The musical “Hamilton” had a unique cast, message and soundtrack that provide a refreshing take on history.
Lin-Manuel Miranda used hip-hop and rap to weave together the captivating rags-to-riches story of founding father Alexander Hamilton. By reimagining ideological debates between the Federalists and anti-Federalists and framing King George’s response to the colonies’ grievances as a catchy breakup song, “Hamilton” was able to hold the audience’s attention to impart a history lesson.
Not only was this use of rap and hip-hop innovative, the cast selection was also brilliant. As we go back in American history, it is more common for minorities to be relegated to supporting roles. Due to this, representation was critical when selecting actors. The cast mirrors the people who make up America today. By including black and brown faces as soldiers, politicians and scholars who played a major role in the inception of the U.S., the musical challenges our conceptions of what it means to be an American.
Finally, the messages are inspiring and easy to get behind. On a base level, the musical is an endorsement of the American Dream. Though I don’t believe in the American Dream, the play executes its defense in such a manner that I can suspend my disbelief and appreciate its beauty. On a meta-level, “Hamilton” emphasizes themes of inclusion and solidarity which are very poignant in these divisive times. Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “Hamilton” is undoubtedly a cultural touchstone of the 2010s.