Hamilton: An American Musical

Druce Chandler, Writer

 

Hamilton is an American Broadway musical that tells the life story of one of our founding fathers Alexander Hamilton, through forty-six songs mainly consisting of music genres such as hip hop, R&B, pop, and it was written/ composed by Lin-Manuel Miranda. Some facts about the musical are that it’s about two hours and forty-five minutes long, two acts, and twenty-three songs that make up each act. What I didn’t know was that it was inspired by the 2004 biography called Alexander Hamilton by the historian Ron Chernow. According to latimes.com, they say that the first performance of Hamilton was on January 20, 2015, at the Public Theatre in New York City as an off-broadway performance, plus Miranda starred as the leading role of the show. As of today, the musical has toured around most of the USA and has recently toured in Indianapolis, Indiana, Puerto Rico, and there are future plans for it to tour in Sydney, Australia, and Hamburg, Germany (with different actors as the original actors eventually left Hamilton).

The things that make Hamilton more popular are the actors, as it’s interesting that some of the cast of characters are portrayed by people of black, Latino, and Asian American. It is like this because it makes the story more accessible to a contemporary audience. Miranda even said that a reason for this is, “It’s a way of pulling you into the story and allowing you to leave whatever cultural baggage you have about the founding fathers at the door,” and that “It’s more of a way to allow the audience feel like they’re on stage performing”. Another reason why Hamilton is popular due to the music because of how catchy or innovative it is and how it combines genres of music such as hip-hop, rap, jazz, R&B. Then again, the show can also be a learning experience as according to some sources, the show mainly sticks the real story of Alexander Hamilton with some minor modifications for dramatic purposes as to make it worth the time to watch. If there is one thing that is good about it is how the show pulls out certain themes that are still relevant, and how the music is reflective of our society as it gives out messages that are not seen for the first time.

Going more in-depth with the messages a few songs give them, such as “Right Hand Man” (my favorite song from the whole thing) referencing a quote from an American author, Gayle Forman “Dying is easy, Living is harder” but reworded in the song. To me, this quote reminds me of how life is as one wrong move could kill you, and it just is a reminder to how tough living is. Another favorite quote of mine in Hamilton is in the song “Wait for It” that says “We rise, We fall, and we make our mistakes.” My interpretation of this quote is that we all have our thriving moments, sad moments, and the moments when something goes terribly wrong. 

The main thing I loved about the musical is the dances because it was interesting as to how they managed to sync in rhythm of the music without missing a beat. Another thing I have to say about Hamilton is some songs don’t make a lot of sense until you watch it. A good example is the song “Satisfied” as it tricks you to think this is the present. What I found out from watching the musical is that the song is referring to the past not the present as Angelica is telling the previous song “Helpless” from her point of view. My favorite songs from Hamilton have to be “The Room Where it Happened”, “Right Hand Man”, and “Nonstop” because I tend to enjoy more upbeat songs that I can sing over and over. Most of all, I feel that if you enjoy musicals that tell a story, then this is the musical for you.