Title: Hamilton: The Revolution
Author: Lin-Manuel Miranda, Jeremy McCarter
Publication Date: 2016
Publishing House: Grand Central Publishing
After watching Hamilton at the Dallas Summer Musicals last year I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this book. I am also looking forward to reading the biography of Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow that the musical is based off of. If you haven’t seen Hamilton yet, go watch it on Disney Plus. I will admit it is not as satisfying as live but it is a good version of the show with the original cast.
Synopsis from Goodreads
Lin-Manuel Miranda’s groundbreaking musical Hamilton is as revolutionary as its subject, the poor kid from the Caribbean who fought the British, defended the Constitution, and helped to found the United States. Fusing hip-hop, pop, R&B, and the best traditions of theater, this once-in-a-generation show broadens the sound of Broadway, reveals the storytelling power of rap, and claims our country’s origins for a diverse new generation.
Hamilton: The Revolution gives readers an unprecedented view of both revolutions, from the only two writers able to provide it. Miranda and Jeremy McCarter, a cultural critic and theater artist who was involved in the project from its earliest stages–“since before this was even a show,” according to Miranda–trace its development from an improbable performance at the White House to its landmark opening night on Broadway six years later. In addition, Miranda has written more than 200 funny, revealing footnotes for his award-winning libretto, the full text of which is published here.
Their account features photos by the renowned Frank Ockenfels and veteran Broadway photographer Joan Marcus; exclusive looks at notebooks and emails; interviews with Questlove, Stephen Sondheim, leading political commentators, and more than 40 people involved with the production; and multiple appearances by President Obama himself. The book does more than tell the surprising story of how a Broadway musical became a national phenomenon: It demonstrates that America has always been renewed by the brash upstarts and brilliant outsiders, the men and women who don’t throw away their shot.
This book documents not only what inspired Lin-Manuel Miranda to write Hamilton but how the play affected not only those who played the roles but other who saw the performance in its infancy. Hamilton was inspired in part by the biography of Alexander Hamilton written by Ron Chernow. The music was inspired by the hip-hop and rap music that Miranda grew up listening to and performed as an adult.
The success of this play teaches us all that nothing is too out there. Hamilton illustrates the importance of presenting topics in a different light to grab the attention of a broader audience. One of my favorite parts of the text was when it spoke of low-income theater students that watched an early version of the musical. I can’t begin to understand what it meant to them to hear a theater performance in the hip-hop style but I can appreciate that love of this musical and the story it tells brings us all together.
Things are wild out in the world right now. I hope that everyone takes a moment to read this book, to better understand your neighbor, to appreciate the level of work that went into making Hamilton a reality and to smile at how it changed lives. Something tells me that the “$10 founding father without a father” would appreciate the story being told about his live and he would really love the people that made it a reality. Happy reading!