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My review of Hamilton

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A friend asked this morning what the deal is with this Hamilton thing. Here's what I posted in response:

It's my new favorite musical. The White House performance of an early version of the opening song hooked me from the start, like a dart to the heart; the amazing ways that he plays with the sounds of words left me dazed, in a haze of delight. When the cast album came out, blazing like a comet across the social media skies, I played it for days, unfazed by the lyric density, joining a craze (the show blew us all away) and not caring, heaping praise on it at every turn. I love the melodies, too, and the compelling retelling of history, and the casting diversity; it's a master class in how to present the “story of America then as told by America now.” The references and echoes of musicals past are a blast; I don't know enough about hip-hop to see the echoes and quotes there, but that's what genius.com is for.

...And the story is engaging, and the characters are fascinating—some raging against fate, some aging, some drawing wages while making plans for the ages (I gather the staging is great too), and the tragic parts are heartbreaking, left me shaken and aching. I laughed through most of the first half, cried when characters died, pretty much straight-out sobbed through much of the last third of the show.

The whole album is available to listen to for free on Spotify, or to purchase on iTunes (and other places). It very much rewards careful listening, following along on the (free downloadable) lyrics sheet (or on genius.com) to see who's saying what.

I've been tempted more than once to fly to NYC just to see it, but it's sold out until at least February, and thus far I've reined in that impulse; it's one of a million things I haven't done. But at such time as I do get a ticket, I am not throwing away my spot in line.

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