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Hamilton / Lin-Manuel Miranda

post #1 of 62
Thread Starter 

You know the guy who did that unforgettable, instant classic Cantina song for The Force Awakens? When I found out he'd also made a hip hop musical about a founding father I'd barely heard of that was being fawned over by smug new media types on twitter, I must confess that my expectations were not high. Even taking into account the brilliance of that cantina song I'm sure we all whistle in the shower every day.

 

But then I give the cast album a skeptical spin. Then I give it about two hundred more spins, getting pumped up and/or choked up at several points every time without fail, and obsessively looking up every single annotation of Rap Genius. The thing is so intricately constructed and dense with in-and-outside references and call-backs and foreshadowing, and the songs are so catchy and cleverly written.

 

When I saw the Tony Awards video on youtube, in his introduction Common calls it one of the greatest pieces of art ever made, and I was like "pfft, get a load of this guy!". Now... some mad part of me thinks he might be on to something. And I haven't even seen the flipping show yet!

 

During my Lin-Manuel honeymoon period I also went to see his earlier show In The Heights, and though it's not as next level as Hamilton I still enjoyed it a whole lot.

 

Anyway, is anyone else here a fan? And if not, why not??

post #2 of 62
I'm surprised that we finally got a thread for this now.

I'm seeing the show on Tuesday.

Paul, do you dare dive into the whirlpool of think pieces about the show?

ohohohohohoho!!!
post #3 of 62
Thread Starter 

I haven't actually read much about it! As far as I can tell it avoids the usual thinkpiece booby traps, which is to say it has ethnically diverse casting and passes the Bechdel test (though only just).

 

Actually I did see some critique that the characters in the story aren't 'diverse', and it pushes some discredited notion of history being driven by small number of larger than life characters. I didn't read it though.

 

Will you be hearing it fresh? It's a lot to process in one go, it took me about a week to get through the whole album because I wanted to take my time and fully process what was going on. I'm sure it's a lot easier to follow with visuals.

 

The show's coming here next year. I know it's impossible to get tickets in the US, but I'm hoping people here not caring about early US history will make it easier for me to snap them up...

post #4 of 62
Naw, it won't be fresh. I went through the soundtrack a bunch to learn some of the song for fun.

I did stop listening to it a while back so that the actual show would feel more fresh when I finally saw it.

Yea, don't ask me how much I paid to get two tickets so far off. Oh shit... I just checked my email and realized that I bought these tickets on Jan 31st.
post #5 of 62
I don't like HAMILTON. As a friend said to me, it's a bit too cute.

This piece is way too harsh and condescending (and that dramatically click-bait-y headline is just awful), but its criticism of HAMILTON has teeth:

https://www.currentaffairs.org/2016/07/you-should-be-terrified-that-people-who-like-hamilton-run-our-country

Dial that piece back by about 20% and I'd endorse it.
Edited by Agentsands77 - 9/28/16 at 1:13pm
post #6 of 62
Nerds trying to act "street" makes me throw up. That's all I have to say about Hamilton.
post #7 of 62
eheheheh

I really enjoy the soundtrack and am pretty excited to see the reportedly amazing show, but I totally understand the averse reaction some can have to something like this... especially when its critical/commercial/pop-culture popularity is so overwhelming.

I mean, this show really doesn't seem all that 'street'. It's still VERY much a big Broadway musical.

I suppose it has just the 'right' amount of 'street' for soft geeks/dorks/nerds AND general audiences to embrace it wholeheartedly.

Obama loves it.

OBAMAAAAAAAA!!!!

The piece that Agent just linked is exactly the kind of think pieces that I've read in the wake of the show's insane popularity. That one is a really good read.
Edited by mcnooj82 - 9/28/16 at 1:56pm
post #8 of 62
Thread Starter 

The problem with that hot take is it treats a show with verses like this:

 

Quote:

Captain Dan: When I say yo, you say ho. Yo!

Scurvy Crew: HO!

Captain Dan: YO!

Scurvy Crew: HO!

 

...and one with verses like this (to pick a better example than the fragments he took out of context):

 

Quote:
Ev'ry action has its equal, opposite reactions.
Thanks to Hamilton, our cabinet’s fractured into factions.
Try not to crack under the stress, we’re breaking down like fractions.
We smack each other in the press, and we don’t print retractions
I get no satisfaction witnessing his fits of passion
The way he primps and preens and dresses like the pits of fashion
Our poorest citizens, our farmers, live ration to ration
As Wall Street robs ‘em blind in search of chips to cash in

 

...as one and the same because they're both involve rapping in period costume. It decides that the hype is all down to some deluded media bubble, without ever bothering to engage with the material on its own terms. It attacks it not for what it is but for what he's decided it should've been.

