Stories are great. Not all stories get the audience they deserve though. Every week, Geek Errant is going to pick one Book, Game, TV Series or Film and give it the spotlight. Some of these will be very niche, something that only a few people will ever care about. But that’s why they matter.
Everyone deserves to get their story heard.
How would you like to feel good about America again?
Now i’m not talking about American culture like Burgers and Fries, Superheroes and intrenched social division, No. That was earlier this week.
I’m talking the mythological America. Land of the Free, Home of the Brave. All the bits people braved the seas out of hope for.
Hamilton is for you.
It’s a musical created by, and starring, Lin Manuel Miranda. It started on Broadway! That’s American for a start. But this is a Musical tracking the life of Alexander Hamilton, one of the Founding Fathers. Even more Americana!
And then we get to the rub. This isn’t your standard Sondheim fare. No Fairy tales here. Instead, a blend of hip hop and show tunes creates an electrifying experience.
The music is good.
The Lyrics are better.
With references to classic hip hop happening as often as nods to Rogers and Hammerstein, Miranda creates a whirlwind story. The action tracks Alexander Hamilton from his humble beginnings as an immigrant from the Caribbean to the heroism of the American Revolution, to the struggles of the Founding of the nation and on until Hamilton’s story reaches a compelling end.
As Hamilton’s story is told, so is the story of America. It’s a fascinating tale, with a perfect mix of humor, romance and heatbreaking tragedy.
If you can’t name your founding fathers off by heart (Not Unlikely) then don’t worry. There are added story beats and references for those up to date on their history, but it’s not essential.
The show has a way of simplifying and mythologising the story, so it’s incredibly easy to follow, even for Yankophobes.
There’s a lot here to remind you that America has always been grubby and ridiculous. Same as everywhere else. But the myth of America, that great unfinished symphony, is on full display. Anyone can make something of themselves there. Especially Immigrants. They get the job done.
It’s a timely reminder.
Now, the Broadway show is a little out of the way for most people, and the London Show is in the middle of pre-production. So actually seeing a live performance might be tricky.
The visual aspect of the musical is impressive, but the musical performances in the cast recording are equally superb.
Luckily almost the entire show is available on Spotify.
Or you know. Youtube.
And if, for some reason, you hate musicals, then The Hamilton Mixtape being released on December 2nd may be for you.
A remix of many songs from the play, re-recorded by a wealth of talent including The Roots, Kelly Clarkson, Sia, Regina Spektor and Busta Rhymes. A more palatable way for the less theatrically inclined to appreciate this great work.
Now, Enjoy a very fun version of my personal favourite track.