If you had told me a week ago that I would be walking through the forest on my lunch hour listening to show tunes, I’d have said you were nuts.
But Friday afternoon I found myself doing exactly that.
Who is this guy?! I wondered. Because I know me pretty well, and I am not the type to do this sort of thing. Or I wasn’t the type to do this sort of thing, until Hamilton came into my life.
I blame my coworkers. Deb and Kristen kept going on and on about some guy named Hamilton.
“Who’s Hamilton?” I asked.
“Hamilton’s not a who,” Deb replied. “It’s a what.”
Well, technically Hamilton is a who. Alexander, to be precise. Constitutionalist, Founding Father, guy whose face appears on the $10 bill. He was (spoiler alert!) famously killed in a duel with Aaron Burr. You probably remember him from history class (or the “Got Milk?” commercial). But the Hamilton my coworkers raved on and on about is the mega-popular Broadway musical that won 486 Tony Awards last week.
I have to admit I was skeptical. I don’t hate musicals, but I certainly don’t seek them out. When Deb urged me to listen to the soundtrack for Hamilton, my first inclination was to come up with an excuse not to. Especially when she described it as a history lesson set to hip-hop music.
“That sounds ridiculous!” I said.
And then she sent me a YouTube link to a song called “Aaron Burr, Sir” and I got it. Instantly.
The concept is nothing short of genius. The rhymes are dope, as the kids say (wait – do they still say that?), and the whole production really is one giant history lesson that happens to be entertaining as hell. I’ve learned so much. Who knew Alexander Hamilton was such a larger-than-life character?
In retrospect, it shouldn’t be too much of a surprise that I caught the Hamilton fever. I’m a History minor, after all. And while I’m not a huge fan of rap music, I do appreciate its lyrical complexities and the skill involved in crafting a good rhyme. It was pretty much preordained that I would fall for this musical.
And now a group of us at work has our own insider jargon. We’ll walk around quoting Hamilton lyrics and people are none the wiser. Like, I’ll go up to somebody and say, “Why do you assume you’re the smartest in the room?” and they’ll think I’m just making conversation or insulting them when, in reality, I’m making a subtle reference to “Non-Stop.” It’s pretty cool. I always wanted to learn another language.
I’m hoping that Hamilton hits the road, Jack. Or whatever your name is who happens to be reading this. I’d love to see the actual musical sometime.
What do you think? Are you a fan of musicals in general and/or Hamilton in particular? Does it live up to the hype?
And do you kind of think of Thomas Jefferson as a bit of an asshole now?