Now that Hamilton is officially streaming on Disney+, many viewers are eagerly watching the musical. In fact, this unique historical-based musical is attracting thousands of viewers from around the world. Hamilton is a tale of Alexander Hamilton, one of the founding fathers of America. However, the musical approaches it in an unexpected and modern way that usually leaves viewers in awe. Written, produced, and led by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton has received success that few other musicals have ever achieved.
Hamilton the Musical
Firstly, we need to address the question of why Hamilton is such a unique musical. The show features little to no dialogue and relies heavily on rap-style music. In fact, Lin-Manuel Miranda takes inspiration from hip hop, R&B, pop, soul, as well as traditional-style show tunes. To the unfamiliar, the idea of watching a musical about Founding Father Alexander Hamilton can seem boring and something only history enthusiasts can enjoy. However, Lin-Manuel Miranda skills at writing eyebrow raising lyrics will have the songs stuck in your head for days.
At the 2016 Tony Awards, Hamilton broke the record for the highest number of nominations by receiving 16 in total. At the end of the night, they won 11 awards, including Best Musical. Moreover, the musical received the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.
Furthermore, the show is doing something unexpected with the cast. With the main idea being ‘America then, told by America now’, don’t expect a racially accurate cast. As a matter of fact, Lin-Manuel Miranda who is of Puerto Rican descent plays Alexander Hamilton himself. Throughout the cast you will see a wide diversity of races. This is because America today is made up of many different communities of various races. African Americans and Asians are no longer a small minority in the country. Therefore, by having America today tell the story, it makes sense that the cast also reflects society.
What Happens to Hamilton?
Moving on, the musical moves through the life and story of Alexander Hamilton. We would like to warn you that there might be spoilers! Viewers are first introduced to Hamilton as he leaves home and arrives in New York. There he meets prominent figures including Aaron Burr, John Laurens, the Marquis de Lafayette, and Hercules Mulligan.
After that we are introduced to the Schuyler sisters who make their way downtown. Eventually, Elizabeth Schuyler and Hamilton meet each other and fall in love, resulting in their marriage. The story then progresses as Hamilton navigates through the American Revolutionary War as George Washington’s right hand man. He then faces an internal battle as Elizabeth reveals her pregnancy and expresses her wish for him to slow down in life.
Next, we see him working while his wife and sister-in-law are away on holiday. Here he begins an affair with a married woman who claims her husband is abusing her. However, her husband finds out about the affair and begins to blackmail him. This then leads to him writing his entire encounter with the affair in order to clear his name on suspicions of swindling state funds. As a result, his marriage with Elizabeth suffers and only heals upon the death of their son.
To conclude the musical, Hamilton and Aaron Burr duel with each other which results in the death of Hamilton. The last song is from the perspective of Elizabeth who continues to keep his legacy alive.
Now, let’s talk about the accuracy of Hamilton the musical in comparison with the life of Alexander Hamilton. Firstly, it is important to acknowledge that as a musical, there is space to introduce some fictional elements to provide more drama and further advance the storyline. Here are just two fictional elements in the musical.
The show portrays Elizabeth’s sister, Angelica Schuyler, to also be in love with Hamilton. In reality, Angelica was a married women and a mother to two by the time she met him. Speculations of an affair are due to some flirtatious letters between them that many historians have dismissed.
Furthermore, Aaron Burr is remorseful after shooting and killing Hamilton at the end but the truth is that he did not regret his part in the death of him. In fact, the relationship between them which is heavily emphasised in the show is not accurate either. Hamilton and Burr did not meet each other and go head to head as much as they do in the show.