Theater

Hamilton

When a filmed version of the stage show debuted on Disney+, it quickly became the most-streamed program of any month this year.

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In its first year on Broadway, the smash musical Hamilton raked in 11 Tony awards and a Pulitzer Prize. When a filmed version of the stage show debuted on Disney+ just in time for Independence Day 2020, it quickly became the most-streamed program not just of July but of any month this year. But perhaps the strongest evidence of Hamilton's overwhelming popularity is that it was enough to stave off a progressive mob at a moment when little else has survived being scrutinized through contemporary moral lenses.

Amid demonstrations against police killings of black Americans this summer, some protesters turned their ire to the Founding Fathers, many of whom owned slaves. When a crowd in Portland, Oregon, tore down and set aflame a statue of George Washington in June, it was hard not to wonder whether public opinion might be coming for Lin-Manuel Miranda's hip-hop story next. Sure enough, the hashtag #CancelHamilton began trending on Twitter shortly after the musical's streaming release.

Alexander Hamilton was indeed an elitist with authoritarian tendencies and supposed ties to the slave trade. But in the end, the small number of would-be cancelers were no match for the musical's devoted fans, many of whom are delighted to see America's founding stories presented in a way that captures the ethnic and cultural diversity of the country that founding begat.

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  1. The wife and I watched it with great anticipation following all the hype.

    Lower your expectations.

    Broadway is really good at hype. It isn’t nearly as good as they make it out to be.

    But then again, I was not all that impressed with “The Greatest Broadway Musical Of All Time” either. I saw Phantom on Broadway and our entire group was like “meh, it was alright”. Cats and Starlight Express also got the cultural phenomenon treatment.

    I enjoyed Wicked a lot more than Hamilton, but maybe that was down to setting expectations.

    So go in with modest expectations and maybe you will be pleasantly surprised.

    Also… I am a bit surprised that people view casting a bunch of brown skinned people to play American Revolution figures as such a great and stunning statement. The Wiz was a long, long time ago. I thought we had left that sort of thing way back in our rear view mirror. Nobody outside of lefty circles and professional race baiters cares about such things any more. A black president isn’t all that shocking or transgressive to a 2020 audience.

    1. I thought the hype for Hamilton was dying now that it is available to the masses.

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    2. I loved it. I went in with very, very low expectations. I expected the rap/black actors to be a total gimmick for the lolz. But in fact, everything about the musical was deep and well thought out, IMHO.

      1) The music is really good. I didn’t expect to like it, but the kids listen to You’ll Be Back, Washington on your Side, and Right Hand Man all the time. I love What’d I Miss.

      2) This is more than a superficial historical accuracy here. There is plenty of inaccuracy for entertainment, of course, but a lot of the songs include actual historical writings. Having read several other books (Washington Crossing, 1776), the gist of what was happening was pretty good.

      3) Underneath, it has a pretty compelling story. The interplay between Hamilton and Burr is really good- about two rivals, one a poor orphan who is constantly acting like he has nothing to lose and the latter, a privileged orphan who always acts like he has everything to lose.

      While there are some liberal taunts in there (“Immigrants, we get the job done!”), there is far more for the conservative mind to chew on. This is largely because the Hip Hop style has a lot more words than you would expect in a normal musical. If the dialog/singing were at the standard tempo, I’d expect this musical to be 8 hours long. But instead you get all that rich history condensed into fast bits.

      Overall, the message I took from the musical was the story of a flawed man working to create a flawed country, and the beauty that came despite those flaws. This is essentially the way I see our country- beautiful, remarkable, and great despite its flaws.

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    3. Nobody outside of lefty circles and professional race baiters cares about such things any more.

      I would submit to you that the lefty circle of professional race baiters has become tremendous in circumference. It now encompasses nearly all of America.

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  2. “Sure, Alexander Hamilton was elitist and authoritarian, but he was from Bermuda, which makes him an immigrant, and that’s just dreamy! Diversity!”

    If only Trump was from Puerto Rico…

  3. Although many musical adaptations have flopped this may have proved that best way to do it is simply film the play. What you get is one of the best musicals available to watch whenever you like at an affordable price. Great work by everyone involved especially Lin Manuel Miranda……
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  4. Um,,, Alexander Hamilton was white.

    1. Cultural appropriation is for the privileged. The rest of us just have to keep paying taxes, going to work and eating shit.

  5. This was a shitshow. The irony of the virtue signal of removing muskets from the play was completely lost on them. Fucking commies.

    1. Were the muskets replaced with flashlights?

      1. Signs with strongly worded messages. That’ll get them.

  6. Amid demonstrations against police killings of black Americans this summer, some protesters turned their ire to the Founding Fathers, many of whom owned slaves.

    Hamilton was black… did he own slaves?

  7. Broadway musicals should begin and end at “The Book of Mormon.” Anything else takes itself too seriously and is nowhere near as entertaining.

    1. Self-edit: “Broadway musicals should end.” But that’s not very live-and-let-live libertarian of me.

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