Hamilton The American Musical on Broadway
Hamilton The American Musical on Broadway is often viewed as a ground-breaking piece of work. Presenting American history in a way that portrays the multi-racial community that America is today. It all started as a concept album. This was a tidbit shared by Lin Manuel Miranda the night he was invited by the White House. He shared his views on his idea of the ultimate hiphop icon. In the event dubbed as “An Evening of Poetry, Music and the Spoken Word”. Miranda revealed that the icon he is referring to is Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton.
The audience did not hide its amusement in Miranda’s quip. The first couple, US President Barack Obama and the first lady Michelle Obama, were in the audience openly smiling at Miranda’s outlook. But Miranda was steadfast. Just like the very icon he admired. He then shared what became known in Hamilton The American Musical on Broadway as “The Hamilton Mixtape”. And this is where it all began.
“The Hamilton Mixtape” was the opening number in Hamilton The American Musical on Broadway. Miranda assumed the point of view of Hamilton’s greatest adversary Aaron Barr. Miranda managed to provide the background for The Hamilton Mixtape. But it was tame compared to the lyrics used in the song itself. While Miranda mentioned how Hamilton was born “in St. Croix of illegitimate birth”. The Hamilton Mixtape referred to the titular character as “a bastard, orphan son of a whore and a Scotsman”. Hiphop is known for not mincing its words. At the same time, choice of words are not often polite to say the least. So it helped that Miranda mentioned the disclaimer about assuming Aaron Barr’s point of view.
Miranda managed to mention how Hamilton ended up in conflict with every American founding father. He based this humanization of Hamilton on historian Ron Chernow’s best-selling biography of the Treasury Secretary. (Chernow himself mentioned in an interview with CBS Sunday Morning how Hamilton was the original American immigrant. It was from him whom Miranda bought the theatrical rights for the book. And even hired him as historical consultant for Hamilton The American Musical on Broadway.) Taking Aaron Barr’s point of view meant allowing the naysayers and critics to have a say in presenting their views on the infamous Treasury Secretary.
Hamilton’s critics obviously hated his guts. A life based on hard work and reading every book accessible to him were his first steps out of the hellhole. He clawed his way out of the abyss. His success is based more on what he accomplished rather than from what he came from. This was the image that Miranda managed to impart on his audience before Chernow’s book became a musical. It generated a buzz that eventually led to Miranda creating Hamilton The American Musical on Broadway.
The feedback generated by Miranda’s appearance at the White House generated the right curiosity. Fans will never forget the disclaimer for The Hamilton Mixtape. That this is Aaron Barr speaking to the audience. “Yeah, I’m the damn genius that shot him!” It felt like a justification on Aaron Barr’s part on killing Hamilton with his own gun. No lost love for the slain Treasury Secretary. Using this as the opening sequence for Hamilton The American Musical on Broadway was a strategic move to keep the audience glued to their seats. Who was Alexander Hamilton really? And does it support Aaron Barr’s justified hatred for his greatest adversary? The rest of the musical would help the audience judge Hamilton on its merits.
The Hamilton Mixtape also fueled on the polarizing image of Hamilton himself. American historians either loved him or hated him. Each of the American founding fathers had their own “fan groups” too. It was Miranda’s gesture in striking a balance. And so he managed to write Hamilton The American Musical on Broadway without compromising historical authenticity.
The part where creative license comes in Hamilton The American Musical on Broadway is the hiphop treatment. The hiphop aspect of this hit musical was discussed in a previous article here. So far, it’s still one of the best-selling musicals on Broadway as of this writing. Click here to score tickets while supplies last. Because revisiting history does not have to be boring.
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