“Hamilton” the Musical Review
“Hamilton,” a new broadway musical written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, tells the story of the “$10 founding father,” Alexander Hamilton. Miranda uses music with roots in rap to tell the story of how Hamilton, a penniless immigrant from the Caribbean, rose out of destitution to become the first secretary of the treasury.
The play starts off with a the number “Alexander Hamilton” which goes over Hamilton’s unfortunate childhood and speaks of the influence he had on the country and on the lives of various people. It’s a solid opening of the play that gives the viewer (or listener) a good idea of what they’re in for. It’s catchy and not exactly what one would expect as the opening number to a musical about a founding father.
In the next few tracks, “Aaron Burr, Sir,” “My Shot,” “The Story of Tonight,” and “The Schluyer Sister,” the audience is introduced to many key characters in the play. We get insight to these characters motivations, goals, and relationships with Alexander. The rest of Act I follows Hamilton and the other characters from right before the Revolutionary War to right after it. The songs are excellent storytelling device, and excellent songs in themselves. Each is clever and unique, and there is something to love about every track.
The second act, which is more emotionally heavy, spans the time from the Washington Administration to the fatal duel between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr. The second act does an excellent job at showing how characters grow and change and how relationships between characters grow and change. Throughout the play, certain lines are repeated over and over again throughout different songs. This repetition can serve many purposes. It can show consistency of character even as a situation changes, it can emphasize the important points of the play, and it can provide the audience with familiarity in songs they’re listening to for the first time. Either way this repetition adds significantly to the musical.
Miranda has done well to make the musical accessible to whoever may want to experience. Though it’s not possible for many to see the show live in person on Broadway, the soundtrack, which contains all 46 songs from the musical can be heard on YouTube and Spotify for free. The musical contains little dialogue, so one can get the full story just by listening to the soundtrack. Likely in large part due to this fact, “Hamilton” has garnered a significant following across the internet. People are creating fanart and gifs and Buzzfeed quizzes without ever seeing the show.
One component of the show that many people are praising is its diversity. A story of the founding fathers would’ve been easy to cast as all white with “historical accuracy” as an excuse, but Miranda has gone the opposite route. Miranda has cast people of color, and it’s working. It serves as a way to modernize a 200-year-old story. In addition white dudes singing about being immigrants would’ve come off as inauthentic.
The soundtrack receives a solid five out of five stars. The soundtrack is available on YouTube, Amazon, Spotify, and iTunes.
By Sienna Mata