Broadway has long been written off by most as a pretentious form of storytelling, accessible only by the wealthy elite, and for the most part, dry. This may be a case of sour grapes, but it's true nonetheless. Hamilton, written by Lin Manuel Miranda, is the exception.
Let's start with the music! It is a diverse group of songs; many of them are jazzy and fun to sing along to, some are tearful ballads, and others are groundbreaking raps. There's a narrative to them, yes, but you don't necessarily have to know every aspect of the story in order to enjoy the lyrics, the melodies and the amazing instruments involved. My personal favorite is The Room Where It Happens.

It's crazy expensive to see it on Broadway, but it's just as enjoyable blasting through headphones.
The story is dramatic, funny, and heart-wrenching all at once. Our main character is Alexander Hamilton, a cocky but talented immigrant from the Carribean. All odds are against him; he's poor, tactless and loud. Yet somehow, he captures the attention of George Washington, and suddenly things are looking up. He is finally able to highlight his skill with words, which he does even after the war.

He isn't perfect, though. He cheats on his wife, Eliza Schuyler, who is a beautiful cinnamon roll who deserves the best. He is "seduced", according to him, by Maria Reynolds, a woman who was in an abusive relationship and just wanted better for herself. In my opinion, he should have owned up to his mistake instead of trying to paint Maria as a villainous seductress, but when he admits his sin to everyone (and I mean everyone, he literally publishes a pamphlet about the affair) it leads to an amazing but incredibly sad song sang by Eliza Schuyler, AKA Phillipa Soo. She is a strong character, it is made very clear that she is the one who made Alexander's legacy last, and without her he would be nothing in today's society.

Eliza has two sisters, Angelica (who is very headstrong and knows what she wants, but is willing to sacrifice it all for the sake of her sister) and Peggy (who is characterized by one of her only lines, "And Peggy!"). The cast of characters is somewhat strange, going from a tailor spying on the British government (Hercules Mulligan) to a whiny king who is strangely reminiscent of a bitter ex-boyfriend in his songs (King George III), but it all fits together really nicely.

The cast: Leslie Odam Jr., Lin Manuel Miranda, Phillipa Soo, Renée Elise Goldsberry, Jasmine Cephas Jones, Anthony Ramos, Jonathan Groff, Daveed Diggs, and Okieriete Onaodowan are almost completely people of color. This is deliberate, due to how much space there is for white people in Broadway but the lack of available characters for POC (people of color.) Lin Manuel Miranda himself is Puerto Rican, and made the cast diverse because he said that there was never a place for him in Broadway, so he made his own. This is incredible, at least to me, the fact that he was able to forge his own path in an established industry with a niche that did not fit his vision at all is astounding and kind of inspiring. It even reminds me of Alexander Hamilton himself.

1 comment:

  1. I love the album for Hamilton so much. I found it in early January and literally have been obsessing ever since.
    Krystianna @ Downright Dystopian


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