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Artistry Aside, ‘Hamilton’ is Still a Show About a Bunch of White Folks

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So, I am in the process of becoming a total Theatrical Musical Buff. So far, I’ve seen ‘’Wicked,” “Rent”and now, “Hamilton.”

On May 23, I had the privilege of seeing “Hamilton” by Lin-Manuel Miranda at the Fox Theatre. This was my third time at the Fox with VOX ATL and my second musical there. I am very glad that I saw this play because I have been wanting to see it ever since it came out. Ever since “Hamilton” debuted on Broadway in 2015, all I have heard is how grand and spectacular it is.

I commend the musical’s creator Lin-Manuel Miranda for casting a diverse cast, reinventing  Alexander Hamilton’s story and adding modern music (i.e. Rap). But the execution? Not so much.

 

Honestly, I wasn’t as impressed as others are. Bluntly, it seems overrated.

Let’s start with the music. Don’t get me wrong, the songs are all bangers. They’re very thoughtful and super creative. I will definitely add many of the songs to my playlist, but at times the music seems a little boring. The whole play is a musical, as in there is no straight dialogue. Zero. Ninguna. This makes it incredibly difficult to follow the story.

You know when your class is presenting their Powerpoint, and the presenter talks in the same monotone the whole time? That’s how it felt by the second half.

Problema dos, the diverse cast. As a black male, I’m all for black representation in mainstream media. I feel like the media has been whitewashed for years now. Black actors/artists always seem to take to the sidelines or become the token black character. I love that “Hamilton” has a diverse cast, even Alexander Hamilton himself is a person of color.

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I later learned that Miranda specifically wanted actors of color for his musical. Even the musical’s casting calls indicated that they weren’t looking for white actors for the roles. The only white people in the musical are the dancers and King George. This is all great but historically speaking, all of these people in real life were white. None of the characters in this story of American History were people of color. Just because they chose actors that look like me doesn’t make me relate to the characters more.

Hell, the Schuyler family had slaves. The only reason Hamilton didn’t was because he was dead poor. Maybe if Miranda had worked with some historians of color, his musical would be more historically accurate. Lin Manuel-Miranda worked on “Hamilton” with the show’s historical consultant Ron Chernow, who wrote the “Alexander Hamilton” biography, which inspired the musical.

In today’s American society with Donald Trump as President, it is important to have a play like “Hamilton” remind us America was founded off of its immigrants. It seems that America has forgotten this key aspect of itself. Hamilton reminds us of our roots by portraying the lives of immigrants, except they’re 18th century immigrants, so they’re different shades of white, basically.

But don’t take this as, “Don’t see Hamilton! It’s terrible and racist!”  I am only listing some of the faults I have an issue with. All in all, “Hamilton” is a really good piece of art we need right now to combat anti-immigration and racism in current day America.

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Go see “Hamilton” at the Fox Theatre through June 10.


TajTaj, 14, he attends Maynard Jackson High School and places “Hamilton” as his second favorite musical, behind “Rent.”

Five VOX journalists got to see “Hamilton” on press night, thanks to our partnership with Broadway in Atlanta and Most Valuable Kids-Atlanta, providing opportunities for local youth to experience arts and culture.

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