Hamilton: My Musical Review
“You have no control who lives, who dies, who tells your story.” This is what Hamilton is based all about, an unlikely cast of people telling the story of one of America’s founding fathers. Before we get into the review, I should give you a little background about the show. We first start with show’s director Lin-Manuel Miranda. Miranda’s fascination started when he picked up the Hamilton biography by Ron Chernow for a nice reading session meanwhile on vacation. Hamilton was an orphan from the Caribbean who immigrated to the U.S. in search for better life. The biography describes his tales when he first arrives in America, until his last moments in Weekend, New Jersey.When he finished reading the biography, he saw Hamilton’s story in a sort of hip-hop way, so he started writing lyrics for what would become one of the most outstanding performances that have ever seen the light of day. He performed the first song “Alexander Hamilton” on the white house in the year of 2009. Then 6 years later in 2015, the play first opened in roadway with amazing feedback from critics and public alike. The Wall Street Journal describes it as “The most influential show of the decade.”
I started listening to the Hamilton soundtrack in November of 2016 due to the high praise that some of my friends outside of school had given it. It was one of the best albums I’ve ever heard in a long while, so when I heard that I us, Team Bridges were going to see the show, I was truly excited. I am glad to say that the performances made by the current cast were jaw-dropping due to the choreography by Andy Blankenbuehler. Although I was a bit disappointed at first since I expect to watch the show with the original cast, I’m glad to say that all my worries went away with the first performance of “Alexander Hamilton.”
Let’s start with Act 1. Act 1 was a mix of action and love due to this Act being where Hamilton arrives in the U.S. meeting his friends Marquis de Lafayette, Hercules Mulligan, and John Laurens, the American Revolution
starts and ends, and where Hamilton and Aaron Burr(Alexander Hamilton’s friend and rival) get married to their women of their dreams. Act 1 blends rap and pop style in order to make the audience feel hyped and feel sympathy for the cast. A good example of a song that makes the audience hyped is “My Shot” in where Hamilton describes how he will never throw away his opportunity to make a difference, so he expresses himself what he thinks is needed in order for America to be independent like is supposed to be. In the song there is the lyric. “Essentially, they tax us relentlessly and King George runs around runs a spending spree. He ain’t never gonna set his descendants free, so there will be a revolution in this century.” This lyric expresses Hamilton’s concern with the current situation of the country, so he wants to revolt against the British.
Then a song that makes the audience feel sympathy is “That Would Be Enough.” When Hamilton gets sent back to his home due to multiple complications with his collaborators. But not all is sour in Hamilton’s life. When he arrives home, he finds out that his wife, Elizabeth Schuyler, is pregnant with his son. In the song Eliza says “We don’t need a legacy, We don’t need money. Just stay alive, that would be enough.” In this song, Eliza states that all she wants from Hamilton is for him to stay alive in order to be by her side. But, Hamilton is once again needed which leads me to express what I believe is the best act of Act 1. “History Has Its Eyes On You,” and “Yorktown (The World Turned Upside Down).” This two songs tell the tale on how Washington explains to Hamilton why he refused so much to give Hamilton a battalion for him to command, and how the revolutionary war finally ended thanks to Hamilton’s plans.. “History Has Its Eyes On You” has the lyric. “I was younger than you are now when I was given my first command. I led my men straight to a massacre. I witnessed their deaths first hand.” This lyric could express why Washington felt so hesitant to give Hamilton an army to command, he feared that the same thing was going to happen to him.
After the war, Hamilton moves back to New York to pursue a job in law. But time quickly passes, President George Washington names Hamilton The Treasurer of the United States. Which immediately begins Act 2. In this act, it shows the hardships Hamilton had to deal being treasurer of the new country and his conflicts with Aaron Burr which led to his death. The three most remarkable songs from this act are “The Room Where It Happens,” “The World Was Wide Enough,” and “Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story.” But the last song “Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story” it has added meaning. The song contains the lyric “Let me tell you what I wish I’d known when I was young and dreamed of glory, you have no control who lives, who dies, who tells your story.” This encapsulates
the whole story of the play and its creator, since in this play, not everyone is portrayed as they were exactly where in real life. If it were for this, then all the cast would have been white except for Hamilton since he is from the caribbean. Instead we have people of color portraying figures such as Lafayette, Jefferson, Madison, The Schuyler Sisters, and many more. This representation of Hamilton was made in order to relate to us in this specific times, because even though those previous leaders were historically caucasian, Lin-Manuel Miranda purposely chose this way to represent the story of Hamilton in order for it to relate to our current generation and the diversity of our country.
In conclusion, If you ever have a chance to listen to the soundtrack, do it. Since tickets to the show can cost as high as $400 dollars listening to the soundtrack for free online is a good option. And if you want more Hamilton, there is also “The Hamilton Mixtape” where notable rappers/R&B/Pop singers such as: Alicia Keys, Busta Rhymes, Kelly Clarkson, Wiz Khalifa, Chance The Rapper, and many more take the songs and mix them into their own style. So what are you waiting for, stop reading this and start listening to it.