*Hamilton*

I was surprised by the consistent level of quality in the production.  It runs for about 2 hours, 20 minutes, with hardly any slow musical moments — how many pop or rap albums can say the same?

I do not agree with those who see it as too authoritarian or too glorifying of raw ambition and war.  In my read of the piece, it is “crazy” King George III who speaks the truth about politics.  The main plot of course has non-white characters in the roles of Founding Fathers.  I view this as an imaginary history, to be compared against what actually happened, to illustrate just how far America is from having an actual emancipatory history.  At the same time, America is the country where people tell such imaginary stories about emancipatory histories, a sign that we are not entirely hopeless.  Yet when it comes to “who is in the room,” and “who gets to tell the story” — two recurring themes — the outcomes have been less than ideal.  I saw Hamilton as a piece about shattered dreams and yet picking up the pieces yet again.

It is striking how good a job Hamilton does at appealing to viewers of all different levels of education and information.

Here is a review from David Brooks (NYT).

Comments

Not many can say the same, though a few can. How many plays can say the same?

Hamilton was a big government Federalist, something you cucks on MR need to realise when you sing your odes and praises.

I attended a performance and my cancer went into remission and I'm pretty sure that my hair has quit falling out, too. Who knew that Brooks was so familiar with Tupac Shakur and the Notorius B.I.G.?

How many "historical" musicals are riveting? "Hamilton" and "1776," I cant remember another - and quite an introduction to hip-hop for those of a certain age .... The characters came to life, the color of the actors, to me, irrelevant, I loved the lyrics, and the flow .... truly a masterpiece that will grow and grow, and, I love that the traveling companies are attracting huge audiences ... I don't think 45 would like it

Hay-Zeus Christos, Superstar? (TM)

What would a "Trump" musical look like? Be nice to see someone make a show with him shaking hands with dictators like Un, sniffing Putin's throne, make dodgy payments to Stormy, go all teenage drama queen on Twitter, make shady deals with China/ZTE, etc. The criminality of it all would make good theatre.

Trump, The Opera:
http://blogs.harvard.edu/philg/2017/09/28/trump-the-opera/

with bill murray as trump...

A bit late to the party.

You didn't say which production you saw, Tyler. Broadway?

I talked to a rich person who finances Broadway plays. Apparently, and I did not want to press the point since it would sound like I'm uninformed, if you invest as a producer in an 'off-off-Broadway' play that makes it to "off-Broadway" and then to "Broadway", you make big bucks, there's some sort of options-type clause in the finance contract that makes this happen. This person had a chance to invest in Hamilton when it was completely unknown, but turned down the opportunity since they did not think America would like it (I would have agreed). Kicking themselves now.

Presumably Tyler just saw the DC production, currently playing at the Kennedy Center. All the DC-based talking heads are finally seeing Hamilton now. Myself included.

Also a good excuse for me to sneak out the house when my wife's black boyfriend comes over.

I’m fascinated by you

Hey, that's my line!! You can't say that!!

I think the main complaint from a libertarian standpoint is that it sort of glorifies the creation of the central bank, and explicitly contrasts it with the more libertarian stance of Thomas Jefferson, who is portrayed as a hypocritical slaveholder. it makes a kind of ad hominem argument along the lines of "Jefferson advocates individual liberty, but he's a rich slaveholder so that's obviously just self-serving lies."

True. And it would take many years for the Ron Paul newsletters to clear Libertarians of any implication of .. no, wait a minute.

The Ron Paul newsletters are fake news. None of that stuff ever happened in my preferred timeline.

If libertarianism has any moral compass it lies in the Ron Paul newsletters and a commitment to private property and not to loyalty to the black/brown insurrectionists.

Ok, I laughed at the fake SMFS parody. It is fake, right?

Can't fool you, Hazel, how'd you know I'm a c u c k?

Seems very much in the mode of modern art and/or architecture where it becomes a kind of class marker, which makes me not want to see it.

Your reverse signaling is every bit as vapid as those who like stuff because it's a class marker.

