All Creative-Minded Humans Should Read 'Hamilton: The Revolution'

All Creative-Minded Humans Should Read 'Hamilton: The Revolution'

If you participate in any type of storytelling, this is a must-read.


Over the Thanksgiving break, I spent a good chunk of time reading "Hamilton: The Revolution" by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter. I've been a fan of the show for years, so it was about time that I finally picked it up. And while my focus was on the annotated libretto (or script) for the purpose of a school project, I took advantage of the free time I had to read through a number of the chapters interspersed between the scenes. And despite the fact that I haven't finished them all yet, I found it so inspiring.

Overall, the book's basic purpose is to detail the development of this musical from the beginning to its peak as of the time of publishing. (Clearly, it's got "The Revolution" in the title for a reason.) It talks about the people (plus a dog) who inspired Miranda along the way, credits the whole team that helped each aspect of the show come into fruition, explains the lead cast members' path to and through "Hamilton", and gives notes written by Miranda himself on certain pieces of the music/script that give a deeper understanding of the show. In addition, it comments on the position of this show in the social world at the time (which happened to be just before this new post-2016-election era).

Why is this important? Everyone knows by now the genius of this musical, whether they like it or not. It didn't win all those Tonys, a Grammy, or the Pulitzer Prize for nothing. Part of this importance is because learning about important pieces of art is central to cultural awareness. But in the creative world, it becomes even more valuable.

Something I've heard time and time again through my years of working on different art forms and being around countless others doing the same is to constantly expose yourself to others' art- especially in your own field. Writers have to read. Musicians have to listen. Artists have to look around. Actors, theater designers, and dancers have to watch. The list goes on- but "Hamilton" incorporates all of that and the way this book outlines all of it is remarkable.

The annotations in the libretto don't just deepen your understanding of the show- they give you background and share anecdotes that show you how he came up with the little nuances that make it what it is. I mentioned that each core member of the team- the director, the choreographer, the set designer, the costume designer, the orchestrator, the producer, the lighting designer, and more- get credited, but it's more than that. They all have whole chapters dedicated to explaining what went into their work. I definitely did not realize all the little details that went into things like the costume design of this show and such before reading this. Each of the lead actors has chapters about them, too- the stories of Hamilton team finding them and deciding to cast them, their approaches to their roles, and more. The book really shows all sides of how this Broadway hit came to be.

From left: "Hamilton" choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler, Lin-Manuel Miranda, director Thomas Kail, and orchestrator Alex Lacamoire.

Then there are the chapters on how Miranda found his inspiration, which expand upon how he wrote the show with such precision. How he took bits and pieces from landmark pieces of music, from musical theatre to hip-hop to operetta, to create new ones. How he spoke about every historical detail with the author of the biography of Alexander Hamilton that inspired the show in the first place because, to quote him, "I want historians to take this seriously." How he read many of Hamilton's old writings as well as his correspondence with other characters mentioned in the musical. How he spoke with seasoned Broadway composers about their works. And though there's a quote in one of his annotations that says much of the writing process is "pooping around on Twitter until [he gets] an idea," it's clear from the contents of this book that there's so much more to the process than that.

All of this together really shows every detail of what it takes to put together such an incredible and complex piece of storytelling. And that's all that art is- storytelling in one way or another. Exposing yourself to how professionals in not just your field but in other forms of art tell their stories can give you a new perspective on how you tell your own. Hamilton isn't a bad place to start.

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If Taylor Swift Songs Were Types Of Alcohol

Because what's better than a drink and some T-Swift?

With Taylor Swift's quick return to the music scene... and in a big way, might I add, I decided to associate some of the best Taylor Swift songs with alcohol.

I mean, who wouldn't want to drink to Taylor Swift's catchy melodies and perfect choruses to get over an ex or tell someone exactly how you feel about them?

Taylor Swift has been around for a decade at this point, and let's face it, pretty much all of her songs could go along with at least one type of alcohol.

1. "Welcome To New York" - Moscow Mule

It only makes sense. Visit the Big Apple and you have to indulge in the state's signature cocktail. Moscow mules are a New York classic, and if it's your first night in the city and you haven't bought yourself one, are you even in New York?

2. "Blank Space" - Everclear

Think about it... A night of drinking Everclear will leave you with a giant blank space the next day. You might also look like Taylor did in the music video.

3. "Tim McGraw" - Beer

Tim McGraw is a throwback to Taylor's high school love. What better way to reminisce than with a couple friends and a keg of your favorite cheap beer?

4. "Style" - Cristal Champagne

What's more stylish than with a glass of the most expensive bubbly you can find? Just like Taylor Swift, Cristal will never go out of style.

5. "Shake It Off" - Martini

Get it? Cause you shake a martini? I might be the only one who thinks that's funny but you might end up dancing a little bit with a martini in hand when "Shake It Off" come on the radio.

6. "Red" - Merlot

Red has to go along with a red wine. What else could go along with yet *another* T-Swift breakup song?

7. "22" - Margaritas

Let's face it, when you're 22, you really only drink margaritas. They're fun- and all the hipsters are probably drinking them too.

8. "Teardrops On My Guitar" - Southern Comfort

When your heart is broken, who are you going to turn to besides the only alcohol that gives you comfort...Southern Comfort that is.

9. "I Knew You Were Trouble" - Fireball

I can't say I've ever met anyone who spent a night with Fireball and didn't regret it the next morning.

10. "Look What You Mad Me Do" - Tequila

T-Swift's latest single is an angry one. What better to make you angry than tequila? Taylor basically just called out everyone who had ever talked about her behind her back and she did it in true Taylor fashion-by writing a song. She was probably drunk on tequila when she wrote it too.

11. ...Ready For It? - Bottomless Mimosas

Because it's just that good.

Cover Image Credit: YouTube

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Board Games Are More Important Than You Think They Are

They've become a defining part of my family.


Remember when you were a kid and you'd have a family game night? Or your friends would come over and you'd open the game cabinet and play at least three different games together?

Maybe it's just me, but those are some of my best memories from my childhood. My family loves games, board games, and electronic games.

Of course, as I got older, gaming consoles like PlayStation and Wii became more and more popular. That meant that the game cabinet was opened less and less, collecting dust.

Thankfully, I live in New Jersey near the shore and Hurricane Sandy left my family with no power for five days. Sure, it was scary not having power and walking around my neighborhood seeing fallen trees or roof shingles, but we were inland enough to not have had any flood water damage.

No power also meant no PlayStation or Wii games. The gaming cabinet was opened again, this time with vigor. Now, four years later, and I still think about sitting in the dark with a flashlight playing Scrabble with my family.

That was also the week I learned how to play Yahtzee and dominated my dad in every game. My sister constantly was looking for someone to play her to Battleship. We exhausted Rummikub.

The game was already a family favorite, and that's including extended family. Family barbeques had been ending with late night games of Rummikub for at least a year by the time Sandy hit.

We were ready to strategize and crunch numbers, but after day three, we never wanted to a number ever again.

This semester, there's been a surge of board game love again in my family. My sister bought Jenga, which we are currently trying to exhaust ourselves with. My favorite board game also had a comeback: Life.

I loved this game so much that I had the SpongeBob version as a kid. I would play it with my best friend, just the two of us, playing game after game of Bikini Bottom themed Life. Now, I have a car full of "kids" that I've started to make pets in my head. I can handle having five pretend dogs, but not five pretend kids.

I don't know what it is about board games, but my family has always had an affinity for them. We've gone through our cycles of playing video games and card games, but we always come back to the classics. Maybe it's more a defining part of my family than I originally thought.

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