15 Comments

  1. I don’t get it – can someone ‘splain to me what is the big deal with this Hamilton thing? It’s all over the place – youtube, google news, yahoo news . . . for years now. Why???

  2. Andréa, I consider Hamilton to be an “okay” musical with an insane amount of hype. I finally saw it on Disney+ a few weeks ago, and I won’t say it wasn’t worth $3 for each of us to watch it — but people paying thousands of dollars per ticket? MAYBE for a Beatles reunion.

    That said… Muppets! And how can you not love the lunacy of recording the entire score?

  3. Funny, but there is no way I could listen to the whole thing. The voices are too off-key and off the beat. Probably intentionally to be more muppetty, but still…

    Hamilton is everywhere again, of course, because it was released on Disney+ and that’s a big deal. Personally I think it’s an incredible piece of work. Two hours of continuous cross-genre, entertaining music about a historical figure people didn’t know much about except maybe the duel with Aaron Burr thing.

    And I realize that historical should probably be in quotes, but my understanding is that it is pretty accurate in the broad strokes.

  4. Arguably, it was the first time Hip Hop or Rap was used as the main music style in an “American Musical Comedy” or “Broadway Musical” style show. Just as — though there are other contenders — “Hair” was the first such show to have Rock as its primary music genre.

  5. I’ve seen it six times in San Francisco, once full price and the other five winning the lottery (tickets $10). Great every time. I was dubious when I heard about it originally, but it is amazing. And Act One is better than Act Two. Thanks for posting the video! I just wish they staged the Muppets doing it. That would be awesome.

  6. I saw a video where Weird Al Yankovic did one of the songs polka-style sync to a video of the performance. And one where Lin-Manuel viewed that (he thought it was hilarious).

  7. Over the years, I’d heard it was rap but I didn’t understand why when there were clearly songs in it. I started watching Hamilton on Disney+ and the first song offered little promise. When the second act started, I suddenly realized that the dialog was the “rap” part, and was very understandable, and also, it all rhymed, like Shakespeare. Wow..
    (The second scene is as far as I’ve gotten so far; I’m making sure I keep my software job by getting to bed on time.)

  8. Bill said, “..people paying thousands of dollars per ticket? MAYBE for a Beatles reunion.

    Maybe, but only if they can revive all the originals.

  9. I’m a fan of musicals and I’d say Hamilton is more than “okay”. I found it really fun and refreshing. The music was generally catchy. The performances in the Disney+ version are quite good. The casting of non-white actors in roles they would normally never be considered for sounded like a stunt, but I think it lets the piece work on another level as well. On the surface, it’s the story of this guy and his buddies in the White elite railing against what they see as disrespect and oppression from their “masters” in the Kingdom of Great Britain. With it being performed by a largely Black and Latinx cast, I see it as a commentary on systemic racism, asking “why is your opposition to oppression lionized and ours demonized?” I think if it cast White actors in the main roles, it wouldn’t be possible to stage it as it would just feel so out of touch with the muddle and unpleasant history of a country built on the bones of injustice. But, as I said, it did that without being dreary. The quality of the history was okay too.

    I like that the show isn’t a stage adaptation of a Disney cartoon or some other movie and that it took some chances in what it did. That sort of thing doesn’t always pay off (I’m looking at you, “Jane Eyre: The Musical”) but I’d say a swing and a miss is better than the same mass-market formula productions. Of course, CIDU Bill is surely a much more seasoned theatre-goer than I.

    My one complaint is that it’s an opera and not a musical. I generally prefer the kind of musical where people go about their business as normal, then suddenly burst into song. In Hamilton, they’re singing everything, all the time. Like in Les Misérables.

    So, as to the question of hype and value, no, I wouldn’t pay a thousand bucks a ticket to see it. My working-class roots mean I’d have to force myself to spend more than a hundred bucks for a ticket, even though I can afford that. It just seems crazy. I remember seeing this film, “Broadway: The Golden Age” that discussed the olden days. Somebody they interviewed said that in the 1940s a ticket to a Broadway show was cheaper than a movie ticket. It’s sure not that way now. In another scene somebody (I think it was Rex Reed) said that every show gets a standing ovation now because when people come out to see a show and they’ve spent $500 for tickets and hamburgers for a family of four (movie was 2003; it’d probably be more like $1000+ now), they convince themselves that it is an extraordinary experience to justify that in their minds.

  10. @ Chak: “Maybe, but only if they can revive all the originals.”

    There is an easier alternative…

  11. Yes, I would only pay that much money for the originals.

    My wife has seen Paul perform a handful of times, and a Ringo’s always around.

  12. Not thought of well by 18th c reenactors who have seen and greatly question the accuracy of the history in it.

    Singapore Bill – while I don’t remember the price of a movie ticket in the early 1970s – the crowd we hung out with in college would go into Manhattan to see a Broadway play and we would get half priced tickets at the TKTS booth. We would generally upset that the $3 tickets never seemed to be available there – so we would have pay $3 or $4 half price $6 or $8 tickets and never managed to pay $1.50.

    When “The Producers” musical was in pre opening previews I called to see how much the tickets were – $80 and up. Since they were easy to get – and expensive – we figured we would wait until it opened and then see it when the tickets were half price – ha ha ha. (Then again, we were rather disappointed with the storyline and song in the movie version of the play – as opposed to original movie which we liked greatly.)

  13. OT – for comics, not for the play
    Our reenactment unit has not been doing its normal events this year, but our unit commander has done some virtual versions of events.

    First, he did the ceremony done by current members at the graves of the original unit members from the 1770s after the annual community Memorial Day Parade

    Second, he did a version of our spring Muster Day event – with the musket drills and a tour of our headquarters, an 18thc weaver’s cottage.

    Lastly – our big event of the year is a recreation of the reading of the Declaration of Independence to the citizen of the townships when it finally arrived in the township in mid July 1776 (it was taken from community to community by a rider (on horseback). The township has records of what occurred that day and we normally recreate many of the events. Robert normally is the one who reads the D of I – and he reads it (in full) as if he is seeing it for the time. We did not go this year – actually as Robert puts it – the D team did the virtual event – but it is also on our website. They had trouble getting the cannon to fire – something which is not hard to do, as I used to fire it when the crew was short on man power, especially at an all stars LI/NYC high school football game which is a fund raiser for the Boomer Esiason Foundation.

    I am putting the web address for the unit’s site in my signature if anyone is interested. (We are not in the videos, but are in some of the photos and Robert is the webmaster. )

  14. Not thought of well by 18th c reenactors who have seen and greatly question the accuracy of the history in it.

    I don’t know that anyone claimed a lot of historical accuracy. That wasn’t the goal. It’s not at all unusual for productions to alter history for artistic purposes.

  15. I couldn’t get past the poor imitations of the Muppets’ voices. I’m not even sure I could identify which Muppet they were all supposed to be.

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