If you haven’t been living under a rock for the past few months, you’ve heard about the revolutionary new musical, Hamilton (see what I did there). Hamilton and its creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda, are hotter than ever right now and just scored a record-breaking 16 Tony nominations, surpassing the 15 previously held by The Producers and Billy Elliot.
If you happen to be wondering if Hamilton deserves all this hype, it most certainly does. We should all definitely be blowing our savings to fly to New York City and witness this marvel of human creativity. From the first “Alexander Hamilton” to the last and even beyond the stage, this musical is unprecedented and deserves every one of its viral mentions.
1. THE MUSIC IS INSANELY GOOD – OBVIOUSLY
Hamilton is a crazy mix of hip-hop, rap, R&B and good ol’ Broadway. If you think that couldn’t possibly work, tell that to the show’s Grammy and Billboard records. The combination melds flawlessly and has led to a phenomenon of rapping theatre kids. Plus, the cast effortlessly transitions from rapid-fire rap to soulful ballads to beat-boxing without batting an eye.
2. ITS BRILLIANTLY WRITTEN
Lin-Manuel Miranda is a genius on-par with Mozart. It is clear why the musical took him six years to write: every word of it is crafted out of pure gold. With break-neck lines like, “I’m in the cabinet. I am complicit/In watching him grabbing at power and kissing it./ If Washington isn’t gon listen / To disciplined dissidents, this is the difference / This kid is out!” who can argue that the man is not one of the most tallented writers on the planet? The alliteration! The internal rhymes! It’s a writer’s dream!
3. IT’S BRILLIANTLY ACTED
Even without a trip to New York, it’s clear from the soundtrack alone that the cast is AMAZING. Every Broadway cast is talented, but the complexity of this show demands a ridiculous amount of skill. In “Guns and Ships” Daveed Diggs has a section where he raps 19 words in three seconds. This entire show is one long tongue twister and this brilliant cast navigates through it beautifully eight times a week!
4. THE COLOUR-BLIND CASTING
Some people are up in arms about Miranda’s colour-blind casting of the show. The argument is for realism, and while that is understandable, this is theatre! The entire revolutionary war and the subsequent founding of the United States did not actually happen in three hours either. The casting, as Miranda has said, is more reflective of America now and is meant to display the country’s diversity. Part of the show’s relatablility is in the audience seeing themselves in it. Frankly, we’d be excited for a gender-blind iteration of the musical too. The world needs to see a female Lafayette!
5. YOU DON’T HAVE TO GO TO NYC TO LOVE THE SHOW
Lin-Manuel Miranda knows that everyone who wants to go to the show can’t (tickets are sold out months in advance). As a kid who grew up loving Broadway cast recordings, he’s made sure that his is available to everyone and that it includes almost every moment from the show. You can memorize every word of the three-hour long soundtrack without ever leaving your couch (or opening your wallet). Thanks, Lin!
6. HAM 4 HAM MEANS THE SHOW NEVER STOPS
And if that wasn’t enough, Miranda also coordinates the “Ham 4 Ham” lottery where the public can win $10 tickets to the show. Each day’s lottery is accompanied by a special performance featuring the cast and guests which is posted online where any fan can view it. And for those lucky enough to find themselves in New York City, there is a live “Ham 4 Ham” show every Wednesday in front of the Richard Rogers Theatre. If you’re having trouble finding Hamilton content, we suggest turning on your computer because that is probably the problem.
7. DID SOMEBODY SAY FEMINISM??
“We hold these truths to be self evident that all men are created equal. And when I meet Thomas Jefferson, I’ma compel him to include women in the sequel!” Angelica Schuyler is the ultimate feminist icon. Not only does she voice the problems stemming from a country that privileges the white man above all else, she puts her sister’s happiness before her own. The world needs more women supporting women! Just sayin’, the show totally passes the Bechtel test!
8. WHOA, COMPLEXITY!
This show really makes you think. Absolutely nothing is black and white. Who is the real villain? Is it Burr? Which Schuyler sister should Hamilton actually be with? What’s going on between Hamilton and Laurens? And it’s not just the plot that has complexities and nuances, it’s the music too! With the double casting of most roles comes a double meaning in every phrase. You’ll be thinking about this musical for days after you leave the theater (or close Spotify).
9. LIN-MANUEL MIRANDA IS TOO PURE FOR THIS WORLD
Whether the show’s creator is playing everybody’s favourite “founding father without a father,” free-styling on Jimmy Fallon or performing for the Obamas, this man is precious. Not only is he very clearly some sort of word wizard when it comes to lyrics, he is constantly preaching the same inclusivity, diversity and female empowerment as the show. It is clear he has put his heart and soul into Hamilton and loves the fans for loving his work. Plus, his son is adorable and their first family photo was taken by Humans of New York so isn’t that just cuteness goals??
10. YOU’RE ACTUALLY LEARNING (SHHH!)
The show mostly sticks to the real story of Alexander Hamilton with some minor modifications for dramatic purposes. That means that the musical is practically a history lesson. Thanks to Hamilton, you will never again forget that Thomas Jefferson became president in “The Election of 1800.” Bonus: you will definitely feel like you can rap after a few listens through the soundtrack. The euphoria after learning Angelica’s complete rap in “Satisfied” is unmatched!
11. IT REFLECTS US NOW
The source material for the musical may be over 200 years old, but somehow, the show pulls out themes that are still relevant today. Every character is relatable and it’s hard to walk away hating anyone (except for King George III, of course). The musical itself is a mashup of music, genre and people in a way that is reflective of our own society. Hamilton is a universal and timeless story that Miranda has presented in the most impactful way. Who knew that a musical about a little known Founding Father would become such a phenomenon? I don’t think anybody did. But Hamilton deserves every bit of attention it’s getting and broke that Tony record with good reason! Hats off to you, Lin-Manuel Miranda, your show is “awesome, wow”!
Be sure to tune-in to The 70th Annual Tony Awards airing Sunday, June 12th at 8 p.m. ET on CTV and the CTV GO app.