Broadway has been taken by storm by a musical from the already-legendary Lin-Manuel Miranda: Hamilton, the life story of Alexander Hamilton and the other Founding Fathers during and after the Revolutionary War. This has become the show lately, with ticket prices steadily skyrocketing and several notable celebrities including Barack Obama and Joe Biden joining the crowds flocking to the Richard Rogers Theater in New York City.
Hamilton takes the traditional Broadway musical and turns up the volume, using intricate hip-hop lyrics and stylistic dance moves to tell the story. Simple costumes and sets serve as the perfect backdrop to the passionate, high-energy performance. It also features colorblind casting, which gives actors of color the opportunity to play important historical figures, such George Washington and Maria Reynolds.
And you know what, folks? I GOT TO SEE IT!
I’ll be honest, at first I wasn’t into the idea when I first heard about Hamilton. Sure, it sounded clever—a hip-hop musical about Alexander Hamilton—but it didn’t sound like something I would like. I just didn’t get it.
Then I started listening to the music.
Within a few lines, I got it.
I became swept up in the Hamilton-Hype after that, listening to as much of the music as I dared (not wanting to hear the whole thing ahead of time just in case it spoiled the plot) and watching special behind-the-scenes footage from the show.
Despite my new love for Hamilton, I didn’t entertain the idea that I would ever actually get to see it. I was busy with school in Pennsylvania, and the high demand and soaring ticket prices made it seem like a pipe dream at best. For my 22nd birthday, however, my parents gave me the ultimate present: a ticket to see it in November!
I was going to see Hamilton!
The show was even more spectacular than I’d expected. Every member of the cast was so utterly devoted to their roles, you could feel the passion radiating from the stage. There were clever moments of humor coupled with intense moments of grief. I was bawling by the end of the show, and I tripped all over myself as I tried to rise at the end and give a standing ovation.
One thing that really strikes me about the show is how much the cast needs to remember. Nearly the entire show consists of rap, spoken in different rhythms and cadences. How in the world do they remember all of those lines, especially those cast members who play more than one role? It speaks to the amount of dedication that goes into creating a performance of this magnitude, and it underscores what makes Hamilton so popular.
I loved everything about this show, but one of my favorite things was how the relationship between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr was portrayed. The two characters are juxtaposed from the very beginning: Burr is a thoughtful, patient man who thinks carefully about his words and actions; Hamilton is young, brash and brave, acting on impulses and taking life by the horns. The comparisons between these two men are powerful, but there were also strong parallels drawn between them. They both wanted the best for their new country, they just had different ideas about how to make that possible. Probably my favorite duet in the show was “Dear Theodosia,” where both men were singing to their newborn children about how much they loved them and how they couldn’t wait to see them grow up in a thriving nation.
I am still in awe over the fact that I got to see Hamilton. I’d see it again every week of my life if I could! Some shows are more forgettable than others, but then there are some that break through barriers and show the world something so impressive, so larger-than-life, they’ll be around for years to come.
I get to finally say, with delight, that I was in the room where it happened.