NYU Hamilton Movie Reflection Homework Assignment

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Question Description

  • Submit 2 paragraphs of reflection on what you have learned from each case study
  • The goal of this assignment is to give you an opportunity to reflect on how the learnings in the case study apply to either the course lecture and/or a situation described in the case study.

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UV7165 Jul. 27, 2016 Hamilton Won More than Twitter Eminent Departure On a Saturday afternoon in June 2016, writer and actor Lin-Manuel Miranda huddled in his dressing room eating takeout sushi between the matinee and evening performances of Hamilton. The play had recently won 11 Tony Awards, he had personally received a 2015 MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, and thanks to the buzz about the musical, the U.S. Treasury had scrapped plans to eliminate the first treasury secretary, Alexander Hamilton, from the U.S. $10 bill. Miranda was preparing to leave the cast the following month, which would enable him to pursue other projects ranging from working as a composer for Disney’s musical film Moana, to working on a movie adaptation of his previous Tony-winning musical, In the Heights, to considering other endeavors such as starring in Mary Poppins alongside Emily Blunt. 1 His MacArthur Fellowship awarded him $625,000 to pursue new projects, so after a year on Broadway he was ready to use it. The show that retold the founding of America’s government using the sounds of hip-hop had grossed almost $75 million, 2 but even more spectacular was the cultural influence of both Hamilton and Miranda. Miranda had 578,000 Twitter followers,3 the play had created a buzz around its lottery for 21 $10 seats each night, hundreds of celebrities from Oprah Winfrey to Jennifer Lopez had not only attended but become ambassadors for the musical, and the soundtrack was the first ever Broadway score to hit number one on Billboard’s rap ranking.4 Perhaps most impactful were the #Ham4Ham impromptu performances outside Broadway’s Richard Rodgers Theatre each Wednesday and Saturday about two hours before showtime. What was designed to be the name-out-of-a-hat lottery for the affordable seats became a live performance for any spectator on the street and treasure for social media. But a month prior to departing his show, Miranda’s greatest concern was maintaining the social media buzz. Hamilton’s online presence was incredible, though Miranda had primarily driven it himself. He was a force—creative, quick-witted, and constantly present—that the fans loved. He wondered how Hamilton should manage social media to keep the fans engaged and the show sold out. And he was unsure if #Ham4Ham should be retooled to stay fresh. 1 Tom Teodorczuk, “Lin-Manuel Miranda Is Leaving the Blockbuster ‘Hamilton’ in July,” Heatstreet, April 18, http://heatst.com/entertainment/hamilton-follow-the-money/ (accessed July 6, 2016). 2 Sarah Whitten, “‘Hamilton’ Creator Lin-Manuel Miranda Reportedly Departing Show in July,” CNBC, June 2, http://www.cnbc.com/2016/06/02/hamilton-creator-lin-manuel-miranda-reportedly-departing-show-in-july.html (accessed July 6, 2016). 3 Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Twitter page, https://twitter.com/Lin_Manuel. 4 Robert Viagas, “Hamilton Broadway Cast Album to Hit #1 on Billboard Rap Chart,” Playbill, November 16, http://www.playbill.com/article/hamilton-broadway-cast-album-to-hit-1-on-billboard-rap-chart-com-371927 (accessed July 6, 2016). 2016, 2016, 2015, This public-sourced case was prepared by Meghan Murray, Adjunct Lecturer. Copyright © 2016 by the University of Virginia Darden School Foundation, Charlottesville, VA. All rights reserved. To order copies, send an e-mail to sales@dardenbusinesspublishing.com. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, used in a spreadsheet, or transmitted in any form or by any means—electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise—without the permission of the Darden School Foundation. This document is authorized for use only by Yingqiao Huang (yh1996@nyu.edu). Copying or posting is an infringement of copyright. Please contact customerservice@harvardbusiness.org or 800-988-0886 for additional copies. Page 2 UV7165 The Stars The personalities that orbited Hamilton were part of what made it special. The cast was packed with stars, and the show had a celebrity following from the beginning. Before the musical’s opening night, the theater world was already enthusiastic about Jonathan Groff, who had previously been nominated for a best actor Tony and had starred in box office hits such as Disney’s musical movie Frozen.5 Groff was subsequently nominated for a Tony for his performance as King George III in Hamilton.6 When he departed the show in April 2016 to film the lead role in a Netflix series, Rory O’Malley, who had been nominated for a Tony Award for his role in The Book of Mormon, stepped into the King George III spot.7 Several other original actors planned to leave the show as well, drawn away by other opportunities thanks to