Monday, February 29, 2016

"Hamilton": How Entrepreneurs Really Innovate

The musical Hamilton is an inspired, hip-hop-rich stage performance that tells the life story of American Founding Father Alexander Hamilton (1755-1804).  The show arrived on Broadway in August 2015 with $32 million in advance sales.  Scalpers commanded prices as high as $3,000 for a pair of tickets,  topping off an average audience at 101.8 percent of capacity.  

Critics were uncommonly effusive.  One referred to the show as “the great work of art, so far, of the twenty-first century.”  The overnight review in the New York Times stated simply, “Yes, it really is that good.”  

The room where it happened, June 19, 2016.
If an entrepreneur is defined by his or her ability to introduce an innovation that disrupts an economic flow, then Hamilton’s creator, Lin-Investors put up $12.5 million to produce the show which, at its current rate, will gross $1 billion in less than a decade.  Should that happen, profits will be roughly $300 million, or 24-times the original investment.  Miranda and close members of his creative team have become multimillionaires.  Ticket resellers and brokers stand to gross $60 million annually.  The Hamilton cast album became the highest-debuting Broadway musical since 1961’s Camelot--and America’s No. 3 rap album.  Attendance rose on the Great White Way in Hamilton's first year to 13.3 million, Broadway's best total ever.  And the night the Tony Awards honored Hamilton with 11 awards, audience ratings hit their highest mark in 15 years.

These extraordinary totals don't factor in the impact of the other seven Hamilton productions slated to be staged globally.

But the disruption of Miranda's Hamilton is far more than financial.