Why 'Hamilton' The Musical Has Gained Cult Status

Hamilton has been a massive success in the United States. It's time to get hyped before it arrives in the UK.

MOST POPULAR

Alexander Hamilton, his name is Alexander Hamilton, and there are a million things he hasn't done, but by the end of Lin-Manuel Miranda's Tony and Pulitzer prize winning musical which started last year, you'll be sure of some of the things he has.

The Basics

Hamilton is a piece of musical theatre. It has had phenomenal success during its first run in the US, with people raving about it from here to Kingdom Come.

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

Even Obama has professed to be a fan of the show.

MOST POPULAR

After so much success, with the show sold out throughout the run, the musical will finally be crossing the pond to delight UK audiences in October 2017.

The Story

The musical is a re-envisioning of the traditional 'Founding Fathers of America' story. It involves an orphaned immigrant who becomes Treasury Secretary to George Washington as a new America emerges after shaking off British rule (oh yeah, our King George gets a few cameos).

The story is narrated by Aaron Burr, Hamilton's friend, sometimes colleague and rival - maybe one of history's first frenemies? - and this is a show that has a lot to say about relationships, of all kinds.

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

It also features battles, marriage, the bonds of sisterhood, politics, sex, duels, and is ten times more epic than any Michael Bay movie.

And as well as its Caribbean born lead character, the rest of the cast is about as multi-racial and multicultural as has ever graced a Broadway stage.

It is likely this display of diversity and fierce insertion of the rest of America's population into a story that is largely white and male, that has qualified it for such a crazy level of fandom.

It is also for this reason that the musical has become such a foil for Donald Trump and Mike Pence's supposed vision of whitewashed America.

And why Donald Trump got into such a Twitter debacle over Hamilton at the weekend.

via GIPHY

The Music

As with most 're-imaginings,' with very little pressure to stick to the historical facts and no worry about anachronisms, the music has the freedom to be as multi-layered as the cast.

Whilst most of the songbook is rap/hip-hop with its incredible pacing and brilliant rhymes (Thomas Jefferson is the most impressive rapper in it. Seriously), there are throwbacks to a Destiny's Child R&B vibe in songs like 'Satisfied', or in 'Burn.'

Not only does the musical highlight race, but also the role that women had in shaping the stories of the men around them. Hamilton gives them a real voice, too, in the score, with Alexander's sister-in-law singing:

'We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal/And when I meet Thomas Jefferson, Imma compel to include women in the sequel'

My Schuyler sisters and I are proud to strike a Rosie the Riveter pose for #womensequalityday! #ERAnow #werk

A photo posted by Renee Elise Goldsberry (@reneeelisegoldsberry) on

The Cult Status

I have friends who tried to work in sly references to Hamilton in their exams, my university had a bizarre private group that was dedicated solely to conversations about the musical, and one girl I know has had to stop listening to certain songs in public because she cries every time they come on.

It is so intense, moving, exciting and powerful a reminder of what can happen when we work together with honesty and energy, that people are now using it as a marker of what we will lose if we let diversity die and the ties that bind us all to fall apart.

via GIPHY

Hamilton cast | ELLE UK
Related Article
Read Next: