Hamilton, An American Musical begins and ends with a question. At first we find ourselves asking how Hamilton accomplished so much in his short life. Then, as the story progresses, we wonder just what will happen to Hamilton’s legacy. Well, God bless Lin Manuel-Miranda because Hamilton may ask all the questions, but Hamilton’s America answers them and then some.
Even though the documentary starts more than a year before it, Lin’s energy makes us feel like its opening night. Hamilton is brilliant because it is a product of happenstance; what was meant to be a vacation read was, instead, a catalyst for a musical revolution.
Hamilton’s America, revisits the moments where Hamilton was just a rap verse in a notebook. As he stands where Hamilton stood, Lin recollects what made the man behind the musical. Many of the lyrics that resound through The Richard Rogers Theater today were written by Lin in Aaron Burr’s bedroom.
Throughout the documentary, we see the cast pay their respects to the revolutionaries they play onstage. Leslie Odom Jr, who plays Aaron Burr, accompanies Lin Manuel to the Museum of American Finance where they read the series of letters that led to Hamilton’s death. The seemingly small moments of the musical are dissected, clips of the sold-out show are interlaced with the cast’s deep understanding of their characters.
Christopher Jackson, who depicts George Washington, was candid in sharing his resentment of Washington’s slave ownership. His confrontation of Washington’s flaws sparked a discussion on professional merit and morality, it was one of the many riveting looks into the minds that built this nation.
Hamilton is the story of time; its unpredictability, its fluidity, and its preciousness. In his forty-seven years, Hamilton brought more structure and reverence to our Nation than his counterparts were willing to give him credit for. Members of Congress, artists, economists and even President Obama took part in the PBS Documentary to celebrate Lin’s brilliance and Hamilton’s relevancy.
Despite being named after a founding father, Hamilton’s America made it clear that Hamilton is an ode to Eliza. After his death in 1804, Eliza Hamilton brought new life to Hamilton’s legacy. She brought compassion and patience to the fervent thinker’s story and honored Hamilton’s storied past in many ways, namely by erecting the first private orphanage in New York City. The women of the revolution are as immovable as their male counterparts. The strength of the Schuyler sisters is just a taste of the power that women exuded during The American Revolution.
Hamilton’s America is proof of the importance of perseverance. This “instant classic” took six years, 600 pages, and hundreds of hours of dedication to bring the truth of American politics to a Broadway stage. If you learn anything from Hamilton’s America, learn to be non-stop.
This country was built by those who refused to adhere to the status quo and worked relentlessly to build a nation worth calling home. In turn, this musical was crafted amidst doubt, exhaustion and the impossible idea that Broadway could be reinvigorated. “Tomorrow’s not promised…” Lin said in the closing moments of the documentary. To that I say, take the moments that are not promised and create impossible.