Lin-Manuel Miranda apologizes for the lack of Philly in ‘Hamilton’

The Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright addressed graduates at the University of Pennsylvania on Monday.

Lin-Manuel Miranda speaks at Penn.

Lin-Manuel Miranda speaks at Penn.


Lin-Manuel Miranda is sorry that Philly got short shrift in Hamilton: An American Musical.

The writer of the smash Broadway musical with the most Tony nominations in history addressed graduates of the University of Pennsylvania on Monday morning. And early in the speech, he talked about how the City of Brotherly Love is nearly missing in his chronicle of the life of Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, despite the fact that many events portrayed therein that happened here.

For instance, Miranda notes, the political sex-scandal CBS show The Good Wife wouldn’t have happened if not for Hamilton’s now-infamous affair with Maria Reynolds. At the time, Miranda notes, Hamilton was living on South Third Street, “near the Cosi.” In addition, the Battle of Monmouth, where Washington, “the father of our country, dropped his choicest profanity,” occurred in Pennsylvania. And the Constitutional Convention, where Hamilton spoke for six hours (in “the most un-tweetable freestyle in history”) happened here.

But all of that pales in comparison to Hamilton’s deal to move the U.S. Capitol from here to Washington, D.C. Let’s let Miranda tell it:

Finally I need to apologize on behalf of the historical Alexander Hamilton. Because if he hadn’ t sat down to dinner with James Madison and Thomas Jefferson, desperate for support of his financial plan, Philadelphia might well still be the U.S. Capitol.

Hamilton traded Philly away in the most significant backroom deal in American history.

As the guy who plays Hamilton every night, lemme get in to character for a moment and say… “My bad, Philadelphia.”

Thank you.

But take the long view, Motown Philly. Who really won that deal in the end? Look at DC. It’s synonymous with institutional dysfunction, partisan infighting and political gridlock. You are known as the Birthplace of Louisa May Alcott, Rocky Balboa, Boys to Men, Betsy Ross, Will Smith Isaac Asimov, Tina Fey, cheesesteaks and you can have soft pretzels, scrapple and Wawa hoagies whenever you want.

You win, Philly. You win every time.

Here’s the full ceremony.

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Chris Krewson is the executive director of LION Publishers, a national nonprofit association that serves local journalism entrepreneurs build sustainable news organizations, and the founding editor of Billy Penn. He lives in Havertown.