I Finally Saw Hamilton

Posted: June 19, 2022 in Uncategorized

I’m trying to picture the pitch meeting to the investors, because I’m relatively sure there was one. “Okay, I’m writing a musical about one of the founding fathers at the time of the American Revolution.” “Washington?” “No.” “Jefferson?” “No.” “Franklin?” “Nope.” “Then who?” “Alexander Hamilton.” “The guy on the ten dollar bill?” “Yes.” “But all most people know about him is that he died in a duel.” “I know, that’s why I’m telling his story.” “I don’t know. That’s going to be a whole lot of white male actors, not a very diverse cast.” “Oh, all the founding fathers are going to be played by non-white actors. Only the British will be played by white people.” “How will that work?” “It’ll work…” (The investors murmur among themselves.) “Okay, we trust you… what kind of music will you be using?” “It will be very contemporary music and a large portion of it will be rap.” “Sure, how many zeros should we put on our checks?”

Now of course that was all speculation, but on paper Hamilton doesn’t look like it should work. It does! It’s brilliant! Of course it doesn’t hurt that the man behind the musical is Lin Manuel Miranda. The guy is a creative genius. The music works. The cast is great. The story is obscure enough that one feels like they learned something and compelling enough to keep you really engaged. I loved this show, even though at times I found myself shaking my head and wondering how the founding fathers could have done such stupid things. These characters are fleshed out and real, the portrayals at times quite raw. This is definitely not a patriotic puff piece, but neither is it a hit piece—instead it shows the founders as real people with real flaws. I’ve long thought that musical theater is a great way to tell a story because it touches the emotions and connects with the heart, and on that front, this show does not disappoint.

To be clear, I wasn’t watching this in a Broadway theater. I watched it on TV in the comfort of my own home. I was glad I saw it this way, because we had the captioning on. At times, I became convinced that I would have missed things in the plot as some of the lines come in the form of pretty high speed, yet well delivered rap music. The writing on this piece is brilliant, some even coming from actual historical documents. The performers were amazingly talented and their performances were mesmerizing. I loved this show.

Probably the most compelling line was one that was delivered by George Washington. He tells the young Hamilton, “You Have No Control/ Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story.” Indeed this is a predominant theme of the show and it is true. In this life, we have very little control over much of what happens, but one day, to a large or small degree, someone will tell your story. It likely won’t be told as a Broadway show, but someone will tell the world about you when you have left this world. What do you want them to say? Now is the time to live that story. Now is the time to make that difference, and for Christians, we also tell Jesus’ story, not just with out words, but with our lives. None of us have done it flawlessly. That’s okay because His story is all about redemption.

Your life is a story. Make it a good one and make it one that honors God.

More to come…

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