I’ve been putting off this Music Monday for a few months now but being that this is a particularly special week, I thought it would only be right to write about Hamilton today.
- It’s a special week because today is the last week that Lin-Manuel Miranda will be playing Hamilton on Broadway. (Meaning I will never get to see him in this role).
- I’ve been putting off writing this blog because I fear that nothing that I say here will ever do Hamilton justice but alas I must give it a shot.
When I was a teenager, musical theatre completely changed my life. With the discovery of Rent also came the discovery that the world was so much bigger than myself. After I immersed myself in the world of Rent, I began to dream. I made plans, I aspired to be better than myself, I lived in the world of Rent for most of my teenage years and my life is so much better for it. Now here I am; in my mid-20’s with too many unanswered questions and still writing down my dreams, which I am constantly doubting will ever come true: enter Hamilton.
Hamilton is a hip hop musical about Alexander Hamilton, yup the guy on the 10 dollar bill. When I first heard what Hamilton was about, I was definitely hesitant. I kept seeing it pop up on my Twitter and Instagram feed but continued to refuse to look into it. Then one melodramatically, emotional night I’m sitting in my room watching spoken word videos on YouTube when I stumbled upon a video from a poetry night at the White House. In said video Lin-Manuel Miranda performs the opening song off of Hamilton and the obsession began.
The next day at work; I sat at my desk, pulled up Spotify and found the Hamilton Original Broadway Recording. As I listened, I silently lost my absolute mind. I looked around wanting to share this beautiful discovery with my coworkers but they were all, of course, working. Since that day (a few months ago) I listen to at least one of the songs, a day. I have watched every Lin-Manuel interview on YouTube, read every article, bought the Rolling Stones magazine when they were on the cover; the obsession is very real.
The music of Hamilton is innovative! It showcases inspiration from Hip Hop as well as other musicals. One of my favorite songs is “Farmer Refuted” because it always reminds me of “Christmas Bells” from Rent. I can’t listen to Lin’s part in “Helpless” without thinking of JaRule. I can’t listen to any of the cabinet battles without thinking of Eminem. This musical immensely impacted my life, I share the songs with my friends and I make no apologies for talking your ear off about it.
Lin-Manuel took people who we actively ignored in High School and made them human beings who we are emotionally invested in now. You don’t believe me? Tell any Hamilton fan that Alexander Hamilton should be taken off of the $10 bill, they’ll rip your head right off. I have yet to watch Hamilton be performed live, but there is no doubt in my mind that the music which has deeply affected me also transfers beautifully on stage. I want to describe to you how amazing this music is, but no amount of describing will ever make you understand. You definitely have to experience it on your own. Trust me. Have I ever let you down before?
Though Rent absolutely changed my life, the saddest part about discovering that Musical was also finding out that the creator, Jonathan Larson had passed before he ever saw the impact his Musical had in the world. (Too often do I think about how much Jonathan Larson would love Hamilton and every time it breaks my heart just a little bit.) Thankfully, Lin-Manuel is still very much here, so this part is for him:
Thank you for the blood, sweat and tears that went into this masterpiece. I am very well aware that Hamilton has changed your life but it has also completely changed mine. Every single time I listen to “My Shot” I feel inspired. Every time I listen to “Schuyler Sisters” I am reminded of the power that I hold. When I listen to “History Has Its Eyes On You” I remember how important it is to make a positive impact in the world. When I listen to “Hurricane” I begin to believe in my writing again. Lin-Manuel Miranda, you have completely changed my view on the world, on the Broadway world and on myself. I want to believe in my ideas as much as you believe in your own. You make me want to be better, you make me want to push myself, you make me want to make a difference. Hamilton helped me crawl out of the darkness that I so often find myself in. I live with clinical depression and sometimes it’s easier to sit in your sadness but even in my darkest days, one listen to any song on Hamilton and my spirits lift even if just for a little bit. I am eternally grateful to The Universe for having me exist in the same lifetime as you. Here’s to a beautiful and magical last week of Broadway performances, I cannot wait to see what else your beautiful mind creates. Thank you.
I’m feeling really emotional.
Have you listened to Hamilton? Is your obsession as real as mine?