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Hamilton is revolutionary for America’s youth

Emmalee Dykstra, Entertainment Page Editor

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A hip-hop musical about the life of Alexander Hamilton. Sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it?

While many people may be reluctant about spending hefty prices on a musical about a forgotten founding father, Hamilton: An American Musical, written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, takes audiences on an exciting journey through the life of America’s first Secretary of Treasury.

Through rapping, singing, and intricate dancing, the upbeat-yet-heartbreaking musical illustrates the lives of Hamilton and many other familiar faces from the Founding Era.

The musical brought on a new outlook on life for me. It taught me to stand up for myself, even if the whole world is against me. It taught me to forgive, but to never forget. It taught me that resilience is an important aspect of life. Most importantly, it made learning about the history of

America fun. Hamilton is revolutionary for America’s youth, giving them a reason to want to learn.
When entering the CIBC Theater in Chicago on Feb. 6, I was more than excited to see Hamilton come alive. This was my first time seeing the musical in person, and since early 2017, Hamilton has been the No. 1 soundtrack I listen to. To see the musical in real life jumped to the top of my bucket list, and once I got tickets for my birthday, the excitement to experience it only grew.

When the show started, I was in complete awe. Hamilton is a unique musical; instead of any actual spoken lines, the whole story is told through songs only. Though I had listened to these songs almost everyday for almost a year, seeing it come to life was an almost out-of-body experience.

The amazing vocals tied in with the carefully thought out dance moves that told a story themselves made chills go up and down my body. It was almost too much to take in, and I was loving every second of it.

The first act of the musical brings the audience through the American Revolutionary War and Alexander Hamilton’s life during that time. This includes Hamilton (played by Miguel Cervantes in Chicago) coming to America from the Caribbean, falling in love, becoming George

Washington’s (Jonathan Kirkland) “right hand man,” and building friendships with his fellow soldiers Marquis de Lafayette (Colby Lewis), John Laurens (Jean Godsend Floradin), Aaron Burr (Gregory Treco) and Hercules Mulligan (Wallace Smith).

The second act illustrates Hamilton’s life post-war. He becomes the first Treasury Secretary of the United States along President Washington’s side and meets his enemy Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson, played by the same actor who played Marquis de Lafayette in the first act, was hilarious.

Though nothing like the real Jefferson himself, Lewis portrayed him in a way that was entertaining for everyone in the audience.

When the stress gets to be too much and with his wife Eliza away, Hamilton cheats on her and later publishes The Reynolds Pamphlet, ending his political career.

His wife, portrayed by Ari Afsar, sings a heart-wrenching song, ending with the lyrics, “I hope that you burn.” Shortly after this, Hamilton’s oldest son, Phillip is killed in a duel, bringing out ultimately the saddest few songs of the musical.

After his son’s death, Hamilton is forced to choose whom he will promote in the Election of 1800, Burr or Jefferson. When he chooses

Jefferson, his old friend and enemy, Burr, challenges him to a duel. In the song where the duel takes place, audiences hear Hamilton’s final thoughts before he is shot and killed at the age of 47.

The final song is sung by his wife, who sings about ensuring her husband’s legacy lives on and his story is told. The final moments of the show have Eliza and Hamilton seeing each other again. He grabs her hand, and leads her to the front of the stage where the third wall is broken, and she sees everyone in the theater, listening to her husband’s story, showing that the last 50 years of her life spent telling his story paid off.

Hamilton is wonderful for too many reasons to even explain. Each lyric is carefully thought out and sang with so much emotion that you can’t help but lose your breath.

The cast is of every race, gender, and sexuality because Miranda wanted his play about “America then” to be played by the “America now.”

The ensemble is incredible, doing more than just dancing. They act, sing, and portray certain lyrics that one doesn’t get to see when just listening to the songs.

The upbeat songs bring one to laughter and awe as they perform them. The slow, sad songs bring one to tears and reach right into your heart.

The musical itself is a perfect balance of love, loss, friendship, finding yourself, and fighting for what one believes in.

Hamilton changed my life, and I can guarantee it will find a way to change others too.

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