This is part of a series of re-posts of student blogs from Coastal Carolina University’s Intro to Public History course in Fall 2018. Please visit the class website, https://ccupublichistory18.wordpress.com, for more information.
By Autumn McNutt
Hamilton has swept the world by surprise with new its innovative story and delight to audiences around the world. It is a 16 Tony award winning Broadway show hitting the record for the most nominations in the history of Broadway theatre. It has improved the way hip-hop and rap can thrive at the box office, which provides evidence that the history of Broadway sounds are changing into more contemporary music.
The show is not exclusively a hip-hop musical but rather a mash-up of pop, rock and, and jazz that adds to the songbook of American theatre. Hamilton has significantly increased genuine diversity on Broadway, hitting the record of 40 nominations dedicated to actors of color. Throughout history, most Broadway performances feature either a majority of white cast or one that revolves around a single, particular group. However, Hamilton has filled its roles with a plethora of races and ethnicities, many of who have been afforded equal opportunities as their non-white cast members. It is clear that the influence of music and emphasis of diversity has created a unique cast.
The show has attracted both political figures and entertainers such as Beyoncé, Bill Clinton, Michelle Obama, Madonna, and more, and has become one of the only musicals to win a Pulitzer Prize. In terms of social media and pop culture, it has raised the bar for Broadway show’s social media and the artist of color’s presence through the Internet.
The show is a social and political commentary on the complexities that followed Alexander Hamilton and his childhood as an orphan in the Caribbean, through his successful career as an outstanding member in the government, and to his tragic death by a friend and enemy Aaron Burr. It is applicable for teens and young adults that find history, music, and drama fascinating in its combination. It can exemplify how history has repeated itself in today’s society. Though the concept of our Founding Fathers seems so far away, it still resonates with social constructed behaviors of men and women’s rights. Watching the show can allow one to realize how undeniable it is that we have developed significantly as a society.
Overall it is apparent that Hamilton was one of use, and his story involves the same struggles that can be individually relatable in today’s society. The impact of “Hamilton” can be altering of ones former perception of reliability in terms of historical figure representation today.. The show provides audiences with a new way of thinking that is closely related to race, culture, oppression, political change, and hierarchical influence. When I watched the show in New York City, I was truly stunned. It is visual and emotionally beautiful and truly embodies all of these topics that I have discussed. The women’s roles are powerful as well as the men, and the dynamic between the characters show a truthful representation of history and its impact on the year 1776. However, despite this being a show about historical figures, it is really a social commentary on the problems with our society, and how things can be changed and interpreted in a different lens.