True. But by the same standard, wouldn't your objection to his reverse signaling be just as vapid? Isn't it turtles all the way down here?

People state their opinions, but all opinions are valid. The class markers, the anti-class makers and the militantly middle of the roaders.

Fair enough, one can have any opinion one likes. But one can also judge a person by the quality of their opinions. And the judged can of course choose to not give a crap what I think.

Maybe, but I'd say it's legitimate to want to avoid a piece of art where you can't criticize it without people going all "lol u dumb prole." Who wants to be a party to that kind of groupthink?

I would also add that I have no problem with class markers, per se, just that some are better than others. Cars, for example, are pretty good, because a Lexus really does seem better than Ford along a lot of different dimensions, whereas jeans, for example, are all kinds the same.

My intuition here is that stuff that's a matter of taste, like Broadway hip hop musical, is pretty lousy, also.

Honestly, in this case your heuristic is wrong. It's really entertaining. The swells love Beethoven's Ninth too, and it might be the best piece of music ever created.

You can download a bootleg like I did. That way you can privately watch it at home without any risk of signalling.

One of the reasons libertarians get a bad rep is their penchant for stealing like this. After all, what's more liberty enhancing than not paying for stuff you want to see and hear?

I am a rational self-interested agent. If production companies don't want me watching bootlegs, they can put better security on their stuff, or offer me something in the live/authentic version that I can't get in a bootleg.

I too am a rational self-interested agent. If people don't want me holding them up and taking their wallets, they can stop carrying them or just give me cash. If those hot ladies don't want me raping them, they can stop dressing so slutty. If those customers don't want me putting horse meat in their burgers, they can test the meat before they eat it.

You aren't really going with the 'make it harder for me to steal' defense of pure greed are you?

I think intellectual properties rights need to be updated to conform to the physical reality of the digital age. Sooner or later, everything is going to be bootlegged ad infinitum, you can't stop it, you can only adapt. Give away content for free and then put in in game ads or charge to take the ads away - the gaming industry is already doing this. Or encrypt everything with a bit-coin like system so that you can't physically copy it ad infinitum. A technological solution is in order, and I'm tired of the the film industry using the government (taxpayer money) to do their digital security for them. Nobody ever died because someone watched a pirated film.

A lot of that may be so, but you are smart enough to know you are just rationalizing your theft. Even if it's small potatoes.

I'm not even sure it's illegal to put a camera in the audience. Or even watch a video made by someone who has a camera in the audience. Is that really a proper function of government? When you're talking about live performances it's really the responsibility of the theater to prevent people from taking video - and then it's only a matter for government if the usher asks someone to leave and they refuse. And arguably the same principle should apply to all intellectual property. There might be some social benefits that we get from it, but it's not comparable to physical goods or violence. It's not clear to me that preventing people from copying DVDs and/or making videos in theaters is an essential function of government.

Libertarians are like blacks with better excuses, when you think about it.

And what are you like? Oh right, a total racist.

Middle-of-the-road, I'd say. Probably less racist than the typical vocal anti-racist, and certainly less racist than a compilation of crime statistics.

You just need to stop thinking about IP as if it was some sort of natural right because it's just the way it's always been. Why shouldn't people producing digital goods provide their own security for them? Why is the the government's job to go around arresting people for burning DVDs, as opposed to the people selling this stuff to deal with the realiies of technology and the market. Like I said, I'm a rational actor - give me something I can't get in a bootleg, or make it too cumbersome for me. I'll listen. A lot of IP is essentially just a government granted monopoly.

Exactly. And if the grocery store isn't gonna pay for proper security, they're practically begging me to swipe stuff.

The difference is that when I make a copy of a digital file, I am not depriving the owner of their copy. Digital goods are not finite resources.

This is highly against the law. I will report you to the FBI who is in the pocket of the entertainment/media lobby. You do the crime, you do the time.

Is Aaron Burr played by a black guy? Serious question since I haven't seen it.

