Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Hamilton: An American Musical - The Original Broadway Cast Recording

Hamilton: An American Musical – The Original Broadway Cast Recording
by Lin-Manuel Miranda [Compact Disc 782.14 Ham] 
 A hip-hop musical about one of America’s founding father? Didn’t sound like something I would necessarily enjoy, since hip-hop is not one of my favorite music categories. But, because Hamilton: An American Musical became an international sensation in 2015 and 2016, I decided to give it a shot. And I am so glad that I did. This is one of the most compelling and engaging musicals I’ve ever listened to!

Lin-Manuel Miranda (The Heights on Broadway, and the soundtrack of the recent Disney animated film Moana), studied the true life story of Alexander Hamilton and found that he could identify with Hamilton’s personality and struggle. Years of writing and sharing with fellow musicians ultimately led to this musical, which on Broadway has been color-blind in its casting, putting actors and actresses from different cultural and racial backgrounds into roles based on what would have exclusively been caucasian figures in American history — Washington, Jefferson, Hamilton, Burr, etc. This level of creative diversity in and of itself is impressive, but what is most impressive is how the political, military and economic struggles of America’s earliest days are brought to vibrant life with Miranda’s pulsing and driving music.

I challenge anyone with an open and willing mind to not be moved by such Hamilton songs as “My Shot”, “The Story of Tonight”, “Wait For It”, “Yorktown (The World Turned Upside Down)”, “Dear Theodosia”, “The Room Where it Happens”. I’ll even have to admit, when I listen to the show closing number “Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story”, I get a bit weepy. These songs are filled with powerful lyrics, told in creative and unexpected ways.

Though the original Broadway cast of Hamilton has now moved on to other projects, PBS’s Great Performances on TV showed a behind-the-scenes “making of” special about Hamilton, which features snippets of the show. You can still view much of that special on the PBS website. And, hopefully, touring companies of the show will ultimately take it on the road to either Omaha or Lincoln. In the meantime, don’t pass up the opportunity to enjoy the music behind this 2016 Tony Award Winning Best Musical.

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Hamilton: The Revolution, by Lin-Manuel Miranda (the libretto) [782.14 Mir], Hamilton: The History Behind the Revolutionary Musical, by Kristine Dawson [782.14 Daw] or Hamilton: An American Musical – Vocal Selections, by Lin-Manuel Miranda [782.141 Mir]]
[ official site of the Broadway musical Hamilton ] | [ official Lin-Manuel Miranda web site ]

Recommended by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public Library

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