“How does a bastard, orphan, son of a whore and a
Scotsman, dropped in the middle of a forgotten
Spot in the Caribbean by providence, impoverished, in squalor
Grow up to be a hero and a scholar?”
So opens Hamilton, the musical playing at the Boston Opera House. I am not a theater critic but I know excellence when I see it (and I saw it last week). The three hour performance is nonstop excitement. If you don’t have tickets, mortgage your house – they’re available on the secondary market for $300 to $2,500. We were lucky. We paid face value for our seats.
Hamilton is an operetta sung from beginning to end in different music genres including Rap, Hip Hop and ballads. If you are lyrically challenged like me, I suggest you listen to the sound track and download the libretto. Lin-Manuel Miranda is a genius. He wrote the book, music and lyrics and starred in the role of Alexander Hamilton. Considering his talents, he could have been selling concessions during intermission.
“I am not throwing away my shot
I am not throwing away my shot
Hey yo, I’m just like my country
I’m young, scrappy and hungry
And I’m not throwing away my shot”
Hamilton is more than a theatrical event. It is a detailed history lesson. We may have studied Washington, Jefferson and Lincoln in high school but we know little about Hamilton beyond him dying in a dual with Aaron Burr. He was the first Secretary of the Treasury and established a national bank. His vision included a strong central government led by a vigorous executive branch, a strong commercial economy, and a strong military. Thomas Jefferson was his leading opponent, arguing for agrarianism and smaller government. Hamilton wrote 51 of the 85 installments of the Federalist Papers.
If history or musical theater is not your thing, you can save your money and take the kids to go see Paw Patrol Live. Then again, there will be the April 30th event, Bill and Hilary Clinton Live on its national 13 city tour. I’m not sure they will be singing and dancing however. Hamilton is a story for all of us and about all of us. Pay the price and go see it. You won’t be disappointed.
“Well, the word got around, they said, “This kid is insane, man.”
Took up a collection just to send him to the mainland
“Get your education, don’t forget from whence you came, and
The world’s gonna know your name. What’s your name, man?”
My name is Alexander Hamilton
And there’s a million things I haven’t done
But just you wait, just you wait…”