Hamilton, the birth child of the unstoppable Lin-Manuel Miranda, tells the story of Alexander Hamilton (…yeah I hadn’t heard of him either); one of the Founding Father’s of America, his life, his work and his legacy.
If you haven’t heard of the revolutionary rap hip-hop musical then take a look here. Lin’s work is one of a kind, and after seeing the London Musical performance I am blown away by so many aspects of it.
Hamilton is a revolutionary piece of theatre for many reasons but the one that caught my attention was that there was a space for people of colour in theatre. Finally, a play where different skin tones weren’t boiled down into senseless stereotypes or playing that one token ethnic character.
There is a moment on stage when three black men are stood, centre stage, alone, singing. This was a wonderful moment in the show to finally see black men break that ‘type’ that they have been cast with for so many years. Strong, masculine, dangerous- these are still ideals that society holds up subconsciously about men of colour. It was liberating for a show to give space to people of colour to show their talent and skill beyond their skin colour.
Race aside (and there is a fair bit on race in this musical), Hamilton really knocked it out of the park musical wise. As a lover of musicals and theatre, it was a refreshing take on a musical – it was different! There was no moment of speech that wasn’t part of a song, the music was relevant and addictive, there were no weak songs to be heard and the story stayed strong throughout the whole show.
Many musicals now focus on the dance and music which often leads to a lack of story development. Characters are added in for no reason and parts of the story are lost to yet another reprise. Hamilton’s storytelling was one-of-a-kind, even the smaller character’s outcomes were shared with the audience. You cared about each and every character, and you heard what happened to each and every one!
Finally, it was funny! God, was it funny! Who knew a musical about race, history, politics, gender, laws and the life of a Founding Father of America could be so funny. It wasn’t just well-placed jokes (within a musical number, remember, no speaking), no, it was the perfectly timed looks, or movements or sarcasm. It was witty!
Hats off to every single one of the actors, but a special shout-out to King George III. When listening to the original Broadway recording, King George is somewhat lost in the storytelling. He’s the King of England, a bit annoyed at America and very needy. In the show, he was hilarious. I learnt more about the personality of King George than from any history lesson. The role cropped up in the most random of places but really taught about the British influence in American independence.
Talking of teaching, dudes, I learnt something from this musical. I learnt so much! I’m considering protesting for all history classes to be in the form of catchy witty well-timed rap musicals.
Tickets for Hamilton are no longer on sale (at time of writing) and I got mine 2 years in advance. That said, if you ever get a chance to see it – then do. If not, listen to the music at least, it’s wonderful.