their successful reputations and excellent work on Hamilton. In most cases, the understudies who started opening night at the Richard Rodgers Theatre took over. Phillipa Soo, who played Eliza Hamilton, Alexander Hamilton’s wife, earned a Tony Award nomination for best actress in a musical and left Hamilton to take a title role in an adaptation of the French movie Amélie. Christopher Jackson, who played George Washington, left for a CBS TV series entitled Bull. Leslie Odom Jr., who snatched the best lead actor Tony from Miranda for his role as Aaron Burr, the narrator of Hamilton and man best known for killing his nemesis in a duel, also planned to depart in July 2016 with Miranda to pursue projects like promoting his solo album.8 President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama were fans of the musical before it was even created. On a lark, Miranda took advantage of a visit to the White House to preview a song improbably marrying Alexander Hamilton to a modern communication vehicle. Inspired by Ron Chernow’s 800-page biography of the Founding Father,9 Miranda recounted, “I knew that the only way to tell his story was in the language of hip-hop.” Not only were the Obamas sold on the idea, but the video of his performance went viral and Miranda was advanced $175,000 to create a show for The Public Theater, where his play ran for a year before moving to Broadway.10 Stars from Samuel L. Jackson to Paul McCartney flocked to the show. Actress Sarah Jessica Parker posted an Instagram image of the theater on opening night, actress Jennifer Lopez tweeted an “after-show shenanigans” selfie with cast members, and musician Common simply tweeted, “I had to see it again.”11 Some posts were straightforward, such as actor Steve Martin’s tweet, “Flawless cast and impeccable writing make Hamilton soar,” and comedian Jimmy Fallon’s “HAMILTON is a game changer.” Musician Alicia Keys flamboyantly used emojis and hashtags, “#wearelimitless!! #unboxable #canyoutelli’mintoit?” 12 Former Secretary of State Madeline Albright, former Vice President Dick Cheney, and U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner were also fans. As a result, Miranda himself became a person other famous people wanted Jonathan Groff’s IMDb biography, http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2676147/bio?ref_=nm_ov_bio_sm (accessed July 7, 2016). For the full list of 2016 nominees, see http://www.tonyawards.com/en_US/nominees/. 7 Adam Hetrick, “Jonathan Groff, King of Hamilton, Takes Final Bow,” Playbill, April 9, 2016, http://www.playbill.com/article/jonathan-groffking-of-hamilton-takes-final-bow (accessed July 7, 2016). 8 Elisabeth Vincentelli, “The Departing ‘Hamilton’ Actors Are Making Big Plans,” New York Post, June 20, 2016, http://nypost.com/2016/06/20/the-departing-hamilton-actors-are-making-big-plans/ (accessed July 7, 2016). 9 Ron Chernow, Alexander Hamilton, (New York: Penguin Books, 2004). 10 Rachel Syme, “How “Hamilton” Creator Lin-Manuel Miranda Is Building a Brand for the Ages,” Fast Company, May 16, 2016, http://www.fastcompany.com/3058967/most-creative-people/how-hamilton-creator-lin-manuel-miranda-is-building-a-brand-for-the-age (accessed July 7, 2016). 11 Samantha Simon, “What the Stars Are Saying about Broadway’s Hottest Play, Hamilton,” In Style, August 7, 2015, http://www.instyle.com/news/what-stars-are-saying-about-broadways-hottest-play-hamilton (accessed July 7, 2016). 12 Billy Lorusso, “43 Celebrities Who Are GUSHING over “Hamilton” on Social Media,” Buzzfeed, November 5, 2015, https://www.buzzfeed.com/billylorusso/43-celebrities-who-are-gushing-over-hamilton-on-l73d?utm_term=.owB0V4EJL#.nglEB9rpg (accessed July 7, 2016). 5 6 This document is authorized for use only by Yingqiao Huang (yh1996@nyu.edu). Copying or posting is an infringement of copyright. Please contact customerservice@harvardbusiness.org or 800-988-0886 for additional copies. Page 3 UV7165 to meet. He stated, “I could go to an invited thing every night and become this crazy celebrity person if I wanted to.” But, “I can’t, because I still have a show to do.”13 The Personality Hamilton was a mix of modernity and history, gaining acclaim for featuring a cast that represented the racial diversity of 2016 America. The only Caucasian primary character was King George III; all others were people whose races and ethnicities reflected the melting pot of the United States. The characters pushed boundaries in retelling history. Lyrics ranged from Angelica Schuyler, Hamilton’s sister-in-law, rebutting Thomas Jefferson’s assertion in the Declaration of Independence that all men are created equal with, “I’m ‘a compel him to include women in the sequel!” to Alexander Hamilton and Marquis de Lafayette chanting “Immigrants! We get the job done.”14 Miranda created platforms not only to promote the play but also to provide a taste of the play that was inaccessible to so many. When tickets became scarce and expensive, the musical’s soundtrack was the easiest way for everyone to enjoy Hamilton. Director Thomas Kail stated simply, “With the album, for $20, you have the whole show. You can get