I saw Hamilton this week. The show’s been languishing on my “Bucket List” for sometime. (Now at the top of my list I’ve written: “Get reservations at Ben Poremba’s new gastro-palace, The Benevolent King.”) But I digress.
The Hamilton Saga
I did some homework before going to the show at the Fox on Wednesday. My vintage mind is not wired to understand rap music, so I read the lyrics a few times and listened to part of the CD. To tell the truth, I never think about Hamilton, unless I’m rifling through my billfold for a $10 bill.
In my background search, I learned that Alex was illegitimate, born on a Caribbean island in the British West Indies, and orphaned by age 12. He went on to become George Washington’s right hand man during the Revolution and led a night attack against the British at the decisive Battle of Yorktown. He was the nation’s first Secretary of the Treasury.
More I Didn’t Know
I didn’t know that Hamilton had 8 children and one adopted child and that both he and his oldest son were killed in duels—with the same pistol! What’s more, he had a seamy love affair that involved the payment of hush money. Had our teachers in junior high school spoken of these incidents, there might have been less dozing in history class.
A Knockout Performance
Hamilton gives life and rhythm to the Founding Fathers as the new nation unfolds. The revolving stage makes it easy to move from one vibrant tableau to another in advancing the historical narrative. Dancers seem to be in constant motion as they enact personal and political vignettes from the times of Alexander Hamilton. Ambition, and intrigue abound In Lin-Manuel Miranda’s timely portrayal of the escapades of those who took upon themselves the task of self-government.
Casting minorities in the play was a deliberate attempt to show the immigrant influence on the new nation, as one tune notes: “Immigrants, we get the job done.” There’s no shortage of humor, especially in the character of KIng George, who walks on several times to comment about the turmoil in the colonies: “They’ll be back,” he declares with a sly grin.
Hamilton has lots of subtle messages from across the pages of history. Miranda tells a good and memorable story. See it.