Culture Crash Logo


Related Links:

Welcome to Culture Crash, a new segment where we examine literature, film and entertainment to explore issues and trends affecting the country.

This week, we look at the musical people can’t stop talking about: Hamilton: An American Musical.

Hamilton the brainchild of Lin-Manuel Miranda, has won numerous awards including a Tony for Best Musical and a Grammy for Best Musical Theater Album. Inspired by Ron Chernow’s biography of forefather Alexander Hamilton, Miranda and his collaborators sought to make this essential American history lesson more accessible to modern audiences.

The infectious music pulls from a variety of styles, most notably rap and hip-hop, but it also includes ballads and several pop-rock songs reminiscent of the British Invasion. The anachronistic music succeeds at bringing the history of the late 1700s and early 1800s into the twenty-first century.

Even more significant Hamilton makes history accessible to everyone through ground-breaking non-traditional casting. The show features African Americans and Latinos portraying the likes of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, and our unlikely narrator, Aaron Burr.

But make no mistake, in addition to being a trailblazer, Hamilton teaches real history. Songs document the tactics involved in winning the Battle of Yorktown, the neck-and-neck election of 1800, and the famed duel between a sitting vice president and the man on our ten dollar bills.

After U.S. history teachers lauded the production for being classroom-ready, the producers have hosted several free matinees for high schools in New York City and Chicago, with plans to unveil similar programs in other cities across America. Hamilton is now running on Broadway and in Chicago, and a touring production opened in San Francisco last month.

If you can’t find a ticket are interested in the history the full soundtrack for Hamilton, all two hours and twenty-two minutes of it, is available for purchase or can be streamed on Spotify and Apple Music. I’m Evan Rook.