The only white guy in the one I saw was King George. The rest were Hispanic and black, or mixed. It was really entertaining and the kids loved it too, and how many pieces of entertainment about the beginning of the US can you say that about?

Sorry, but the creator has insulted the sitting President of the United States on more than one occasion. I don't know why you watch this trash Tyler.

Good thing for you none of your favorite artists ever insulted a sitting President. (Let's look past the insults the current President hurled at the previous one.)

Lol - Fake News!!!

Lol! I have a black cock up my ass!

I have also recently come around on this. And the source of my conversion wasn't even the touring company. It was an abridged version at a youth summer theater camp.

I had heard the soundtrack many times, and thought it was definitely good. But it took sitting through the show for me to realize what a masterpiece the play is. It is a commendably accurate and compelling history of the triumphant founding of the country. But it is told through three heart-wrenching tragedies of Hamilton, Burr, and Eliza, which are each legitimately compelling storylines on their own. And King George, Jefferson, and Lafayette are all scene stealing supporting characters who would each be enough to make the show worth seeing. It really is a breathtaking collection of dramatic building blocks.

On the plus side, I do think it is commendable for getting African American audiences to be interested in and able to identify with the founding fathers - formerly just a bunch of dead white men to them.

In the version I saw, Jefferson was played by a nine year old girl, and I believed every sassy second of her performance. (Not being sarcastic.) :-)

I think part of what makes the presentation of the play so flexible - changing the gender or race of the actors, using modern music, broad and funny characterizations, etc. - is that they managed to hew quite closely to the factual details of the biography it was based on and to weave together truly dramatic stories using those details, so that the basic foundation of the story is strong enough to be pliable with the surface presentation.

How is it to hum a tune or sing a song

Extolling Federalist Principals of a

Strong Central Government.

Hamilton warned in 1792: “When a man unprincipled in private life...is seen to...flatter and fall in with all the nonsense of the zealots of the day—it may justly be suspected that his object is to throw things into confusion that he may “ride the storm and direct the whirlwind.”

https://t.co/FMCXcYORev

After killing Hamilton in the duel, where did Aaron Burr, Jefferson's VP, go? To Burr's friend's slave plantation in southeast Georgia to hide from Hamilton's friends for fear they would seek revenge. But it was Hamilton's sweet revenge, for some 106 years later Senator Aldrich and influential New York bankers met on the island across the sound from that plantation and wrote the plan for the creation of the modern Fed. How fitting, that Burr would have looked across the sound to the island that would affirm the greatness of his nemesis Hamilton. [The slave plantation owner was Pierce Butler, the owner of several plantations in the South and the delegate from South Carolina to the Constitution Convention in Philadelphia).

I saw one of the touring shows a few months ago. Mainly just to see what the fuss is about, because I gave up on watching blockbuster Broadway musicals years ago. And I'm not a fan of hip hop. So I was skeptical walking in.

But I was blown away. For all the reasons that Tyler and the commenters have said.

The only downside: there are so many words coming out so fast, clever words, that one has to see it twice to hear all of the wit and information that is being conveyed. Unless you have faster ears than I have.

To answer one commenter's question: in the production that I saw, Burr was played by a black actor as was Jefferson. George Washington was played by an Asian actor. Hamilton was played by Joseph Morales, when I saw him I wondered if he is Filipino rather than Latino, turns out he's half Mexican, one-fourth Japanese, and one-fourth German-Irish.

Eliza was played by an Indian (South Asian, not American Indian); although Indian actors are becoming more common on TV and in movies, I think this is the first one I've seen on a live stage.

" It is striking how good a job Hamilton does at appealing to viewers of all different levels of education and information. "

... a manifestly false generality

why the compulsion for empty hyperbole on just another unnecessary Broadway musical?

most everyone in America and on the planet will never see Hamilton, nor regret its absence in their lives

'most everyone in America and on the planet will never meet trump, nor regret his absence in their lives'

One of the overlooked sources of why "Hamilton" so enraptured New York, besides it being, by all accounts, a very good show, is because Ron Chernow and Lin-Manuel Miranda are both loyal sons of New York City.

