What I’m Watching This Week 4
Hamilton was released on Disney+ on July 3 and my life hasn't been the same.
I watched it on July 3rd and then proceeded to cheers the whole holiday weekend by telling all my friends to 'Raise a glass to Freedom' every chance I got.
I've also been listening to the soundtrack on repeat. I mean, I was already doing that, but now it seems even better.
I've also been doing a lot of googling myself. I just wanted to know more about Alexander Hamilton, John Laurens, Eliza Schuyler, and basically everybody.
Some of my initial thoughts:
- Even though I had heard the soundtrack a bunch before, seeing the show adds so much more context to everything. Especially the humor. The King is way funnier when you see it.
- Phillipa Soo as Eliza is perfection. I mean, she just gets to have that beautiful voice and be a great actress and just be awesome all the time? Doesn't seem fair.
- Also, where is Eliza's full-length musical? I want to know more about her life.
- I read in one of my many Hamilton wormholes that I've been down recently that the musical is called just Hamilton because it's as much about Eliza as it is about Alexander. Werk!
- And why is Leslie Odom Jr. so good? Like, he's supposed to be the bad guy, but I like him. Lin-Manuel Miranda did a great job of humanizing him and showing the similarities between Hamilton and Burr.
- Theodosia is a great name.
- One thing I didn't totally realize, Aaron Burr was Vice President when he killed Alexander Hamilton. Can you imagine something like that now? The vice president killing the former Secretary of the Treasury? Seems nuts, right?
- I mean duels, in general, were a ridiculous way to solve an argument. Can't believe it was 'normal' for a time.
- How have I never heard of John Laurens or Hercules Mulligan?
- I knew from a few of the songs that Hamilton had some somber moments, but I didn't expect how emotional I would get. I mean, I'm already an easy crier, but I was still not prepared.
I know I called out Phillipa Soo and Leslie Odom Jr. for their incredible performances, but really the whole original cast is amazing. Daveed Diggs, Renee Elise Goldsberry, Jonathan Groff, Anthony Ramos, Christopher Jackson, and so on. Ugh, I just can't. They're all so great.
Now, Hamilton has been streaming for a few days and we live in a time when nothing is excluded from criticism. People are giving Lin-Manuel Miranda a hard time because he didn't address slavery enough in Hamilton. Buzzfeed has a great article about that here.
Miranda has released a few statements saying that those critiques are valid and that he couldn't fit everything in two and a half hours. Others still praise him for making history more accessible. Personally, I've done a bunch of my own research since seeing the show because it piqued my interest. I think anything that gets people talking is great. I also think that the fact that the show is done with color-blind casting, in a way, addresses some of those issues without saying a word. In a USA Today article, "'It's the story about America then, told by America now,' director Tommy Kail has said of the choice to cast African-Americans, Latinos, and Asians as the Founding Fathers and their female contemporaries."
Also, there are still plenty of themes in Hamilton that are very timely for what we are going through right now. We are in the midst of our own revolution and as shown in Hamilton, sometimes things need to get messy and confusing and crazy and damaged, things need to get turned upside down before a change can happen.
PBS did a great documentary about Hamilton where the cast discusses what it was like to play these real-life people who were very flawed. Below is a snippet.
To see what I was watching previously, click here.