by Special Guest Writer Anisa Nadia Balram
Hamilton is regarded as one of the most successful Broadway shows, as it portrays a different side of American history through rap and hip-hop. Creator and star Lin-Manuel Miranda retells the tale of Alexander Hamilton, one of America’s founding fathers who doesn’t seem to get that much attention from the history books, accompanied by other historical figures such as George Washington, Aaron Burr, and Marquis de Lafayette. The characters are mostly performed by people of color. Lin-Manuel additionally makes references to other famous lyrical pieces from “Shook Ones” by famous rapper Mobb Deep to other hit plays like ‘Les Misérables’. The play has been so marvelous that it has won the Pulitzer Prize for drama and was nominated for a record-breaking 16 Tony awards, while winning 11.
On March 20th 2019, I was given the wonderful opportunity to see the Broadway hit along with a special interview before the performance with Lin-Manuel Miranda and other members of the cast. Miranda revealed his deep connection with the characters as he explained his chance to portray everyone from Alexander Hamilton to the Schuyler sisters. He was inspired by Ron Chernow’s biography of Alexander Hamilton and other real-life experiences like taking the train to compose his musical masterpiece. The play begins with the song “Alexander Hamilton” which tells of his early life struggles and how the power he wields with a pen a pen allows for his contributions to American history. The plot entails dramatic high and low points throughout the American Revolution and even blackmail. It then eloquently closes with “Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story,” sung by a number of characters who pose the question of how one’s legacy is decided when they are gone.
The show was beautifully executed and every character had something different to offer. I found myself empathizing with some of the characters because of how realistically they presented their stories. If you are ever given the opportunity to see the play, I recommend that you take it, as the show has a lot to put forward. Some would even say that it is “life changing.” It definitely isn’t your average classical Broadway show, but that is what makes it so special. It has changed Broadway forever.