Hamilton: Love It or Hate It

todayJuly 25, 2020 21

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By Paige Greene
Web Content Contributor

Hamilton is an original Broadway production written by Lin-Manuel Miranda which follows the American Founding Father, Alexander Hamilton. The show is heavily inspired by hip hop and casts non-white actors as the historical figures. 

Opening on Broadway in 2015, the show has come to win eight Drama Desk Awards, 11 Tony Awards, a Pulitzer Prize for Drama and more. 

I vividly remember the Hamilton phase people had in 2016, when many people knew the lyrics to the whole soundtrack without having seen the production. Being someone who was never really into theater, I avoided listening to the soundtrack and did not know much about it. That is until Hamilton was released on Disney+ on July 3 when I, along with everyone, finally watched the production.

I admit I was very skeptical. Having only seen musicals on the big screen, the theater was something I was not familiar with. I knew there had to be some truth to the hype, so finally I watched the production.

Since its release on Disney+, many people continue to watch the production and believe it to be one of the most popular things on the streaming platform. Taking to Twitter, the hashtag “#hamilton” has been trending since the release on July 3. 

The tickets range anywhere from $200 to $1000 and it sold $30 billion in advance ticket sales upon its shift to Broadway. Since, the production has become a $1 billion franchise. 

Some critics have praised the musical, including Terry Teachout from the Wall Street Journal who called it the “best and most important Broadway musical of the past decade.” It’s impressive trophy case and constant sold out shows can back that claim up. 

Elysa Gardner from USA Today also claims that “there has been nothing on Broadway in the past 20 years to rival the riveting, exhilarating and haunting Hamilton.” The production has received its fair share of praise, even from President Barack Obama.

Even after the constant praise on social media since its debut, many critics and historians have a contrasting reaction.

Many people wondered how historically accurate the production was. AP News explains how historians have withheld their applause while the rest of the world becomes infatuated:

”Many academics argue the portrait of Alexander Hamilton, the star of our $10 bills, is a counterfeit.” 

The show has been called a “fictional rewrite” of Hamilton, and that they portrayed the Founding Father all wrong. Historians claim that Hamilton is not nearly as progressive as portrayed and is an anti-immagration elitist.

Miranda has explained in interviews that he tried to be as historically accurate as possible but it is basically a work of historical fiction. Even though the story is highly dramaticized, not everyone wants to sit through a 2 hour and 45 minute history lesson.

Hamilton is no Phantom of the Opera, but is on the rise as one of the most well-known musicals of all time.

Featured screenshot by Paige Greene.

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