 

Yes on paper it's cutesy nerdcore, Epic Rap Battles Of History blown up into a full length musical. Kind of like how on paper The Beach Boys are vacuous surfer pop. If there's one thing that Hamilton proves it's that anything can be good if you execute it well enough.

post #9 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcnooj82 View Post

The piece that Agent just linked is exactly the kind of think pieces that I've read in the wake of the show's insane popularity. That one is a really good read.
Hey, guys, Nooj likes it!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul C View Post

It attacks it not for what it is but for what he's decided it should've been.
Art evaluation has three major questions:

1) What does this work of art set out to do?
2) How well does it do it?
3) To what degree is what it sets out to do laudable?

Question three is always the tricky one. Because of the attention focused on HAMILTON, it focuses on question no. 3. I think that's fair.

I agree that the piece takes some cheap shots at the show. But, yeah, I find even the lyrics you quote grating. (And, yes, I've listened to the whole show.)
post #10 of 62
I was going to see this until I saw the ticket prices and then was like, "Ehhh, I'll wait for the inevitable movie."
post #11 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bradito View Post

I was going to see this until I saw the ticket prices and then was like, "Ehhh, I'll wait for the inevitable movie."

I hope they whitewash it!

THE TWISTY ROAD TO HOLLYWOO!
post #12 of 62

I think I ranted a bit about Hamilton in the "what are you listening to now" thread or whatever it is, but count me in on Paul C's side - I think it's really fantastic work. And I don't really think it's trying to be 'edgy" as it is attempting to mix all these musical traditions into one gigantic melting pot.

 

And I've seen the show. The staging really does add something, especially to the two best numbers ("Satisfied" and "The Room Where It Happens," the latter of which ought to make Leslie Odom Jr. one of the biggest stars on Broadway. It is really funny, given how obsessed his character on Person of Interest was with the American Revolution that he ended up becoming a star for playing Aaron Burr).

post #13 of 62
If you like it, why did you rant about it?
post #14 of 62
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Agentsands77 View Post

Art evaluation has three major questions:

1) What does this work of art set out to do?
2) How well does it do it?
3) To what degree is what it sets out to do laudable?

Question three is always the tricky one. Because of the attention focused on HAMILTON, it focuses on question no. 3. I think that's fair.

 

Problem is, the writer seems to have a very skewed idea of what the show is setting out to do. It's like one of Shakespeare's histories, it's more interested in finding the universal drama in historical situations than being a watertight historical document, or an ideological screed or whatever.

 

The plot is about Hamilton's role in the war and his political wranglings as treasury secretary, and it's set entirely in and around New York. Slavery's there in the background and they do reference it quite a bit, in some quite witty ways as well, but the fact is it just isn't that central to the story. That's why they cut the third cabinet battle, not because they're trying to cover up the characters' complicity (if that was true, why would they even write it in the first place?) but it just doesn't move the story forward. Same reason they cut out a track about the Whiskey Rebellion.

 

That writer seemed to want a play exploring the founding fathers' relationship with slavery, including early African American historical figures. I'm sure someone could write a good play about that, but it wouldn't be the same play. Hamilton's densely packed enough already and everything in it is there for a reason, I don't know where that stuff is supposed to fit.

 

Also I don't know the background of that writer, and of course people can react to things how they want. But I can't help thinking... you've got a show mostly created by and starring POC. They made the thing and are in full command of what they're doing. Barack and Michelle Obama - needless to say, also POC - see it and go out of their way to champion it. Who's supposed to be upsetting who here? I'd have thought if anyone would be allowed to play around with this part of history it'd be these guys. I mean, who's going to go "hey, you're being too flippant about your own ancestral history!"?

post #15 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcnooj82 View Post

If you like it, why did you rant about it?

I meant "rant" as is "lengthy spiel that probably no one except me found very interesting".

 

It was mostly about how well orchestrated (as in, the literal orchestrations/use of particular instruments) the score was, with the use of banjo in The Room Where It Happens to give that song its unique bluegrass-deal-with-the-devil-at-the-crossroads-at-Midnight vibe a particular standout.

post #16 of 62
I see I see!
post #17 of 62
waiting for show to start



edit: pretty good!
Edited by mcnooj82 - 10/4/16 at 7:07pm
post #18 of 62
In terms of the experience of seeing the actual show after having been fairly familiar with the soundtrack, the number that WOW'ed me the most in terms of the way it was staged was SATISFIED.