it on your phone. I know how much money Star Wars made, so I know everybody has $20.”15 The cast soundtrack to Hamilton was also available for free on YouTube through its distributor, Warner Music Group.16 A coffee-table book about the making of the musical was one more way the play was made accessible to fans. A Unique Voice Twitter was the most widely available way for followers to touch Hamilton’s secret world and feel included. Miranda used Twitter to connect with people who loved rap, history, and theater by soliciting fan art and poetry. He responded to questions one on one and treated his followers like pals.17 He created a special digital club as a way to keep fans engaged. Twitter data confirmed that about 65% of Miranda’s tweets included a fan response or some fan engagement (e.g., a RT (re-tweet), a reply, or an RT-with-comment.). Between January 2015 and June 2016, there were 2.3 million mentions of “@Lin_Manuel” or “Lin-Manuel Miranda.”18 He shared himself, not just his performances, with fans. But he also used others’ celebrity to his advantage. In his own tweets, he shared photos of big names who visited him backstage and tagged those people, many of whom had huge fan bases of their own.19 He also used social media to compliment fellow performers and create mash-ups of other popular Broadway shows, each time tagging the recipient of his praise. In doing this, he increased his follower count and engagement organically. http://www.fastcompany.com/3058967/most-creative-people/how-hamilton-creator-lin-manuel-miranda-is-building-a-brand-for-the-age. Hamilton Original Broadway Cast Recording Lyrics, Warner Music Group, https://warnermusicgroup.app.box.com/s/98o13fgs1vrb2wxqe1zel2ugw7ppryv9/1/4712017338/38329317274/1 (accessed July 7, 2016). 15 http://www.fastcompany.com/3058967/most-creative-people/how-hamilton-creator-lin-manuel-miranda-is-building-a-brand-for-the-age. 16 Mike Georgiou, “How Hamilton Creator Lin Manuel Miranda Harnessed the Power of Social Media,” Imagine, June 20, 2016, https://www.imaginovation.net/blog/how-hamilton-creator-lin-manuel-miranda-harnessed-the-power-of-social-media/# (accessed July 7, 2016). 17 http://www.fastcompany.com/3058967/most-creative-people/how-hamilton-creator-lin-manuel-miranda-is-building-a-brand-for-the-age. 18 Michael Dale, “HAMILTON’s Lin-Manuel Miranda is Broadway’s Twitter Genius,” Broadway World, June 14, 2016, http://www.broadwayworld.com/article/HAMILTONs-Lin-Manuel-Miranda-is-Broadways-Twitter-Genius-20160614 (accessed July 7, 2016). 19 Francesca Toscano, “‘He’s Just Non-Stop’: What Hamilton’s Lin-Manuel Miranda Can Teach Us about Social Media,” Qnary, March 14, 2016 http://www.qnary.com/blog/hamiltonmusicalsocialmedia (accessed July 7, 2016). 13 14 This document is authorized for use only by Yingqiao Huang (yh1996@nyu.edu). Copying or posting is an infringement of copyright. Please contact customerservice@harvardbusiness.org or 800-988-0886 for additional copies. Page 4 UV7165 Miranda and his co-star Jonathan Groff were teased on social media about their “bromance” close relationship with each other. Miranda capitalized on this by creating social media content about their infatuation for one another, including a passionate kiss.20 Miranda also took advantage of opportunities that were not traditional interviews, but rather created memorable improvisational experiences that replayed well online. These ranged from “Carpool Karaoke” with James Corden to a sing-along with Jimmy Fallon. The show also managed a YouTube channel of viral videos and posted photos on Instagram, earning Hamilton more followers than any previous Broadway show.21 This made the Hamilton brand more accessible. See Exhibit 1 for a social media snapshot of the Hamilton properties and other popular personas. Candid photos dominated the show’s Twitter handle, @hamiltonmusical. There, followers could find Miranda with #Ham4Ham guest stars and show attendees, snapshots of news articles published about the play, and artwork depicting components of the show. This digital success was not luck. Stacey Mindich, the producer, organized an “Influencer Night” during the show’s preview performances. She invited executives from Silicon Valley and digital media experts to the show and asked them for feedback and online strategy tips. This interactive media board of advisers ranged from Mashable COO Mike Kriak to Amazon’s head of online advertising Jason Nickel.22 Because Broadway’s 40 theaters provided inherently physical experiences, part of their appeal was that the experience could not be replicated online. Historically the productions have relied on critical acclaim to attract New York visitors to attend the shows. Hamilton broke that cycle by creating an atmosphere in which fans became ambassadors for the show, posting photos, videos, and comments to generate interest among those not tapped into Broadway reviews. With the help of the Gilder Lehrman Institute for American History and the Rockefeller Foundation, the Hamilton Education Program created the opportunity for 20,000 11th graders in New York City public schools to enhance