All about the Hamilton
Bold, Sexy, Rousing and Tear-jerking, Hamilton has been reviewed as an exhilarating theater experience. The historically respectful musical leaves you with meaningful thoughts and questions, urging you to think afresh about your life and country.
With lyrics and book by Lin-Manuel Miranda - Tony Award actor and creator – the musical also has Miranda playing the lead role. Under the direction of Thomas Kail of “In The Heights” fame, Hamilton premiered at the Public Theater on February 17 and enjoyed splendid reviews. Broadway previews started in July at the Richard Rodgers Theatre and the official premiere is set for August 6, 2015. According to the organizers, the show is sold out on numerous dates and it hasn’t even raised its curtains yet! Wondering how high this musical can go?
Judging by July 27, 2015 week’s box office numbers, Hamilton peaked at number 4 position, pushing aside blockbusters like “The Book of Mormon” and “An American in Paris”. Raking in $1,490,816, the musical is at spitting distance of $1.5 million mark. Benefiting from a huge national profile, Hamilton has prompted chit chat between President Barack Obama and Jon Stewart as they discussed the musical. It has inspired think-pieces by heady journalists and flattering magazine profiles. Hamilton is what everyone’s talking about and it’s already been declared the biggest hit of the year.
The Hamilton Inspiration – How it All Started
Composer, writer and performer, Lin-Manuel Miranda received a call from the White House in April 2009, inviting him to participate in a musical evening themed “the American experience”. Miranda who was 29 years old at that time had spent the previous year composing and acting in the hit musical, “In the Heights” that featured a classic fusion of salsa, hip-hop and rap. The rave reviews of the musical earned him the White House invitation and they expected him to perform something along the lines of his Latin-American experience.
But Lin-Manuel had something else in mind. While vacationing with his girlfriend, who has since then become his wife, Miranda on impulse bought Ron Chernow’s biography of Alexander Hamilton. And he was hooked. Alexander Hamilton was born out of wedlock and after being abandoned by his father, was raised in poverty. After his mother passed away, Hamilton who was still a child, planted himself in the center of New York City’s revolutionary fervor. A prolific and eloquent writer, he authored Federalist Papers and after enlisting in Revolutionary War, served as George Washington’s aide. He later became America’s first Treasury Secretary.
After reading the biography, Miranda saw Hamilton through his idiosyncratic lens and found him to be brilliant and relentless. He thought that the founding father possessed self-destructive stubbornness and had linguistic dexterity. For Miranda it was a hip-hop story, a life of an immigrant. He found a dramatic potential in Hamilton’s story and when the White House called again, Lin-Manuel suggested a rap about Hamilton. And that set the foundation of Hamilton the Musical.
Hamilton – A Historical and Cultural Reimagining
Miranda’s version of Hamilton features an orphaned immigrant, a reckless lover, a political rebel and clearly a born rapper. The script and dialogue reflect the thoughts of immigrant strivers from an energetic younger generation. The play opens with a high voltage rap and the entire ensemble cast featuring talented actors, tell the story of Hamilton. Superb direction by Thomas Kail draws attention to intimate scenes of love and hatred, all the while keeping the stage clear for musical exchange between the performers. Set design by David Korins allows plenty of space for choreography by the talented, Andy Blankenbuehler.
For a bio musical that’s character centric, Hamilton surely spreads it wealth. Even the secondary characters have their moment and play an important role in presenting Miranda’s impassioned narrative. Andrew Lloyd Webber gave the musical his stamp of approval via Twitter, stating that it has changed and raised the bar for musicals. He acknowledged it for its stage brilliance, incredible lyrics and talented cast.