Unless you’ve been in hiding in the Himalaya’s for the past year, you’ll have heard of Hamilton. It has completely shaken up Broadway with its immense success and tickets are like gold dust, the fact that people who claim to have tickets are selling them for up to $2,500 says it all really!
This really is the hottest show on Broadway and it is almost certainly heading across the pond next year to UK audiences. Trust me, everyone will be talking about it (if they aren’t already) and it’s really worth swotting up about it to stay in the loop. Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered with the 10 things you need to know about Hamilton.
1. Hamilton tells the story of Alexander Hamilton, one of the lesser known founding fathers of the United States. In his time he fought in the Revolutionary War, founded the Federalist Party, served as Treasury Secretary, founded the first financial system and was the right hand man of George Washington. In short he was a pretty impressive guy and deserves a lot more credit for his work.
2. The book, lyrics and score was written by one man, Lin Manuel Miranda, who also stars as Alexander Hamilton. He also wrote and starred in In The Heights which is currently running in the West End. He initially decided to write Hamilton as an album (much like Jesus Christ Superstar) after reading Ron Chernow’s biography of Hamilton before later choosing to stage it on Broadway.
3. Despite the original people whom the characters are based on being white, the cast is purposefully multi-racial. In fact the only white principal character is King George III, played by Jonathan Groff, Andrew Rannells and currently, Rory O’Malley.
4. The score is entirely comprised of R&B and rap music. Lin is a huge hip-hop fan and took inspiration from iconic artists such as Busta Rhymes, the Notorious B.I.G and 2Pac when writing Hamilton. Previously boring parts of history, like Cabinet Meetings, are much more exciting when they are staged as rap battles!
5. Hamilton was written to reclaim the history of America for people of colour, seeing as it is usually so overwhelmingly white. The idea is that it is the story of old America, told by new America, through the music that gives them a voice. There are a lot of parallels between what the revolutionaries went through fighting for freedom from the oppressive British forces, and what people of colour go through today, facing discrimination, police brutality and inequality in their own country.
6. The cast recording debuted at Number 12 on the Billboard 200 the week it was released, almost unheard of for a musical theatre album!
7. Hamilton has been fully endorsed by the White House on several occasions. In fact the first time the world saw anything from the project was when Lin performed “Alexander Hamilton” at the White House Evening of Poetry, Music and the Spoken Word. President Obama and his family have seen the show and the whole cast visited the White House to perform in March.
8. Other influential fans include Oprah Winfrey, Lea Michele, Amy Schumer, Jennifer Lopez, Lena Dunham, Queen Latifah, Tom Hanks, Daniel Radcliffe, Lupita Nyong’o, Kristen Chenoweth, John Stamos, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Alicia Keys, Common, Hillary and Bill Clinton, Samuel L Jackson, Emma Watson, Eminem, Kim Kardashian, Kanye West, Jay Z and Beyonce, the list goes on and on.
9. Guns and Ships contains a couplet that holds the record for being the fastest set of lyrics in Broadway history, as Daveed Diggs raps 19 words in about 3 seconds! In fact the whole musical is incredibly fast, packing in over 20,000 words in about 2 and a half hours.
10. After storming New York, Hamilton is looking towards world domination, including Britain! Mega-producer Cameron Mackintosh has confirmed that there is “every intention” to bring the smash hit to the West End with a Hamilton London production. Lin has also expressed his hopes that the London cast will be just as diverse as the Broadway one. I think we can expect this show to make a pretty big splash when it lands in 2017!
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