July 29, 2016

WORTH A TIME-ZONE VIOLATION (self-reference alert):

Hip-Hop Hamilton (Barbara J. Elliott, 7/29/16, Imaginative conservative)

The musical Hamilton is star-spangled patriotic and worthy of attention, even though hip-hop may not be the favorite musical genre of most Imaginative Conservatives. Why? Intelligence finds the answer to a question, but genius answers a question no one else has thought to ask. The genius of Lin-Manuel Miranda leapt across three centuries to answer the question of how to make the history of America's Founding come alive in a musical. Mr. Miranda's genius brings the American Revolution to life with a cast of multi-racial revolutionaries, mirroring the face of America today, who sing and dance in today's revolutionary genres of rap and hip-hop. Mr. Miranda created and played the role of the "$10 Founding Father without a father" himself.[1]

Terry Teachout of The Wall Street Journal called Hamilton "the best and most important Broadway musical of the past decade."[2] New York Times columnist David Brooks described it as "one of the most exhilarating experiences I've had in a theater... bold, rousing, sexy, tear-jerking and historically respectful -- the sort of production that strips things down and asks you to think afresh about your country and your life."[3]

The musical Hamilton opened off-Broadway in New York in February 2015 and was so popular that it moved to Broadway in August 2015 and has been packing in audiences to sold-out performances eight times a week ever since. An avalanche of awards and prizes has followed. Hamilton received a record-breaking sixteen Tony nominations and took home eleven. The musical won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and received the Kennedy Prize for Drama Inspired by History. The cast album received a Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album, and was named the number two Album of the Year 2015 by Billboard. Among many honors since, Lin-Manuel Miranda received the George Washington Prize Special Achievement Award and a "Genius Award" from the MacArthur Foundation.

Why does the musical Hamilton evoke such a seismic response? First and foremost, it is a powerful story, brilliantly told. Secondly, through Hamilton's story, we experience the dramatic story of the birth of our nation all the way from the American Revolution through the ratification of the Constitution and the presidency of John Adams. Third, Hamilton's biography runs parallel to that of the musical's creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda in striking ways. Both are immigrants and outsiders whose sheer genius has left a mark on history. And finally, this rendition of Hamilton's personal story embodies many of the classical elements of tragedy Aristotle describes in his Poetics, making this biography a piece of high literary art.

A moment of truth about this author: Like most people in America, I have not yet been able to see the Broadway production of Hamilton. 

we got tickets for the Chicago show in December.

Posted by at July 29, 2016 7:04 PM