An Ode to Hamilton
Unless you are living under a rock than you’ll know that Hamilton is the must-see musical. The show is currently sold-out till January 2017 with tickets being resold for at a minimum of $900 for the nosebleed seats. But is the show really worth it? I have no clue as I have yet to see it. Confused? Did you think this was a musical review? I wish. No really I wish it was because that means I would have seen it, but alas $900 for a Broadway ticket is never in my budget. No, this is an ode to all I know about the musical aka the cast album and the genius that is Lin-Manuel Miranda.
I originally got the cast album when it first came out, did a one-time listen as I didn’t want to listen again until I saw the show. However when it became clear that seeing the show was literally not going to happen this year, I listened to it again, and again, and hell I’m listening to it as I’m writing this post. Why? Because it’s damn good that’s why.
To me, it’s rare when you can listen to a cast album and enjoy it without having seen the show, in fact I can name only five (including Hamilton) that have done so for me. True it helps that there are a few clips on YouTube that kinda help set the stage but really it’s just the power of the words and music. I mean Lin-Manuel took the man on our $10 bill and made him interesting enough to learn about. I’m even convinced that all the sudden interest in Alexander Hamilton is what convinced the United States Treasury (you know the department he founded) to keep him on the $10 and instead make Andrew Jackson share his spot on the $20 bill.
Anyone, who like me, that went to school here in the states knows that in grades K-12 we never really learned anything about Alexander Hamilton. Before listening to Hamilton all I really knew was he was on our $10 bill, in fact I think I actually thought he was a president. Turns out I was wrong, he never got the chance to run. Listening to Miranda’s lyrics I dare you to not hit up Wikipedia and look up Hamilton.
After just a quick search I found out that he helped to not just created the Treasury Department but also the New York Post and what would eventually become the U.S. Coast Guard. He was what some people consider the first American Immigrant having been born in the British West Indies and came to New York at age 17. Hamilton died in a duel with Aaron Burr, the third Vice President of the United States and he is actually buried right here in downtown New York City. Most of this is not just on the interwebs but is also found within the lyrics of the songs.
Then there is the fact that Miranda took a bunch of what most would consider to be boring historical facts and turned them into a hip-hop musical with a cast as diverse as our country is these days. I read in an interview that when asked why rap, Miranda’s answer was that hip-hop and rap just made sense for how this all played out and when you listen to the music and lyrics together you get it. I am now convinced that our current political debates should be handled in the form of a rap battle.
Hamilton is currently nominated for a record 16 Tony Nominations and while it would be impossible for the show to win them all seeing as several cast members are up for the same award, I do expect the show to win in every category it was nominated in. I mean Lin-Manuel Miranda did the impossible, he made learning history fun in such a way that you wish you learned this crap in school.
The 2016 Tony Awards airs live on Sunday June 12 at 8pm ET with host James Corden on CBS.