My about-face about Hamilton: The Revolution is one of those great examples of how I no longer take myself seriously when I initially don’t like something.
I never didn’t like Hamilton. I simply ignored news about it and maybe pshaw‘ed it thinking, “Hip-hop historical musical? Low-hanging fruit to get millenials to watch Broadway.”
But as with so many other things, I kept hearing about it and the accolades built and I “discovered” it at probably the same time the rest of the mass public came to appreciate it and not just lucky and savvy Broadway-philes.
For starters, the host of the Inside the New York Times Book Review podcast, Pamela Paul, has been reading Hamilton: The Revolution for the longest time, like since it was published in April perhaps. She reports on it nearly every week.
I think it was seeing the physical book at a bookstore and not just the cover, but its thickness and the ragged edges of the pages and I realized it’s a special volume. I could have held out it to be available as an e-book from the library but I knew it’s best enjoyed in physical form. So I waited in the hold queue for a few months.
Meanwhile, I listened to Lin-Manuel Miranda Radio station on Google Play which has music from In The Heights, Hamilton, and other similar music, and now Moana.
And as a starter, of course, I read his Wikipedia page. Miranda has garnered many awards including a Pulitzer (in Drama, for Hamilton), two Grammys (In the Heights and Hamilton), an Emmy (for the 2013 67th Tony Awards opening number – how meta), three Tonys (for In The Heights and Hamilton), and a MacArthur “Genius” Award (2015). That’s hot, is what I thought when I read it. Actors might strive to join the EGOT club, but I think the Pulitzer and Genius grant just blows the competition out of the water. And surely he will pick up an Academy Award at some point!
Such an accomplished composer/actor/rapper, I was all the more eager to read Hamilton: The Revolution. Also, when am I going to New York again and able to watch the production? (Not for a long while.)
NPY, who enjoys some Broadway (it surprises me) but otherwise ridicules the style, is intrigued by Hamilton because its music is so different. His favourite song so far is Yorktown and he thinks the book is cool-looking.
As a library loan, I have just three weeks to get through the book so I have my work cut out for me. It’s nice to read a real book. NPY can look over my shoulder as he does when I tell him that I’ve finished reading the lyrics (and sidebar notes) for another song and demand he plays it on Spotify.
Reading a real book. Bringing people together. :)