By Stephanie Soto
With Lin-Manuel Miranda hosting “Saturday Night Live,” he deserves a review of his record-breaking show Hamilton. Miranda breathes life into a mostly forgotten Revolutionary War figure through a creative synthesis of traditional and contemporary music and acting styles. Hooray that Hamilton has young people reading American history again. After all, Hamilton, with others, planted the foundation for contemporary U.S. society.
Nominated for 16 Tony awards, it claimed 11, one of the most award -nominated shows to date, just shy of the The Producers and Billy Elliot. Hamilton it is a Rap/Hip Hop musical. Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton, a founding father, is not your typical teen icon. Few young people recall his historical role nor significance.
Characters have distinct personalities, a notable feature of the musical. Actors play multiple roles, raising the talent bar even higher. Daveed Diggs delivers the fastest raps I’ve heard, with an accent no less. The ensemble wears mostly white costumes.
Women vocalists are superb. Angelica, played by Renee Goldsberry is the more confident voice, until she meets her match in Hamilton.
Playing Hamilton, Lin Manuel Miranda is in most scenes demanding an exhausting performance. How can he rap for that many numbers and not forget a word? Despite living 200 years ago, Miranda projects himself into the enigmatic Hamilton.
Several songs made the Billboard Top-Ten List, a great feat for musicals. A riveting score tells the story while simultaneously projecting the viewer into the character’s stressed mind. Add in clever wordplay, and we have a new form of Broadway art. Nuances such as movable props and sets moves the drama at the tense pace demanded. Stairs, a catwalk, and meticulous lighting provide the frosting on the cake.
Miranda’s Hamilton leaves us pondering issues of democracy equality, and economics. See the show. A musical with a multi-racial cast singing hip hop, while inviting us to critique our government present and past, may not come along again soon.