New York's role usually gets downplayed in the history books about the Revolution and Founding in favor of Boston, Philadelphia, and Virginia. (NYC was the Loyalist center during the Revolutionary War.) Similarly, the influential "Albion's Seed" virtually ignores New York City.

Between them, Chernow and Miranda have now created a New York City-centric version of the Founding of America. The net effect in the long run will probably be to make the public's view of 18th Century America slightly better balance geographically.

On the other hand, if you analyze everything through the lens of Punching Up / Punching Down, "Hamilton's" effect of making rich New Yorkers feel even more ecstatic about their being rich New Yorkers is a classic example of Punching Down.

You people sure find new and inventive ways of being offended. Its a damn play for crying out loud.

How then do you account for it "enrapturing" London ?

I did see it as a bit of "I heart NY" propaganda in some parts. I kind of think New York's modern reputation is largely due to shameless self promotion. Maybe 40 years ago it was really unique in terms of night life and culture, but now a lot of cities have similar amenities. It doesn't really stand out so much, IMO.

A bit? "In New York you can be a new man." "The greatest city in the world." and the best line in the show: "the gossip in New York City is insidious..."

But yest, to Steve's point, I was largely unaware of the doings in New York during the Revolution. Bonus fact: New York's population at the time was about 25,000. It really was possible for a nobody to come in and climb to the top of the heap.

I thought King George has all the best lines.
"I will kill your friends and family to remind you of my love."

... yeah it's definitely signaling -- 'Hamilton' is NY power-elite telling the rest of us peons what "truth" is. DC elite loves it too. Very Straussian.

(and the music is awful, to match the lyrics. Adoration for this mess recalls "The Emperor's New Clothes")

Does *Hamilton* sympathise with the Loyalists at all? They were, after all, in the right.

The casting of people of color in almost all the roles is wonderful. It brings them into and helps them identify with the American Myth.

Why is Hamilton so annoying?

It is a hyped, centrist, over rated school house rock-rap masquerading as deep social commentary.

Feel good musical for NPR and Daily Show fans.

Just curious: How many people have watched Hamilton are non-white?

Rednecks will never appreciate or understand this, as they pat themselves on the back.

The fact that so many adults with "serious jobs" are obsessing with a Schoolhouse Rock Rap should be a hottake from resident uptight NYT moralists Douthat et al. as signs of imperial decay - just as much as jingoistic Democrats mindlessly chanting "USA, USA, USA!" that you would think would be appropriate at a Republican Tea Party horde.

And now the ultimate Hamilton moment:
"Clinton wanted to campaign in Wisconsin, but Russian hackers emailed her free to Hamilton"

I guess it hurts, huh?

Hi. My name is Troy. My political activism consists of listening to the "Hamilton" soundtrack and checking Nate Silver. I'm so mad Trump won.

I'm actually good-natured about my Hamilton mockery. I'm happy that it reflects so stereotypically with its demographics and devotees.

I always thought Schoolhouse Rock was great.

Heck yeah. I memorized the preamble to the Constitution because of the song they set it to.

Pity that Stuff White People Like didn't last long enough to include this show, which is SWPL par excellence.

Whites rushing out to throw money at a show whose casting notices explicitly excluded white people...I can only imagine the maniacal laughter of the God's Chosen Person who financed it.

Jeff thinks he's being funny, but nonwhites are big fans of the show too. Keep up the good work!

File under STPH (Stuff Trumpy People Hate)

You're oblivious. Of course the tastes of non-whites and virtue-signalling progressives will coalesce.

You think nonwhites who haven't been assimilated into the middle class or rich liberal SWPL crowd give a shit about this play. That's amusing.

To African Americans, the founding of this country has and will always be an enshrinement of our enslavement, no matter how much a White playwrite imagines otherwise.

Your take is a head-scratcher. I can't figure out who you think is buying tickets or who you think wrote the play.

A little late to the party, here

Comments for this post are closed