“Hamilton,” the Broadway sensation and now winner of the Pulitzer Prize, is set to push a woman to the back of the $10 bill.
As nutty as this seems, U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew appears to have been moved to change a plan to put a woman on the front of the bill by the raging success of the Broadway hip-hop musical. He has backed off a plan to replace the Founding Father with a woman.
Reminder: there is no woman on any American bill. Now it looks like there won’t be one anytime soon.
Instead, “We are going to make an exciting set of announcements soon that involve the $5, $10 and $20 bills,” a spokesperson for the Treasury Department told TheWrap on Monday in a marvelous example of governmental misdirection.
An individual familiar with the situation told TheWrap that Lew is expected to announce Hamilton will remain on the front of the $10 note, while a collection of historical female figures will be added to the back of the bill.
A collection of women? On the back of the bill? Wow — thanks a lot!
So far the Treasury Department has not officially acknowledged the change in plans, which they surely fear will set off a storm of protest among women. Duh.
But the success of Lin-Manuel Miranda‘s hit musical “Hamilton,” which won a Pulitzer Prize for best drama on Monday, has unexpectedly created a fan base for the founding father. Many — including Miranda himself — are demanding Hamilton stay exactly where he is. (True confession: WaxWord loves Hamilton, and is in awe of Ron Chernow’s masterful biographical portrait of the founder.)
The suggestion that women’s images might be relegated to the back of U.S. currency is already sparking a backlash from women’s advocacy groups.
Last week, an organization called “Women on 20s” wrote an open letter to Lew denouncing the plan, saying: “Relegating women to the back of the bill is akin to sending them to the back of the bus. The Rosa Parks analogies are inevitable.”
Rosa Parks was one of several female candidates considered to replace Hamilton, along with Eleanor Roosevelt and Harriet Tubman.
The person familiar with the situation told TheWrap the Treasury Department is toying with the idea of adding a female face to the $20 bill instead, replacing Andrew Jackson. But while some might consider the $20 bill a promotion, another individual close to the situation tells TheWrap the $20 bill isn’t up for a redesign until 2030.
But a government official indicated that the timetable for revamping bills may be accelerated and is not locked into 2030. We shall see.
On Saturday, Miranda hinted that the founding father will be staying put. “I talked to @USTreasury about this on Monday. Sec. Lew told me ‘you’re going to be very happy,'” the actor-composer tweeted his more than 350,000 followers.
Miranda declined to further comment on the issue beyond his tweet.
— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) March 16, 2016