I just never listened to that song closely enough to realize that it would be staged in a way that has the story double back on a scene we'd just seen from another perspective.
post #19 of 62

Yeah, Satisfied is the show-stopper. Best-staged song in the show, and probably the best-written overall (though I really love Room Where It Happens, which has some pretty neat Fosse-esque staging).

post #20 of 62
Room Where It Happens was definitely another one I was taken by.
post #21 of 62
Thread Starter 

So you enjoyed this piece of neoliberal POC-erasing slavery apologia, eh?

 

How was the cast? Being over-familiar with the album version it'll be odd seeing it with different voices, I particularly regret that I'll never get see Daveed Diggs blazing though Guns And Ships or delivering Jefferson's various "whaaaaat?"s. Miranda has such a specific voice I imagine it changes the feel a fair bit without him (though his equivalent in the version of In The Heights I saw worked fine).

post #22 of 62
Yeah I missed Miranda's 'scrappy and impudent' voice, but Munoz was more than capable. He just doesn't loom as large as Miranda as the eponymous character that Miranda wrote!

I missed Diggs' voice as well as his hair! Hehehe, the guy who plays him now looked like Keegan Michael Key from afar! But still great.

Christopher Jackson was fantastic as Washington.

What I didn't realize from only listening to the cast recording is just how many of the actors played two characters. I was really only aware of Diggs playing Lafayette and Jefferson.

Thinking back on the show, the SATISFIED number made such an impression on me with the Angelica character that it really made her lack of stage-time in the story stand out. According to a friend who saw the show before it hit Broadway, there was definitely material featuring her that was trimmed (in addition to more Burr material).
post #23 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcnooj82 View Post

Yeah I missed Miranda's 'scrappy and impudent' voice, but Munoz was more than capable. He just doesn't loom as large as Miranda as the eponymous character that Miranda wrote!

The interesting thing, from what I understand, is that Munoz worked pretty closely with Miranda in the development and writing of the character, since he was always intended to take the role over from Miranda. I am actually really curious to hear what his version is like, even if the Miranda version is the one imprinted on my brain from a million spins of the cast record.
post #24 of 62
Munoz's performance has more dynamic range, I think.

Obviously, I'm only comparing the performance I saw to one I've only really heard from Miranda (aside from some of the clips I've seen online).

My perception of Munoz's performance is that he can be quieter, which makes his outbursts stand out more. Miranda kinda comes across as a bit of a ham from what I've seen. But, I like ham!

edit: when Miranda performed an early version of the opening number at a White House function, was it Munoz that accompanied him on the piano?
post #25 of 62
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcnooj82 View Post

Miranda kinda comes across as a bit of a ham from what I've seen.

Shouldn't that be... A dot Ham??

In a way I'd almost prefer to see a different actor as Hamilton, I almost feel like I've seen Miranda's version already and someone new would freshen things up. But I'll miss the supporting cast terribly...

Re: Angelica, I gather she originally had a solo number towards the end, but it got stripped down and reduced to a cameo in the Reynolds Pamphlet. Her lack of actual plot importance is a bit of a shame considering how well drawn she is in the first few songs.

I think the piano guy at the White House was the music director for the show. Googling Munoz, there is a definite resemblance though!
post #26 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul C View Post

Shouldn't that be... A dot Ham??

I... can't talk to you anymore...


As for being able to see Miranda playing the role, didn't they film a full performance with the original cast to release much later on down the line? Am I imagining that or am I confusing it with the documentary about the show that's coming out soon?
Edited by mcnooj82 - 10/6/16 at 4:09pm
post #27 of 62
Thread Starter 
Yeah I think I read something about that. Probably won't come out til the gravy train starts to slow, though!
post #28 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul C View Post


Shouldn't that be... A dot Ham??

In a way I'd almost prefer to see a different actor as Hamilton, I almost feel like I've seen Miranda's version already and someone new would freshen things up. But I'll miss the supporting cast terribly...

Re: Angelica, I gather she originally had a solo number towards the end, but it got stripped down and reduced to a cameo in the Reynolds Pamphlet. Her lack of actual plot importance is a bit of a shame considering how well drawn she is in the first few songs.

I think the piano guy at the White House was the music director for the show. Googling Munoz, there is a definite resemblance though!

Yeah, she originally had a number post-Reynolds Pamphlet rebuking Hamilton, but that got folded into Reynolds Pamphlet and Burn became the only 'response" song to it. Which makes sense as a story decision, but it's a shame because Angelica's two big numbers in the first act are incredible, but then she does just disappear.

 

There was also at least one song about the Whiskey Rebellion that got cut, I believe.

post #29 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul C View Post

Yeah I think I read something about that. Probably won't come out til the gravy train starts to slow, though!

