
Slipping into character for a minute, he said, “My bad, Philadelphia,” but then he suggested that the City of Brotherly Love was the real winner of the deal rather than Washington, D.C., which he said is synonymous with “institutional dysfunction, partisan infighting and political gridlock.”
“You are known as the birthplace of Louisa May Alcott, Rocky Balboa, Boyz II Men, Betsy Ross, Will Smith, Isaac Asimov, Tina Fey, cheesesteaks, and you can have scrapple, soft pretzels and Wawa hoagies whenever you want. You win, Philly,” he said to cheers from the crowd. “You win every time.”