I know I’m a little late to the party. I listened to the Hamilton soundtrack for the first time in 2017, two years after its first production. But showing up late to a party is cool, right?
When I listened to the soundtrack for the first time, I was ignorant of the show’s background. I didn’t know that black actors were portraying white characters, for example, and I didn’t really know what the show was about. I just listened to the music on the recommendation of a friend.
So my first experience with Hamilton was similar to reading a book for the first time–I experienced the plot without omniscience as to the conclusion of the story.
This allowed me to experience Lin Manuel Miranda’s (and by extension, Ron Chernow’s) portrayal of the life of Alexander Hamilton without the influence of media coverage over the past two years.
After listening to the soundtrack several times (yes, it’s that good), I started to talk about the show with family and friends. I was surprised by the number of negative responses I encountered regarding the show due the to its “politicized” nature.
Until that point, I had only my experience with the musical (not the pubic’s critical response), which had been quite positive. I had not perceived the show as “politicized,” and it genuinely surprised me that someone would think it was.
After some questioning and listening, it turns out that the issue most people had with the show was founded on the statement the Broadway cast made to, then, Vice President Elect Mike Pence (video here).
I don’t wish to comment on the video linked above nor on other Hamilton-related political discussions–I have done only minimal digging into opinions about the show, the background of it, and its “politicization”. To this day, I still have not seen Hamilton.
But I am seeing it this weekend.
That’s the reason for this post and for the following posts, which I will link to at the bottom of this once they are completed.
Before I go to the show, surround myself with people who are most likely very opinionated about its “politicization,” and taint my current understanding of it, I want to put in writing the things I learned from the Hamilton soundtrack.
I guess my motivation in writing these responses is to document my understandings and impressions prior to seeing the show and after (I will most definitely write about seeing Hamilton), but also to share what I perceived to be valuable messages from the show itself, independent of the external “politicization.”
Proceed with caution as there are most definitely spoilers in the following posts, but the show has been in production for two years and the plot is well-documented American history…
I hope these posts are of value to anyone who reads them, and maybe even convinces a few people to listen to the soundtrack if they were previously skeptical.
I have the honor to be your obedient servant,