Seeing as this Flick Friday falls just two days before the Tony Awards, it seemed appropriate to take a short break from our usual summer fare, for a different sort of blockbuster.
I am of course referring to the modern marvel of an American musical, “Hamilton.”
I won’t be reviewing it, as that seems a bit pointless at this stage in the game. If you’ve managed to avoid the rave reviews of this show then I suggest starting with this one from its pre-Broadway run at the Public, when Hamilton-mania was still young: New York Times.
It’s now been nearly a year since the show opened on Broadway and just over 8 months since I myself saw it, and I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again with no less enthusiasm, “Yes. It is that good.”
It’s not just the hip-hop take on our Founding Fathers, or the diversity of the cast, or the fact that its leading man also wrote the show. It’s all of those things and more.
First, may I say that as a lifelong lover of theater, it is thrilling to see the incredible reach of this show. People who’ve never given musical theater a second thought are going crazy over this show, and while I admit, there’s some sense of “we were here first,” for the most part, it’s a delight to see so many people discovering the incredible experience that is live theater. Next step, getting those people to see “Phantom.”
Now getting into the political/existential points here’s what I found myself dwelling on when it comes to this show: How accessible it makes this story, for everyone. If we’re being honest, for a large portion of the American population, it’s very, very easy to feel disconnected from the foundings of our country. And if you page through most history books on the beginning of our nation it’s easy to see why. Heck, you need only listen to a few moments of present-day politicians hearken back to our “Founding Fathers” to catch the drift.
If you’re not white and male, it’s not hard to feel disconnected from the birth of our nation. But here’s what I love about how “Hamilton” bridges that gap. They don’t do it by beating you over the head with diversity, but by reminding us all of their humanity.We see these statues of men question, argue, stumble, fail, yet still go on to lead our young nation. The lead-in to George Washington’s farewell speech, frame these words that are seared on our collective history, with a very human moment:
And as I touched on in Wednesday’s post, the women of “Hamilton” are astonishing. I’m referring not only to the talent but the telling of their stories. I was floored and moved (but not surprised) by how well Lin-Manuel Miranda incorporated the female experience into this story. I covered Eliza Schuyler Hamilton’s incredible life on Wednesday. So today I’ll take a moment for her older sister, Angelica, whose story is rather representative of the realities of the lives of women at that time in history and spelled out in the most heart-breaking (and fabulously delivered) way:
Finally, because people come to me with their concerns about why they don’t think they’ll like “Hamilton.” (True story. And if that’s not a testament to the incredible reach of this show, I don’t know what is.) I’d like to address the top concern, “But I don’t like rap.”
First of all, if you like music, you like rap. (And if you don’t like music then I can’t help you.) You might not like all rap, but you like rap. And the speed of this song is one of the most unbelievable moments in musical theater history…so take a moment and appreciate it…even if you “don’t like rap.”
And because I absolutely adore the clever casting and juxtaposition of the same actor playing both LaFayette and Jefferson, here’s Jefferson’s song:
And with that, I’ll leave you (until I’m back with Hamiltony predictions on Sunday), with an incredible version of an incredible song (that inspired this post’s title) that you’ll have to click through to Facebook to see, but I promise you, it’s worth it.