Hamilton: An American Musical – A New Audience
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In August 2015, Hamilton: An American Musical took Broadway by storm just six months after its off-Broadway debut. The show continues to perform to sold out crowds at the Richard Rogers Theatre, with no tickets currently available outside of “lottery” seats and ticket re-sellers. In addition to its commercial successes, Hamilton received 16 nominations for the upcoming Tony Awards, including a nomination for Best Musical.
Cast members appear frequently on late night talk shows, pieces from the show have been performed at the White House, and other aspects of the show cross over into popular culture like few, if any, musicals before it. The show’s writer and star, Lin-Manuel Miranda, even appeared on Amy Schumer’s show on Comedy Central as Schumer parodied the show’s style for a sketch.
Since its introduction to Spotify, my phone and computer have played little else. In fact, it’s playing as I write this.
A unique blend of hip hop with musical theatre story-telling broadens the show’s audience beyond those who traditionally visit Broadway. As the popular culture appeal grows, the show exposes an entirely new audience to a story telling America’s founding and several of that period’s prominent figures.
If they take an interest in the Founders and America’s founding, they, like me, will take a closer look at the Founders and their roles. Personally, I am fascinated by the Hamilton-Burr relationship that concludes with Hamilton’s death following the duel in Weehawken, New Jersey.
As we discussed a few months ago about Netflix’s series Making a Murderer, opportunities like this are more frequent these days as libertarianism permeates popular culture.
Broadway has rarely tread here, aside from 1776, which had the exact effect discussed above on this aspiring historian. Hamilton has the potential to pique the interest of many theatre-goers, especially after the Tonys and as it begins a tour this September in Chicago, followed by San Francisco and Los Angeles next year.
For some, books are the path to libertarian philosophy. For others, South Park leads them. In this case, Broadway may be the catalyst that changes some hearts and minds. The biography that Miranda used as the basis for the musical is a best seller on Amazon.
Will you be there to help shepherd them?