Why We’re Obsessed With ‘Hamilton’

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Broadway’s mega-hit 'Hamilton' is all the craze. And it’s not just the lucky few who have seen it, who are obsessed.

The cast of "Hamilton." (Courtesy Joan Marcus)
The cast of "Hamilton." (Courtesy Joan Marcus)

It’s hard to say Alexander Hamilton anymore without hearing music. Hip-hop music fused with American revolutionary history from the super smash Broadway hit show “Hamilton.” “Bastard, orphan, son of a whore,” sings his fatal enemy Aaron Burr. But Alexander Hamilton was a founding father with a huge impact on the design of the new nation. And the Tupac of his day, some now say. There’s a wild fever for the show. Up next On Point: Hamilton mania and American history.
-Tom Ashbrook


Joanne Freeman, professor history at Yale. Author of Affairs of Honor: National Politics in the New Republic and Alexander Hamilton: Writings. (@jbf1755)

Rembert Brown, writer-at-large for New York Magazine. (@rembert)

From Tom's Reading List

Slate: How Hamilton Uses History — Miranda’s version of Alexander Hamilton is also lovable—a product of the play’s humanizing focus on Hamilton’s vulnerabilities and ambitions. He’s a complex character—though not as complex as his historical counterpart. The real Hamilton was a mass of contradictions: an immigrant who sometimes distrusted immigrants, a revolutionary who placed a supreme value on law and order, a man who distrusted the rumblings of the masses yet preached his politics to them more frequently and passionately than many of his more democracy-friendly fellows.

Grantland: A Conversation With 'Hamilton' Maestro Lin-Manuel Miranda -— With Hamilton, it’s not about a community. In the abstract, it’s about the creation of America, but it’s about this f---ing one guy who just blazes through. Born, keeping score, and counting time. So we studied Sweeney Todd a lot. And we studied Gypsy a lot. Shows where the structure is, there’s one f---ing character and they’re a life force and you’re either an obstacle or you’re a friend but get the f--k out of the way. But at the same time, it’s so much fun to get to write about these people we think we know, because they were in a history book. And be like, oh yeah — Jefferson’s going to be dressed like Morris Day.

Boston Globe: The latest ‘Hamilton’ obsessives: Those who haven’t seen it — Since its New York debut at The Public Theater in early 2015 — on its way to Broadway — the celebrated hip-hop musical about Alexander Hamilton has worked its way into the national psyche to a degree rivaled perhaps only by Donald J. Trump.

This program aired on April 14, 2016.


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