Broadway sensation "Hamilton" hits bookshelves

"Hamilton" is still the hottest ticket on Broadway, and now, its creators are giving fans a backstage look in the new book, "Hamilton: The Revolution."

Since Broadway previews began in July, the smash hip-hop musical about the life of Alexander Hamilton has sold tickets worth more than $61 million. Despite all the craze, the show's creator and star, Lin Manuel Miranda says it feels "exactly the same as it was when we opened in August."

"It's just as hard to rap for two hours and 45 minutes and sing and dance, so we just keep doing the show, and we know how hard it is to get in right now, so we're really aware," Miranda told "CBS This Morning" Tuesday.

Writing the book has allowed him to take a step back and reflect on the making of the production, and he saw no better candidate to co-author the book than cultural critic and theater artist Jeremy McCarter.

"He was one of the first people I told about the idea when it was still a concept album in my head, so he really was the witness to all of it," Miranda said.

Miranda gave him a demo of about six songs, which McCarter described as a "moment I'll never forget." "It was so long ago that it was a CD," laughed McCarter, who was working as a critic at the time.

After listening to one of the songs, "Helpless," McCarter said, "I thought this is a crazy idea but this is also going to be the best show of its generation."

In reconstructing the show's creation in the book, McCarter said he wanted to focus less on the historical facts and more on capturing the emotional experience.

"This is not just what happened, but this is how it felt at the time. This is the experience we all went through," McCarter said. "So that 10 years from now when kids are doing it, they could pick up this book and say, 'Oh, that's how they did it. Now I understand.'"

For Miranda, who said he "wasn't much of a history student as a kid," finding that emotional connection was also key to playing the lead role as Alexander Hamilton. As he researched and learned about Hamilton's life, he worked to find an "emphatic connection to Hamilton."

Perhaps it's the show's parallels to today's political landscape that also draws the audience. In the book, Miranda notes that one of Hamilton's lines in the show -- "But they don't have a plan, they just hate mine!" -- is "familiar in contemporary politics."

"I think what's fun and resonant about those cabinet battles is that the battles that Hamilton and Jefferson had that really created our two-party system are the battles that we're still having," Miranda said. "We're always going to be having those fights -- they're part of the fabric of our creation."

Miranda said he was personally in "awe" of Hamilton for his "prolificness" and "relentlessness."

"He's an incredible writer and he wrote so fast and so well. I mean, the Federalist Papers alone -- that's anyone else's legacy. He's got that and his Treasury and he's a soldier and he's a lawyer and you know, our first murder trial in the United States, him and Burr were the 'dream team,'" Miranda said.

Amid the praise, the show has also received some backlash. A recent New York Times article cited scholars who said the show may have "over-glorified" Hamilton by "inflating his opposition to slavery while glossing over less attractive aspects of his politics."

Miranda responded, saying, "You could write 12 more musicals about Hamilton and there's so much I left out..."

While the show has been praised for its diversity, it also took some heat for its controversial casting call seeking "non-white actors," which the show has since amended.

"We changed the language to make sure everyone knew that we have never turned anyone away from auditioning for our show," Miranda clarified. "That was just never the case. That being said, this is a story where I think the diversity of what's on stage is essential to its success."

With its ongoing success, the show is planning for 20,000 students to see the show over the course of the next year as part of a special curriculum that allows students to create their own performance pieces based on other historical events.

"So it's going to spark those stories that are told in the two hours and 45 minutes we have with you -- young kids are learning about that and a part of this is seeing what stories they're going to tell us," Miranda said.