their knowledge of American history via videos and study guides that Miranda helped develop. The students had the opportunity to write and perform their own historically based musical projects and then see Hamilton in the theater.23 Miranda used the popularity of the show to help causes important to him. He raised money for Graham Windham, the orphanage that Eliza, Alexander Hamilton’s wife, had started. He lobbied the U.S. Congress to help Puerto Rico with its debt crisis.24 He used the ubiquitous adoption of social media to raise funds and awareness for causes important to him. #Ham4Ham At The Public Theater the show started holding a public lottery outside of the box office to provide 21 seats at $10 each (“a Hamilton”), which it called the #Ham4Ham Lottery. It continued the tradition at the Richard Rodgers Theatre when the show moved to Broadway. On opening night, August 7, 2015, Miranda, overwhelmed by the size of the crowd that had gathered, stepped outside to thank them for supporting the http://www.qnary.com/blog/hamiltonmusicalsocialmedia. Issie Lapowsky, “Hamilton’s Savvy Plan to Keep Fans Stoked Even if They Never Get Tickets,” Wired, May 10, 2016, http://www.wired.com/2016/05/cant-get-hamilton-tickets-show-goes-online/ (accessed July 7, 2016). 22 Lee Seymour, “As ‘Hamilton’ Rules Broadway’s Social Media, ‘Dear Evan Hansen’ Digs Deeper,” Forbes, May 17, 2016, http://www.forbes.com/sites/leeseymour/2016/05/17/as-hamilton-rules-broadways-social-media-dear-evan-hansen-digs-deeper/#58f54a151d6d (accessed July 7, 2016). 23 http://www.fastcompany.com/3058967/most-creative-people/how-hamilton-creator-lin-manuel-miranda-is-building-a-brand-for-the-age. 24 http://www.fastcompany.com/3058967/most-creative-people/how-hamilton-creator-lin-manuel-miranda-is-building-a-brand-for-the-age. 20 21 This document is authorized for use only by Yingqiao Huang (yh1996@nyu.edu). Copying or posting is an infringement of copyright. Please contact customerservice@harvardbusiness.org or 800-988-0886 for additional copies. Page 5 UV7165 play and read several paragraphs from Chernow’s biography of Alexander Hamilton. He said to the crowd, “Thank you all! I love you. You won’t all win, but come back!…We will be here if you keep showing up.” The act was effective, gaining traction on social media. His appearances were not only crowd pleasers but also a launchpad for creativity and abject fandom, quickly dubbed #Ham4Ham. By the winter holidays, more than 1,000 people were waiting outside to get a glimpse of the cast, view the impromptu performance, and take a shot at winning a discounted seat.25 As a result, the lottery moved online, but the public pre-shows continued. Mike Karns managed Hamilton’s digital footprint, videotaping the #Ham4Ham delights and taking responsibility for disseminating them via YouTube, Instagram, and the show’s Twitter handle, amassing hundreds of thousands of views. Variety was one hallmark of the performances. In one, composer Alan Menken and Miranda sang songs from The Little Mermaid, a favorite movie of Miranda’s. Star Wars director J.J. Abrams appeared on May 4, 2016 (“May the fourth be with you”), to perform the song he and Miranda had recorded together for the most recent Star Wars film.26 In another, Miranda addressed the crowd to say that a Twitter follower had asked why there was no ballet in the show. His response: several members of the New York City Ballet performed as the #Ham4Ham on October 17, 2015. #Ham4Ham also existed as recorded snippets. In one, Hamilton star Jonathan Groff and his friend, actress Lea Michelle of Glee sat in bed one morning chatting over coffee, dishing about scenes in the show.27 In another digital #Ham4Ham, Miranda positioned himself backstage at the world-famous musical Les Misérables, earphones tapped into the official live performance in action, provided commentary directly to the camera, and sang along with the actors onstage.28 Many of these minishows earned more than 300,000 views total, and most #Ham4Ham posts were viewed online over 50,000 times before the next one posted. The YouTube channel hosted over 100,000 subscribers and over 8.4 million views between May 2015 and June 2016. 29 Tickets were so difficult to secure that the Hamilton cast embraced #Ham4Ham as a way to allow fans from all over the world to participate in Hamilton without having to travel to New York.30 It also gave them one more way to control the brand. By issuing an affordable official cast album a month after the Broadway run began, piracy was less appealing. Theatergoers were not allowed to use cell phones to take photos or videos inside the theater. Miranda was known to stare down members of the first few rows who tried to record pieces of the show and tweet about them by describing their appearance a ...
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Social media has its powerful presence in today’s life; a fact proven by Miranda’s choice
of marketing choices when it came to his movie. YouTube is a powerful tool as it is used to avail
the music used in the Hamilton m...

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