Monday, September 26, 2016

Hamilton - Lin-Manuel Miranda & Jeremy McCarter

Title: Hamilton: The Revolution
Author: Lin-Manuel Miranda & Jeremy McCarter
Publication Date: 4/12/16
Pages: 288
Genre: Play / Political / Nonfiction
How I Found It: I'm in love with the show.
Date Completed: 8/23/16

Summary: The "Hamil-tome" includes thoughts on the making of the hit musical, behind the scenes info and stories, beautiful photos, and the complete libretto with Miranda's notes.

What I Thought: I'm obsessed.

I never thought I would say that in regards to a hip hop musical about founding father Alexander Hamilton. I mean....seriously? History and musicals...I'm great with both of those. Wouldn't have necessarily put them together like this, but you could have convinced me there. But the hip hop? That's not my style. I was skeptical. Just like you are now if you haven't already listened to the Hamilton cast recording. If you haven't, may I politely suggest you stop reading this, block out a few hours, and listen to the album in its entirety. It's on Spotify. In fact, let me make it easy for you. Here it is. The whole album. Stop before reading on and at least listen to the first song...

Ok. Is it two and a half hours later? Have you listened to the whole thing and are now in awe of the genius of Lin-Manuel Miranda? It should be; you should be.

To call this thing a revolution is, well, it's worthy of the moniker. We are watching history happen. Broadway is changing; hip hop is once and for all being solidified as a viable, accessible, important genre of music; stereotypes are being broken; learning of all types is taking place. I cannot under-emphasize the dramatic nature of what this musical is doing in the world. I know you think I'm over selling it, but I swear to you, I am not. Never before have I rapped along with anything in my car; I doubt I've ever even listened to a full rap song before Hamilton. Never before have I so urgently wanted to know more about the workings of our country's financial system. Never before have I really seen or understood how powerful casting outside of historical precedent can be. 

I could write 5000 words here earnestly compelling you to become a fan, giving you endless reasons as to why you should make this musical a part of your life if you have not already, but I nothing I say would ever be able to speak the way the music does. Or this book, for that matter.

The book offers so much insight into the show, how it came to be (it's a fascinating story that starts in the Obama White House!), the creative efforts of so many, and the true genius of Miranda. The man won a MacArthur Genius Grant for good reason. Yet, reading his footnotes in the libretto simultaneously prove the brilliance of his mind and the fun, accessible, even goofy elements of his personality. He's delightful. 

Ok, I just fell down the YouTube rabbit hole trying to find a clip to prove my point. Twenty minutes between paragraphs and I can hardly pull myself away from the music. For the record, this is, I believe, the only music EVER that both Kevin and I have really wanted to listen to. To share love for a Broadway musical with my husband is unspeakably special to me and something I never thought would happen. 

The book. The book...

Reading the libretto, particularly with Miranda's notes, definitely helps you digest the show. The words come so fast that to read them is to gain a new understanding of just how much is packed in there. Plus, Miranda shares all the small references to Shakespeare, rap history, and other things that the average listener may never catch on their own. It only deepened my already ocean-deep appreciation for the lyrics. 

The chapters in between each focus on a specific part or person of the show. The show really has had a fascinating journey and we see the frustrations and breakthroughs along the way. Even Kevin is reading the book and enjoying knowing the story behind the show. The journey, in this case, proves as good as the destination.

All this and we haven't even seen the thing yet. It's coming to Charlotte on tour some time in the 2017-2018 season and we will be doing our best to attend. No doubt tickets will be expensive, so anyone wanting to contribute to that fund, feel free. Haha. However, to share something like this together is such a unique experience for us and I would not pass up the chance to genuinely enjoy a Broadway show together. Such an opportunity may never come again. Besides, as I said at the start, we are watching more ways than one. 

Quote I Loved: The entire show. JUST LISTEN TO IT ALREADY!

Rating: ★★★★★
Will I Re-Read: Yeah, possibly

A Reduced Review: If you aren't already obsessed with Hamilton, this in-depth look at the creation of the show will win you over once and for all.

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