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Recreating Hamilton's Success with Other Figures and Periods

Hamilton hit Broadway in 2015 and subsequently became a smash hit. Teachers are now using some of the (clean) songs to supplement lessons on American history, there are tributes and parodies all over YouTube, and people unashamedly admit to listening to the soundtrack on repeat (with 46 songs, most of them over three minutes, this is nothing to sneeze at).

The popularity of Hamilton brings to mind other long-forgotten historical figures and historical periods. Could other historically-based musicals be as successful? Who or what would you like to see get the Broadway/Lin-Manuel Miranda treatment (or attention from another composer)? Are there certain musical genres that would work best for some time periods (Hamilton leans heavily on hip-hop but, for instance, would WWII be more a rock opera type of story? Would a Civil War figure be more suited to say, bluegrass or rockabilly)? Who or what deserves a shot at Hamilton’s level of success, and how would you pull it off? Discuss.

  • I like this topic. I can't see me writing on this (well, never say never) but I'd be interested in seeing how someone would take a character or period and develop how it could be approached as a musical and why it might be of interest the way "Hamilton" has been received. – Joseph Cernik 2 years ago
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  • I love this topic. I think focusing on Lin's influences and how he achieved the incredible work he did in "Hamilton" is crucial in this discussion. – karenstahl 1 year ago
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Published

The Popularity of Broadway's Hamilton

Hamilton has become THE hit show on Broadway since its debut last summer. Examine the reasons – both obvious and not – for the sweeping sensation this show has had on American consciousness, why it has succeeded as a hit over other Broadway shows, and what that says about American theater today.

  • Hamilton looks like a fascinating musical. I would love to read the input an author may have on it! – enizzari 4 years ago
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  • As someone with a mild obsession with the show, I can't say enough about how much this musical has got me interested in history. For the majority of my school years, history was presented as a passionless, textbook driven subject based on memorization and regurgitation of information (that was heavily edited and condensed). I think one of the real strengths of Hamilton is the way it really fleshes out the characters (particularly Hamilton, Eliza, and Burr), to the point that I have done independent research and tried to learn more about these people and their lives, outside of the few events passingly mentioned in school history books. – chrischan 4 years ago
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  • Yes, definitely write about it! Make sure you add how it reflects American values. – vpano94 4 years ago
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  • Some obvious reasons: there's a lack of representation of racial minorities in Broadway. This show proved to critics that (yes) actors and actresses of color should be placed in the center of shows, and they're profitable (some critics said casting people of color would affect ticketing); people of color can be placed in any show and shine. Another reason is that Lin-Manuel Miranda is good at what he does; there's a lot going on in Hamilton's lyrics (e.g. rhythm, puns). Also, like others have said, Hamilton puts an interesting twist on American history by getting a personal look at one of our Founding Fathers. – seouljustice 4 years ago
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Should 'Hamilton' be adapted to film?

Lin-Manuel Miranda’s ‘Hamilton’ is currently a cultural phenomenon. It has won several awards, including the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. It is no surprise then that the show has been sold out through to January 2017. Should such an important interpretation of the founding of the U.S. be adapted to film in order to reach a much larger audience? What, in the writing and performance, would be lost in this adaptation? What would be gained?

  • Perhaps it would be helpful to examine other musical adaptations and what elements made them successes or failures. – SamStarlight 4 years ago
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  • Yes! Lin-Manuel Miranda is a genius and that should be argument enough. Just kidding, but whoever is interested, Lin-Manuel Miranda said in an interview that he would definitely be interested in doing a film, but he is in no hurry. – ismael676 4 years ago
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