Can You Actually Hate Hamilton? Or Do Your Hate How It's Been Received?
A couple of days ago, blogger Mark Robinson wrote an interesting piece asking the question, can we actually have an open and honest debate about Hamilton? I was intrigued at first but then dismissed the article when Mr. Robinson stated that he had no interest in ever seeing the musical because he didn't like rap.
But even though Robinson's column fell short, it still brought up an interesting question. Is it possible to dislike or hate Hamilton?
The answer is, of course. I suppose it's possible for some audience members to have walked away not liking the musical.
But in those situations I would ask, why?
What more could you want out of a show? More inventive lyrics? Catchier songs? More compelling characters? Pyrotechnics? Or do you just not like hip-hop?
The brutal truth is that if you're an actual musical theatre fan, there's nothing Hamilton can do any better because it's a near perfect show. From the basic to the inner details, it's just about flawless. While some musicals barely have one memorable song(seriously, sing me something from Light in the Piazza), Hamilton has at least 10. It's arrangements and orchestrations are innovative and some of the most creative choices I've heard. Its' story arc both inspires and breaks your heart within a single act. And do I really have to mention the lyric work? I find it sad that some out there don't realize the genius stroke of performing words of protest written by patriots in a style of music that was founded in rebellion.
Hamilton is a masterpiece written by someone who was inspired by musical theatre's vast history and, at the same time, wanted to change its game. It's perfected everything a real musical fan should look for in a musical.
My generation hasn't lived to see very many true masterpiece works of art, but Hamilton is our Sistine Chapel.
So where does the hate come from?
In all reality, most of the disapproving comments I've read in regards to Hamilton has more to do with the treatment it's been receiving than the musical itself. And because musical theatre fandom is a place of passion and allegiance, it's easy to see why some are hateful of the overwhelming fawning Hamilton has received.
A musical, barely a year out, already being heralded as the greatest musical of this century. On the cover of every publication. Interviews being aired on every talk show. Viral videos from Jimmy Fallon, Stephen Colbert to Hamilton's own digital HAM4HAM shows. I get it, the over exposure can be a bit much.
But to those who can't stand hearing any more about this show, let me just remind you of a couple of things:
1. Broadway shows don't impact the mainstream at this level very much, if ever. In fact in my lifetime it's happen three times, RENT and The Producers and now with Hamilton.
2. On an academic level, Hamilton is doing extraordinary work by getting kids interested in American History and the financial and political systems of this country.
3. All the hoopla will be over after Hamilton wins its Tony.
So if you have an issue with a musical like this, getting the attention it is, I ask only this:
Isn't it a great thing when this many people are talking about a Broadway show? Me thinks so.