No one can predict the future, but there’s a lot we can learn by rapping about the past. So it goes with “Hamilton,” a new musical about the life and legacy of founding father Alexander Hamilton opening at the Richard Rodgers Theatre on Aug. 6 after a sold-out off-Broadway run at the Public Theatre.
This play challenges us to think about what’s changed in politics in the past 200 years (and what hasn’t). Putting the unpredictable presidential election into historical context is just one reason to catch this buzzy show on Broadway.
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It’s vital to support original plays on the world’s most important stage. After hip-hop musical “In the Heights” changed people’s idea of what a showtune could be, the Great White Way tried once again to get hip with “Holler If Ya Hear Me,” a jukebox musical featuring the discography of Tupac Shakur. It closed after just six weeks. “Hamilton” finally gets the recipe right with a winning combination of today’s sounds and tomorrow’s ideas: Stephen Sondheim meets “The West Wing.”
Not only is “Hamilton” groundbreaking stylistically, but the show goes one step further with a cast almost entirely composed of people of color (with the exception of Jonathan Groff as King George). That’s not just colorblind casting; it’s throwing down the gauntlet for every other stage and screen production to rethink who’s best suited for a role.
So who’s the rebel making waves on Broadway? Lin-Manuel Miranda, who wrote and starred in “Heights,” is doing the same with “Hamilton.” After taking on the titular role at the Public Theater in 2014, he continues to awe audiences (including President Obama) eight times a week. This isn’t just a rising star — Miranda is a proven young talent you should experience for yourself.
These are the very same reasons that “Hamilton” is currently sold out. The good news is that a new block of tickets will go on sale Friday, while American Express cardholders can already buy seats through Ticketmaster.com. Otherwise, unless you’re part of Obama’s inner circle, there’s always the box office lottery.