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'Hamilton' Star's Tweets Bring 'Record Sales' to Flood-Damaged Bookstore

By Maya Rajamani | February 19, 2016 5:22pm | Updated on February 22, 2016 7:32am
 "Hamilton" star Lin-Manuel Miranda tweeted his support for the Drama Book Shop after it was damaged by flooding from a burst pipe.
‘Hamilton’ Star’s Tweets Bring ‘Record Sales’ To Flood-Damaged Bookstore
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TIMES SQUARE — Drama Book Shop employee Steven McCasland had just left an off-Broadway matinee on Thursday when he turned his phone back on and saw thousands of Twitter notifications.

Thumbing through them, he discovered that Lin-Manuel Miranda — who wrote and stars in the Grammy Award-winning Broadway show “Hamilton” — had tweeted several messages of support for the bookstore at 250 W. 40th St., which lost hundreds of books to flooding after a pipe burst in the building overnight Sunday.

“The @dramabookshop is not only the best place to get theater-related ANYTHING, I wrote most of In the Heights there. Pls support,” Miranda tweeted on Thursday afternoon to his 260,000-plus followers, adding the hashtag #BuyABook.

“George Bailey needs our help, guys,” he added in another tweet.

Over the next few hours, the shop — which lost its entire biography section and much of its writing and acting sections at the front of the store — was inundated with supportive tweets and purchases.

Customers placed 50 online orders in the span of two hours, surpassing the usual five to 10 orders per day the shop usually receives — amounting to “record sales,” said McCasland, 29, who manages the shop's social media accounts.

“Kanye was saying that he’s more influential than Picasso, but I don’t know… Lin-Manuel is pretty influential right now,” he said. “We gained a thousand followers in 24 hours yesterday.”

The sales will help staff at the Drama Book Shop replace texts that were damaged or destroyed after a pipe on the building’s third floor burst, flooding the front of the store between Sunday evening and Monday morning.

On Thursday, senior sales employee Stuart Brynien, who has worked at the shop for the past 17 years, pointed out seven or eight large bags of books in a room at the back of the store that will have to be thrown out.

Texts that sustained less damage will be resold, he said.

“It was wonderful for the store,” Brynien, 60, said of Miranda’s tweets. “People have actually asked if there’s a donation pot they could dump money into.”

Longtime patrons, meanwhile, have flocked to the shop to show their support.

“This place has given a lot to so many of us,” said playwright Lisa Huberman, 30, who read about the damage the store sustained on Facebook.

“[Playwrights are] always asking for money… and it’s important to remember we should also be supporting the things we care about,” she added.

Huberman left the store on Friday with a newly purchased biography of Alexander Hamilton — one of several "Hamilton"-related offerings the store keeps in stock (“And that’s entirely my fault,” Miranda tweeted).

Miranda, who wrote much of his Tony and Pulitzer Prize-nominated Broadway show “In the Heights” at the bookshop, plans to sign copies of the “Hamilton” script at the store after it’s published in April.

Patrons can pre-order the script on the shop’s website, McCasland noted.

The bookstore is also holding a benefit show at 54 Below on March 26 to raise funds for repairs and book replacements.

On Thursday, one Twitter user asked Miranda if the Drama Book Shop — which will celebrate its 100th birthday next year — is a chain store or a stand-alone shop.

“It is the only one in the world, and therefore indispensable,” Miranda responded. “#BuyaBook when you’re in town.”