By Alyse Kiara Deatherage
With the release of the Broadway sensation Hamilton on Disney+ on July 3, audiences of every age and background are finally starting to understand why this musical had audiences raving for its entire production with the original cast. This musical was written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, who has taken the Broadway world by storm since his first production, In the Heights, and now his production Hamilton.
“A Pulitzer Prize, Grammy, Emmy, Tony Award-winning composer, lyricist, and actor, Lin-Manuel is the creator and original star of Broadway’s Hamilton and In the Heights, and the recipient of the 2015 MacArthur Foundation Award and 2018 Kennedy Center Honors,” according to linmanuel.com.
But, what was it that made Hamilton so great? Why did it rock audiences everywhere?
Well, the main answer lies in the music. As stated before, Miranda is a lyricist, but more specifically he focuses on lyrics for rap songs. In Hamilton, he took the rap of today and a style that resonates with many young audiences and used it to tell the historic story of Alexander Hamilton, who Miranda played.
Did you know Hamilton came from a poor family, with little education in his background? Yet, according to the story told in the musical, he was chosen to be the right-hand man to George Washington himself to lead the battle against the British. He took the world by storm and was one of the head figures in America winning their independence from Britain.
This musical tells the historic story entirely through rap songs, with practically no dialogue that wasn’t sung in rap. Some of the songs are rapped so fast that audiences have to re-listen to the song various times to even begin to understand what the audiences were saying.
Don’t let that discourage you if you aren’t normally into rap music, because the way the songs are so filled with love, joy, betrayal, and every form of suspense will keep you listening to hear this dramatic story the whole time.
In addition to the suspenseful moments of fast speaking with deep emotion, the story is also told with exciting choreography and staging. A perfect example is the song “Satisfied,” a personal favorite of mine, where we learn about the sister in law of Hamilton, Angelica Schuyler and her secret affections for Hamilton, who she ends up setting up with her sister, Eliza, for reasons explained in the song.
My top advice to anyone who doubts the experience they will get from watching Hamilton is to watch the first twenty minutes and if they are not deep in their seat by the song “Satisfied,” then they can write it off. I told my sister, who has never seen a live performance and thoroughly enjoyed it, to simply watch and listen and when this song ended she simply looked at me and said, “that was so good.”
This song alone has a deep enough story to entrap audiences, not even including the drama and suspense to come with the rest of the musical.
To go with the music is sensational choreography and staging that builds up the suspense throughout the story. Like Disney’s Newsies, Hamilton uses a structure that is moved and shaped to create various scenes and buildings throughout the musical.
Even the stage itself was used as a prop with its ability to turn in separate circles, giving a new depth and dimension to certain scenes of the musical, such as the distance between Hamilton and his wife while he was away at war.
And of course, the cast cannot be doubted either. One of the biggest reasons for the excitement behind Disney+’s release of Hamilton was the fact that it would feature the original cast, who only performed together for the original tour of the musical. Seeing these sensational performers together to tell this story again is a historical moment many fans were happy to experience.