With the country awash in political controversy, the show Hamilton
feels even more relevant today than when it overwhelmed Broadway a year ago.
I recently listened to the CD -- which is pretty much the whole show -- and have leafed through Hamilton: The Revolution
, which is a new book about the show by its creator/star Lin-Manuel Miranda. The multi-ethnic casting, rich rap lyrics, and the salutes to American ideals are fine, but the grabbers are still the ideological and personal disputes that made history. They almost disunited the United States when the Constitution was only a few years old.
In a way, reminders of such passionate history are encouraging -- along the lines of "they survived that and we'll survive this (probably)". The fight over health care is plenty raw, but it isn't as fundamental to the nation's existence as the one between Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson over how the new country could financially survive. And for all the truly personal animosity between a certain pair of 21st century New Yorkers, it seems unlikely it will come down to another duel at dawn along the Hudson. I doubt either one of them even owns a pistol.
Still, bad blood circulates as readily as good blood. So far, the country isn't as radically divided as in Hamilton's time (or Abraham Lincoln's!), but the situation suggests greater potential for dramatic history than any period since the 1960s. If you are young enough, maybe you'll get a plum part some day when Broadway does "Trump."
Evan - Married, three children, two grandchildren, formerly a newspaper journalist, now a public librarian, at all times a board game nut.