When there is as much hype surrounding an event as has happened with the block buster show Hamilton, one can only wonder if it is as good as advertised. The answer is an enthusiastic YES! I held off going during its Houston run because the tickets are pricey, but at the last minute there were some single seats available for a somewhat reasonable price, and I bit ending up with a great seat close to the stage.
What immediately grabbed me is the energy of the production which the audience responded to in kind. Throughout the performance, theater goers were showing their appreciation with cheers and hands together. I was among them, but there was something else that generated my response, and that is the sheer genius of the show.
As the story goes, the creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda, was inspired by Ron Chernow’s book Hamilton. Now, I read the book and while I learned much about Alexander Hamilton and his contemporaries, I got so bogged down in detail that I couldn’t imagine being creatively inspired. Thankfully, Miranda did not have the same response. As a result, he presents American history with a lesser known founding father, Hamilton, as the central character surrounded by the more familiar Washington, Jefferson, Madison and others.
There is no question that Hamilton is successful theater, but I think it is more than that. It is a reminder that perhaps we don’t know as much about history as we might. Alexander Hamilton has been little more than a blip on the screen with reference to him being that he was the first Secretary of the Treasury and that he was killed by Aaron Burr. What the play does is enlarge his role among the founding fathers and engage an audience by entertaining with fact. There were a lot of young people in the theater, and I doubt they were thinking about Hamilton being a learning opportunity but there it was. As I observed their faces and responded to their cheers, I couldn’t help but wonder if they might be inspired to pay more attention to history and current events if it were presented more creatively.
Not often do I leave theater with so many thoughts swirling in my head. I have such appreciation for Chernow for having written a book about a relatively obscure historical person and for Miranda whose unique creative response has had such impact. Not everyone will have the opportunity to see Hamilton on stage, but I’m betting its influence will be felt far and wide. It is not theater that I will soon forget, and it will be interesting to see what the followup is.
Oh, if you happen to have opportunity to see the show, I recommend listening to the music in advance as it makes it easier to follow during the performance. The soundtrack is on uTube.
i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind
14 thoughts on “Hamilton: My Take”
I just watched Hamilton and I LOVED IT! I’ve been listening to the album for months and finally went.
I appreciate your review Linda, and I would love to see this show. I, like Cherry Kay, thought that maybe it was revisionist rather than factual since it has gotten so much political attention. I do hope it inspires both sertudents and teachers to learn more and make history more interesting. So many schools are dropping important classes like this, and so many teachers have gotten lazy and rely on the internet for teaching, telling students to do stuff on line rather then classroom interaction. Thank you for your insight,
What I’d say is see the show if you have the opportunity and judge it for yourself. I loved its energy, the dancing, the music, the character portrayal all of which made it very difficult to think in terms of politics!
politics is poisoning everything these days!
That’s a sad commentary but true.
Although I’m a life long fan of American History, I’ve avoided the musical Hamilton because it appears to be so very political. I figured that it was filled with revisionist history, and I would just get up and walk away angry and irritated. Maybe I’ll look into it more closely. Thanks for the perspective. Cherry Kay
Cherry Kay, I can’t imagine anyone leaving angry as the show is so incredibly clever. I didn’t view it as political. Rather it made an obscure person seem more important. Hamilton was a great influence in the early days of our freedom.
It really is very entertaining. Maybe listen to the album first as the tickets are quite expensive.
I live in Houston November-midMay.
Our grand-daughter have memorized all of the lyrics to the music in Hamilton. It’s a great learning experience for them. Cate and Natalie have become such wealth’s of historical information.
I think many of the young people in the audience had listened to the soundtrack enough times to know every word as well. It was fun watching them mouth along.
Me too! Haha
I always appreciate your comments. You make me really want to see the show.
Linda, your post is so interesting. I have read (most of) the book, and share your thoughts about it. I have not yet seen the play, for the same reasons you mention, but I plan to. History is fascinating, and for Ron Chernow to capture this time in history so well, and for Lin-Manuel Miranda to use such creative talents and capture the interest of so many people in his production, is wonderful. And thanks for the tip about listening to the music before seeing the performance; I might not have thought to do that.