Sure, your tween might want to see Taylor Swift in concert, but you should bring them to Broadway to see Hamiltoninstead. The musical, which has won 11 Tony Awards, has created a cult-like following — and it’s easy to understand why. Whether you’re a history buff or madly in love with Broadway musicals, take your shot and see Hamilton.
Now, if you thought that Alexander Hamilton was a U.S. President, you’re not alone. Instead, the “bastard, orphan, son of a whore and a Scotsman,” who was “dropped in the middle of a forgotten spot in the Caribbean by providence, impoverished, in squalor,” would “grow up to become a hero and a scholar,” according to the lyrics from Hamilton. And they’re right, because Hamilton was the nation’s first Secretary of the Treasury, fought in the American Revolutionary War and became a Founding Father — but sadly, never a U.S. President.
Still, history can be a snoozefest, especially when it comes to watching white politicians in powdered wigs. But you won’t see any of that in Hamilton, since the cast of the Broadway show is racially diverse. Black and Hispanic actors portray historical figures such as President George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Aaron Burr, for example. In an interview, Miranda said of the cast: “This is a story about America then, told by America now, and we want to eliminate any distance between a contemporary audience and this story.”
And then, there’s the music, which is truly the star of the show. While there are big Broadway-esque songs like “Burn” and “Satisfied,” most of the songs in Hamilton are a mélange of rap, pop, jazz, hip-hop. There are also two rap battles (Cabinet Battles #1 and #2, to be precise) which has Hamilton spitting out lyrics like Eminem in 8 Mile:
“Madison, you’re mad as a hatter, son, take your medicine
Damn, you’re in worse shape than the national debt is in
Sittin’ there useless as two sh*ts
Hey, turn around, bend over
I’ll show you where my shoe fits”
But that isn’t the only time that a curse word is uttered in the show. In fact, Hamilton doesn’t give a f*ck, because it’s said three times during the performance. Ironically, it’s not the worst one, since Hamilton does say in a tirade, “Southern mother-(expletive) Democratic Republicans!” in “Washington on Your Side.” You don’t hear it completely — but you still know what you heard. Although some might say it’s unnecessary, it does add to the dialogue and the overall energy of the show.
And speaking of vibes, there’s the royal role of King George III, which is too delicious to even describe. From the moment he steps out onto the stage, he owns it (unlike, ahem, America and its Founding Fathers). By far, he’s one of the most popular characters in Hamilton, and his entrance is highly anticipated by the audience, who erupted in cheers and laughter when he sauntered onto the stage. Although some of the facts about King George III are historically inaccurate, who cares when he says the line, “I’m so blue!” stomps one foot, and the lights on the stage actually turn blue?
Now, there are a few practical matters to know before attending Hamilton. As soon as intermission starts, run (don’t walk) to the concession stand if you’re feeling puckish, because Hamilton runs for a whopping 2 hours and 45 minutes. And unless you really, really need to pee, forget about taking a bathroom break, since the line is incredibly long. Don’t believe us? The day we attended the show, the line for the loo ran out the restroom door, through the lobby, and wrapped its way back into the theater and up through the aisles. (We literally were standing on line only a few feet away from our orchestra seats.)
There’s so much to love about Hamilton. Sure, it tackles tough topics like an affair and its aftermath, duels and death, it’s nothing that an older child wouldn’t be able to handle. Most of all, it shows the passion of man who wanted to make something of himself, faults and all, and reinforces the idea that anyone can accomplish their dreams if they’re willing to put in the work.
While you can stream the show on Disney+, there’s nothing like seeing the show in person. So even if you could take your child to see something more, well, Wicked, Hamilton is the ultimate Broadway experience, leaving you inspired and haunted all at once.