Review: Hamilton

I finally had a chance to see Lin Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton by way of the Disney+ presentation. I went in fairly indifferent, being suspicious of hype, but I quickly became impressed, then engrossed and then astounded. Hamilton is even better than they hype.

I know very little about the early days of the United States beyond the broad strokes of history and a slightly more than passing familiarity with the names involved. However, the last place I go to for an accurate history lesson is entertainment. I approached Hamilton as a work of fiction with some basis in fact. That doesn’t lessen its impact for me in the slightest.

I found in Hamilton that perfect balance of a simultaneously simple story with a lot of complex subtext that touches upon our modern world. It is as much about now as it is about then. The writing is wonderful, eliciting sympathy and admiration for characters like Alexander Hamilton, George Washington and others without being fawning. The music is great, the cast is great and the stagecraft is wonderful, with a revolving floor and fly-away sections that only reinforce the action with spectacle that never distracts from the story or the emotions.

Most of all, however, I felt inspired by the show. It was electrifying in its optimism and love. It was as if I was witnessing a sea-change. The show has so much more going on besides the simple biography it presents. It’s expansive and inspiring and I am so, so happy I watched it. Absolutely astounding.