WELL THEN!

 

I'll get to see Miranda's performance when I'm old!

post #30 of 62
post #31 of 62
Uuuuughhhh.
post #32 of 62
it had to be done to get people back on-vote
post #33 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcnooj82 View Post

it had to be done to get people back on-vote
It wasn't worth it
post #34 of 62

CHOOSE YOUR DESTRUCTOR!

 

HAMILTON MANIA

 

or

 

TRUMP PRESIDENCY!

post #35 of 62
giphy.gif
post #36 of 62

I will miss our talks!

post #37 of 62
A bunch of Broadway actors want me to vote? Man, I was on the fence when it was just the Avengers guys, but if the cast of Hamilton wants me to do it...!
post #38 of 62

heheheh I must've missed the Avengers one

post #39 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcnooj82 View Post
 

heheheh I must've missed the Avengers one


Whedon directed it. Everyone promised that if Clinton wins, Mark Ruffalo will do a nude scene in Whedon's next film (much to the comical consternation of Mark Ruffalo).

post #40 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by commodorejohn View Post

Nerds trying to act "street" makes me throw up. That's all I have to say about Hamilton.

 

This seems like an unfair criticism. I'm not sure what you mean by "nerds trying to act street" - could you clarify? 

 

Hamilton is great. Is it a perfect show? Nah. But as someone who's been a Broadway theater fan for years, even more so recently since I started dating my now-wife (RIP American Psycho the Musical, you were pretty great), it's absolutely thrilling to see a piece of theater cross over like this to the point where the first female nominee of a major party quotes it in her acceptance speech at the convention. 

post #41 of 62
if anything this show just seems to make nerds more chibi
post #42 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcnooj82 View Post

if anything this show just seems to make nerds more chibi

 

hamilton is totally tsundere 

i hope i'm using that term right

post #43 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by Boone Daniels View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by commodorejohn View Post

Nerds trying to act "street" makes me throw up. That's all I have to say about Hamilton.
This seems like an unfair criticism. I'm not sure what you mean by "nerds trying to act street" - could you clarify?
I mean this whole "nerdcore" movement thing of which this show appears to be a part. It makes my teeth grind. It's annoying and forced.
post #44 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by commodorejohn View Post


I mean this whole "nerdcore" movement thing of which this show appears to be a part. It makes my teeth grind. It's annoying and forced.


That's not at all what the show is. Yes, the show is about United States history/the founding/biography, but it's not at all like Rap Battles of History (which goes for the easy, broad joke more often than not) or Schoolhouse Rock. But unlike Rap Battles, LMM is incredibly gifted at combining pop, rock, folk, Broadway tradition, and hip-hop/rap into a single, cohesive whole. His knowledge bench is deep, and all of it is employed to tell this story about two men and friends who rise and fall together, kind of like Jesus Christ Superstar, Othello, The Man Who Would Be King, or Star War. Furthermore, the story is a direct response to the way we tell stories in America - although one of my biggest issues with the response to Hamilton (rather than Hamilton itself) is the way fans tend to ignore the actual history (i.e., that these  were white slave owning men) - and the way white men are so often at the center of what should and needs to be a universal narrative - something that people of color can see themselves in. Is it perfect? No. I have big, big issues with the way women are portrayed in the story - I like to joke that it's Aaron Sorkin's favorite musical - and the fact it costs so goddamn much to see is a real issue, but that's a Broadway issue, generally. But even if you don't see it - you can get that sense from the widely embraced cast recording.

 

It's a story about friendship. It's a romance. It's a tragedy. It's an immigrant story. It's all these things at once, and to call it "nerdcore" is, I feel, incredibly dismissive.

post #45 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by Boone Daniels View Post

It's all these things at once, and to call it "nerdcore" is, I feel, incredibly dismissive.
You may feel free to feel that way, sir.
post #46 of 62
ehehehehe

so tsundere
post #47 of 62
Thread Starter 
Uh oh... it's a mash up!
post #48 of 62
ohhhhh NO...

the parodies I've seen of people doing all sorts of these fan mashups...

makes my skin crawl

I saw one for batman a while back... euuuggghhhh
post #49 of 62
Thread Starter 

It's cheesy but I have to admit I enjoyed this one, there are a lot of clever little references in the music and lyrics. I love both Sweeny Todd and Hamilton though so I'm an easy mark.

 

Frankly I even enjoyed those stupid voting videos, just because I love that song.

post #50 of 62
If this had been the first mashup I'd seen after hearing Hamilton, I'd be more forgiving. It's just burnout... and me generally despising such overt fan mashups.

So what was the context for the original cast doing this?
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