July 08, 2020

Hamilton: An American Musical

You never know if you are a sucker for musicals until you watch one. Those of yous, who are lucky enough to see a live performance are lucky bastards. Last year, I had a chance to watch ‘The Book of Mormon’ musical play written by the ingenious South Park duo. But fate blasted me with a fussy state of affair, I missed it. It wasn’t a ‘big-miss’ considering I didn’t have an idea of how good it would be; Not until I watched ‘The Hamilton’ last night. In hindsight, if I knew what I know now- catching a glimpse of the Mormon musical would've been on the TOP of my to-do list.

I begrudgingly praise the Disney conglomerate for delivering the ‘Hamilton: An American Musical’ on their Disney+ platform. Watching Hamilton, the brain-child of the amazingly talented and sweet Lin-Manuel Miranda was a metaphysical experience. When we descend from the womb, we struggle to see through the shimmering light that we initially witness. As perplexing as it sounds, its a necessity. Once the glimmer settles we are ready to make sense of what we flatly call as- life. Likewise, Hamilton opened up a new world of art for me; a world that has ‘musical plays’ that were forbidden hitherto, which was assumed- stereotypical and bad. Thomas Merton, ratifies in his book ‘No Man Is an Island’  that “Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time”. Every second of Hamilton stunned me. The intoxicating music amidst its rudimentary lyrics was new and satisfying. I was lost in pre-colonial America and found myself kicking back to reality towards the end. Though the amazing story of Alexander Hamilton, one of the founding fathers of America played an appealing role; It was the sustaining songs, raps, and actors that made Hamilton memorable. At its heart, the play is about a young orphan- immigrant comin’ up from the bottom.

While vacationing after legions of performance in his hit Broadway musical In the Heights, Lin-Manuel Miranda read a copy of the 2004 biography, 'Alexander Hamilton', by Ron Chernow. This served as an inspiration for his award-winning yet to be musical. One of the many gratifying surprises of the show is its casting diversity. Miranda says, "Our cast looks like America looks now, and that's certainly intentional". The antagonist of the show Aaron Burr played by Leslie Odom Jr. is a compelling and worthy actor. The Schuyler sisters are a treat to watch! Philipa Soo is a rockstar. Christopher Jackson, Okieriete Onaodowan, and Anthony Ramos holds 'Hamilton' musical together and raises its bar after every scene. My personal favorite is Daveed Diggs, the man with a sexy french accent and sensational charisma. I won't mind watching a full-length rap musical of him portraying Marquis de Lafayette. I screamed when Miranda and Daveed Diggs high-fived to the line, “Immigrants — we get the job done.”
Hamilton premiered at the Public Theater, Off-Broadway on February 17, 2015. It will go on to win 8 Drama Desk Awards, 11 Tony Awards, Grammy Award and a Pulitzer Award. It took 5 years for the world to see Hamilton in their homes on July 3, 2020. The arrival of Hamilton boosted the download of the Disney Plus app by 74%.  People rushed to their screens to watch Hamilton!

I really hope this commences the era of worldwide online streaming of Broadway musicals. I also wish that everyone watches Hamilton & appreciates an unusual form of art.

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