Hamilton The Musical

Regan Lavin, Writer

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As I sat watching Lin-Manuel Miranda’s revolutionary new musical Hamilton, all I could think was one line: it was genius. Miranda is pushing Broadway to change and evolve. He has blended hip hop with Brit rock and Broadway melodies to create this great modern opera. He redefines American history through a modern multicultural, contemporary urban lens which educates as well as entertains.

The inspiration of this musical comes from a vacation trip Miranda was one. As he was leaving for a vacation during the run of In The Heights, Miranda bought a copy of Ron Chernow’s Alexander Hamilton.   Miranda has stated that he was 10 pages into the book when he realized that Hamilton’s life could make a great show. He was an illegitimate, orphaned immigrant who rose to the top of American government and culture while surviving the first American sex scandal. Alexander Hamilton is known for his contribution to the Constitution and founding of the Federalist part. It took Mirandaa year to write the first song of the musical named Alexander Hamilton. In 2009, Miranda performed this song at the White House for President Obama, and the YouTube clip of that performance has had over a million views. The scene of a son of an immigrant singing to another son of an immigrant about an immigrant is the epitome of an American success story.

Hamilton Pic

The sets and costumes are gloriously simple. There will be no distraction from the poetry and dance. The energy from the modern dance is electrifying. And the lyrics demand the attention of the audience. The show is so witty that you do not want to miss a single word. For true Broadway fans, there are references to other Broadway shows. For instance, at one point, Hamilton tells John Adams to sit down which references Sit Down, John from the musical 1776. Miranda is the son of two Broadway lovers. His family could rarely afford theatre tickets, but they could afford the cast recordings, and Miranda has memorized the lyrics from countless cast recordings. Pieces of those lyrics often pop up in the Miranda’s music as a nod to those that came before him.

Along with writing the lyrics and book, Miranda himself portrays Hamilton onstage. The other actors are also incredible. Jonathan Groff is outstanding as King George III. His songs are reminiscent of Brit rock with lyrics about England’s break up with the United States “I will kill your friends and family/to remind you of my love.” Every time Groff walks onstage, his over-the-top Liberace style costume along with his little song ditties are wonderfully humorous. Leslie Odom Jr (from Smash) portrays Aaron Burr brilliantly. Even though we all know the outcome of the story, he’s so likable. We want to like Burr because we love Odom. Daveed Diggs portrays both Marquis de Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson. He is so dynamic that it is hard to look away from him. One of the highlights of the whole show is a rap battle between Jefferson and Hamilton about their disagreements in Cabinet meetings complete with a mic drop.

The cast recording is now available. Hamilton will be on Broadway for years to come, and a national tour will be following soon. It is predicted that this play will win all the major Tony Awards in June of 2016 as it did for the Off-Broadway Awards that it was eligible for in 2015. This show deserves every round of applause that it receives.