I admit it - I'm obsessed. With Hamilton. The book, the musical and the soundtrack. And interviews by Charlie Rose with Lin-Manuel Miranda. And synopses in the New York Times. And views on YouTube. I saw the play last September; read the book this winter; have been listening to the soundtrack in the car and on my morning walks. I've been singing the songs in my sleep. (I actually had to stop listening because my head was swirling with the music night and day.) And now I am reading the book all over again.
How fantastic to learn about a founding father whose story was obscured by the tellers of history. And that is one of the themes of the musical: who tells your story?
There are many wonderful universal themes and the multicultural cast and hip-hop music that give voice to the complex history and emotions of the time and the man reveal layer upon layer with each listening (or reading, or watching...).
Schools are finding ways to ignite middle and high school students' passion for history using Hamilton. Our social studies teacher James Lizardo was introduced to the soundtrack by an exuberant 7th grader. "It's a story that talks about the ideals of American democracy and an initially impoverished immigrant and what he can achieve through grit and determination..." says Judith Rodin of the Rockefeller Foundation who has given $1.5 million to subsidize tickets for students.
Then, there's the Albany connection: Schuyler Mansion where Alexander Hamilton married Eliza Schuyler in 1780 and where they lived for two years and visited many times. How cool is that?!
I invite you to join my obsession and call now for tickets to the Broadway show (although it's about $300 a ticket 8 months out) or read the book by Ron Chernow that inspired the play. Listen to the soundtrack with your kids (warning: a bit of racy language). They might not become history majors or musical theater writers, but as Lin-Manuel Miranda says, "If we can excite curiosity in students, there's no telling what might happen next!"