How does an actor, writer, daughter of a Canadian and an engineer dropped in the middle of a small college, by providence, personable in word, become even more of a nerd? By way of Lin-Manuel Miranda. A certified genius based off of his MacArthur Fellowship, his latest popular endeavor: the hit Broadway musical “Hamilton.” I know what you’re thinking, “Sarah, we’re not theatre nerds like you; why would we give a crap about some musical?” Well, unless you have been living under a rock, you would know that this is no ordinary musical. If you walk anywhere near the theatre building or certain dormitories, you have probably already heard people belt songs from the show at varying levels of tunefulness. And you should know its music and lyrics are heavily influenced by rap and hip-hop, so much so that cabinet meetings during Washington’s administration are imagined as full-blown rap battles.
It’s a spectacle that almost half of America wants to see, and yet most have only seen glimpses of the show through small samples on the Grammy’s and 60 Minutes. Tickets are sold out three months in advance, so and hopefully there will be a national tour that hits every major city (that’s my only chance of ever seeing it). In the meantime, most of us poor plebeians can only imagine the show while listening to the soundtrack on repeat until our wallmates scream at us to turn it down.
If you are new or not a member of the Hamiltrash (what the fans are calling themselves these days), here is a crash course on what you need to know.
The best song on the cast album is every single one, but in order to sound like you are in the know, just listen to these staples: “Alexander Hamilton,” “Aaron Burr, Sir,” “The Schuyler Sisters,” “Wait for It,” “You’ll Be Back,” “Cabinet Battle #1″ and “The Room Where it Happens.”
If you have not fallen in love with the musical by listening to just two of
the songs, there is no hope for you as a human being, and you should go live in a cave. You can listen to the entire album on Spotify, and I highly recommend that you do so. “Hamilton” is a rare kind of musical that has something for everyone and is a crossover hit. Plus it doesn’t hurt that it reimagines the story of the founding fathers and presents it with a twist.
I’m personally obsessed with the show for many reasons; the lyrics and music are insanely clever and catchy without being tedious and redundant, which is hard for a musical to accomplish.
All of the major cast except the actor who plays King George by my musical theatre husband Jonathan Groff, are people of color. Alexander Hamilton is played by Lin-Manuel Miranda, who is Puerto Rican. George Washinton, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and Aaron Burr are all played by black actors.
It’s a story of America’s past told by America’s present. It is a masterpiece that deserves every award and all of the recognition it can get.