Hamilton Revolutionizes Musical Theater

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Hamilton Revolutionizes Musical Theater

Julia Weinand, Editor

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The new Broadway musical Hamilton: An American Musical rises up to the audience’s expectation at Seattle’s Paramount Theatre February 6 through March 18.

The musical tells the story of Alexander Hamilton. An immigrant of questionable parentage from the West Indies, Hamilton rose up to become both George Washington’s right-hand man and one of our founding fathers. While Hamilton was the person of focus, playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda included various perspectives of Hamilton’s character. Much of the story was narrated by Aaron Burr, Hamilton’s rival who eventually killed him in a duel. Burr’s perspective reminded the audience that although Hamilton’s perseverance was inspiring, he was also somewhat power-hungry.

A revolutionary piece of art, Hamilton is unique due to its diverse cast and spunky musical style. Set in a time of slavery and white dominance, the story is portrayed by a racially diverse cast. The fact that Hamilton was an immigrant was accentuated by Joseph Morales, the lead actor, being one of the few white actors in the production. This emitted a resounding message of justice in moving toward equity.

Hamilton is so popular partly due to its music. Unlike a typical musical, the majority of the performance is rapped. This not only quickens the pace of the show, but appeals to a younger crowd. Matched with intriguing choreography and a beautiful set design, including a rotating center stage, Hamilton is a true piece of art.

Jon Patrick Walker brilliantly performed “You’ll Be Back” as King George, making a farce of the king’s political views. Adorned in regal accessories from head to toe, this song was both highly entertaining while also making Britain’s reluctance to let go of America seem silly. On broader examination, one may even find the message to be that war itself is silly and that peaceful negotiation between democratic governments are more beneficial to society.

On Thursday, March 8, a special matinee of Hamilton showed at the Paramount Theatre to suggest such ideas to the younger generation.

Students were required to learn about the Hamilton era in order to gain admittance to this showing. Tickets to this performance cost only $10 to promote further education and allow students to see the musical who would not have been able to otherwise. 39 high schools from around Washington State had students in attendance, according to Paige Cornwell of The Seattle Times.

“Don’t ever listen to anybody who tells you teenagers don’t know anything,” said Kyle Scatliffe in a Q&A with students after the March 8 matinee, according to Cornwell.

Scatliffe portrayed both the Marquis de Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson, and he pointed out that Hamilton was barely older than the high school students in the audience.

Another student-aimed matinee will be held on March 14 to touch the hearts of even more youth. Hamilton’s last performance in Seattle will be March 18.

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