The Hamilton Renaissance

Source: USA Today

Every once in a great while a play or musical comes along that seeks to change the course of history — but it is very rare that a show about someone who changed the course of history manages to do the very same thing.

Hamilton has revitalized the American musical in such a way that theater-goers are losing their ever-loving minds. Just hop on Ticketmaster to try and get a seat and you’ll see part of what I’m talking about. Hamilton is changing the landscape of Broadway in a very similar fashion that Book of Mormon swept through in 2011 — and it’s still going strong today.

A huge part of the success of Hamilton is indebted to the mastermind behind it — Lin-Manuel Miranda. He is no stranger to taking Broadway by storm, as his previous musical hit In the Heights showcases. But making a musical about founding father Alexander Hamilton brings everything to a whole other level of genius.

There are hundreds of articles and posts out there about this show, but what I want to point out in mine is something I saw on Facebook the night of the Grammys. The cast had just finished their broadcasted performance, and in the midst of all the appreciative and commending posts, there was one that went against the grain. It said simply:

Rap needs to stay off Broadway.

Well, what do you say to that? Besides acknowledging the missing preposition, there were plenty of things I wanted to say to that, but I didn’t want to start an argument (which is what it would’ve eventually turned into).

Why can’t rap exist in the Broadway sphere? Why does it have to be limited to ballads and monologues? I’m all for a classic musical, but c’mon. We need to make room for diversity — not only in the actors on the stage, but in what is being put on the stage. I think musicals and plays like Hamilton are shaking up the Broadway world in a good way, and a majority of people agree with me. And those that don’t agree with me probably haven’t seen it yet, or have not listened to the album.

People are afraid of rap breaking into the Broadway sphere because inherently, they fear some kind of corruption. They fear a corruption of what is comfortable to them, of what is normal for them. And this fear it totally justified, I mean, I get it.

No one should be enforced to like Hamilton because of what it is, but they should feel compelled to embrace and appreciate what it represents. It’s hard to watch history rewriting history in front of your eyes and not fall under its spell. This show is single-handedly giving Broadway a facelift while also staying true to the core of almost every American musical— the perseverance of the human spirit.

In any case, Miranda managed to yet again shake up the theater community. Whether it be in a bodega in Washington Heights, or on the battlefields during the American Revolution, he continues to craft inspiring and relatable stories — and they continue to be incredibly intriguing even if they’re not personally relatable.

And to Lin, whether you may be (tweeting about Groffsauce, playing with your son, or just being the fantastic human you are), thank you.