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An American Musical

posted Oct 6, 2019, 12:57 PM by Monica DiTomassi   [ updated Oct 6, 2019, 12:59 PM ]
If you’re wondering: How does a bastard, orphan, son of a whore and a Scotsman dropped in the middle of a forgotten spot in the Caribbean by providence, impoverished, in squalor, grow up to be a hero and a scholar? I have the answer. In fact, I got to experience the answer a few weeks ago in Philadelphia’s Forrest Theatre. It was surreal being in there. The first time I had ever been to a real theatre to see a real Broadway show. When we sat down the stage had already been masterfully set and the crowd was speaking loudly with anticipation. I thought I was going to cry during the opening song because of the sheer joy of being there but it took eleven songs for the realization to set in that I was actually seeing this musical live.

I learned a lot that night and I want to share some of that knowledge with you. There are ten things you need to know:

Number One: There is no greater joy than singing along to words you’ve memorized with a group of your closest friends. We all loved this musical for so long that being able to experience it together was magical and breathtaking.

Number Two: Hamilton is eloquent and expertly written. Even if you hate musicals, can’t stand history, or flat out despise America and its Founding Fathers, there’s an appreciation for Lin Manuel Miranda’s rhyming skills. In summary: “Catch a bullet in the neck in Quebec.”

Number Three: If you’re emotional like me, always bring tissues. Thank god for my mom reminding me to throw a travel pack in my bag the night before I went. Many, many, tears were shed by the four of us that night.

Number Four: The performers were all incredible, but the men who doubled as John Laurens/Phillip and Lafayette/Jefferson were huge standouts for me. Although the woman playing Peggy/Maria had insane vocals too.

Number Five: It’s crazy to think about the orchestra below the stage playing the music throughout the entire show. The stage crew was outstanding with the sounds and lighting and literally every single aspect of the behind the scenes work. They never get enough credit for the hard work they do every single night.

Number Six: If you didn’t know, Hamilton’s story is told through hip hop and rap. I read somewhere that if Hamilton was sung like any other musical it would take four to six hours to perform. Instead, Lin is able to tell the life story of Alexander Hamilton in just two hours because of how quickly the songs move.

Number Seven: “Guns and Ships” is the fastest rap on Broadway, and you bet I sang that whole song under my breath while I was there. I’ll never forget coming home to my roommate last spring who was listening to the soundtrack with a friend. I joined them in the kitchen and when “Guns and Ships” started playing, I immediately launched into the first verse, no hesitation. To quote Angelica, I’ll never forget the first time I saw her face while I rapped it.

Number Eight: It’s subtitled “An American Musical” which holds true. Hamilton is the American Dream. An immigrant who is able to rise up, get the job done, and leave behind a lasting, impactful legacy. Except, before Hamilton the Musical his story wasn’t really being told. How many facts can you name about our American born Founding Fathers? Washington’s wooden teeth, for example, and Ben Franklin’s key and a kite. Now, there are so many people who know Hamilton’s story and will sing about it.

Number Nine: Another point about it being An American Musical. The casting is always diverse because America is more than old, white men. Seeing a multiracial cast playing key players in the founding of America really makes you think with a whole different perspective. Hamilton celebrates diversity and makes it clear that diversity is American and always has been.

Number Ten: If you truly what to know why Hamilton writes like he was running out of time, you should take a listen to Lin Manuel Miranda’s beautiful musical. You’ll find out about the wildly stupid things he wrote about (the Reynolds Pamphlet) and the legacy he left behind (planting seeds in a garden he never got to see).

If you have the opportunity to go see Hamilton while it’s playing, whether it be in its short run in Philadelphia or if you’d rather visit the greatest city in the world, according to the Schuyler sisters, New York City to see it, I cannot recommend it enough.