When you think of a broadway show, what do you think of? Show tunes, over the top theatrics, and a massive amount of makeup. But recently one show has revolutionized the term and taken the world by storm. That show is "Hamilton: An American Musical." It has swept the Tony awards winning practically everything, including Best Musical. But why has this particular show become so popular that tickets for it are sold out until 2017?
The show tells the life of one of our Founding Fathers, Alexander Hamilton. Yes, that's the fella you see on the $10 bill when you go to pay for your Chipotle. But a hip-hop/rap musical about our nation's first Secretary of Treasury with a Latino man playing the lead? Many were hesitant with the idea at first because, if not done correctly, the show could be an utter flop. Creator and lead Lin-Manuel Miranda spent over seven years perfecting the storyline and songs before it finally became the hit it is today, with these major elements:
The Impeccable Cast
The actors are what truly can make or break a show. Miranda could not have done a better job at deciding what characters to include in the play and who should play them. It drives off the path of the generic antagonist/protagonist realm of a storyline. Though Aaron Burr is the man who shot and killed Alexander Hamilton, he was actually a good ally/friend for many years, and the play does an excellent job of showing the evolution from cherished mentor to regretful enemy. Each character is much more than one stale, sometimes obvious, stereotype, and it is quite refreshing.
Where else will you find a Latino descendant Alexander Hamilton, a Chinese-American Eliza Schuyler Hamilton and an African American Aaron Burr all wrapped into one storyline? In a time when diversity is a war all in itself, the cast is widely diverse, and this gives the opportunity to show the progress we've made in a central place so many can connect.
The Astounding Lyrics
Lyrics/music for any show are key, they are what set the mood, tone and feeling for that specific scene. But to incorporate such accurate and detailed historical information and transform it into lyrical music is a feat all in itself. The lyrics are thoughtful, humorous, heartbreaking, exhilarating and sometimes even ridiculous, but they’re considerably some of the best written today on Broadway.
The First Hip-Hop/Rap Musical Ever On Broadway
This type of music may not play a big part to a typical audience watching Broadway, but it is a key element to telling a story. Music shows what a character is feeling, drives the story forward and brings elemental themes together; what if those were updated with a musical genre no one really expected? Rap/Hip-hop itself has a more offbeat way to it, with a driving force which goes great with the more intense or frantic scenes.
With all these elements combined, it leaves for one spectacular show. Hopefully, it will help evolve the way we look at broadway shows to have diversity and creativity be key. Hamilton will go down in history as one of the greatest broadway shows of all time, and everyone should take the chance to see it.