By Ally O'Connor
Following my previous post about the Broadway musical Anastasia, I thought I would review the other, and even more famous, new musical that I had a chance to see on my recent trip to New York City — Hamilton. While I loved Anastasia and found it to be a brilliant remake of an old animated film, Hamilton was on another level.
Composed entirely of song and rap, the musical follows the life story of the American Founding Father, Alexander Hamilton. To the musical’s benefit, creator Lin-Manuel Miranda chose color-conscious casting of non-white actors to play the Founding Fathers and other historical figures. In addition, I was glad to see women in the ensemble portraying men and male soldiers at different points in the story. All of Miranda’s choices in terms of character design were unexpected, intricate, and perfect. The multiracial cast of Founding Fathers rapping was far from the American reality of prim and proper men in powdered white wigs; however, as Miranda once described, Hamilton is “the story of America then, told by America now.” This more current retelling of American history draws audience members into the story because they can now more truly connect with distant historical figures like Alexander Hamilton, Aaron Burr, George Washington, and Thomas Jefferson.
In terms of the music, there was not a single song that I disliked. Everything was off the charts, simply fantastic. To note just a few of my favorite musical numbers, I especially enjoyed “Satisfied,” “Wait for It,” “Dear Theodosia,” “Burn,” and “It’s Quiet Uptown.” Each actor had outstanding vocal capabilities and I was impressed by how clear and articulate the raps were performed.
To conclude, Hamilton was nothing less than the best new musical I have seen in a long time, and Lin-Manuel Miranda and the extraordinary cast deserve every outstanding review and accolade that they receive. I am extremely lucky to have had the opportunity to see such a wonderful show and would highly recommend Hamilton others.