Eleven time Tony award winning musical Hamilton: An American Musical attempts to chronicle the life of one of the founding fathers of America, Alexander Hamilton, whilst paying homage to New York City and it’s contemporary culture. As the one-time capital of the United States of America, the city may have a hidden history only now being unlocked by the growing blend of art and history for the greater public to experience.
Hamilton: An American Musical aims to explore the ways in which it’s eponymous historical figure faced adversity with passion as an immigrant born in the Caribbean Islands to parents of mixed heritage, depicting a man who grew to become left-wing abolitionist with strength and valour. In addition to this, it’s lyricism and intelligent control of the Hip-Hop genre endeavours to represent the musical and cultural history of its setting, New York City. Since the British seized New Amsterdam from the Dutch in 1664 and renamed it New York City, it’s history and culture have grown exponentially, largely thanks to the immigration of people from all around the world. Today, 42% of residents in Manhattan are non-white, and the Caucasian population itself seems to be filled with first and second generation immigrants.
Permeating the streets of New York are many figures of the revolution and formulation of America that Hamilton: An American Musical attempts to capture, such as in Lafayette Street, Madison Avenue, and Hamilton Heights. From July 12th through to September 4th, there may also be the opportunity for visitors in New York to combine their potential education on the revolution and history of the city once more with the life of Hamilton through the “Summer of Hamilton” exhibit at The New-York Historical, where articles such as Hamilton’s furniture and statues as well as talks on his life and 18th Century New York may be experienced.
Further exemplifying the impact of the musical on the city, many tour companies and organisations now lead a selection of Hamilton-centric tours around the city, endeavouring to remind locals and tourists alike of the rich history of New York City and its earlier residents. As an American of Puerto-Rican descent , creator, composer and former leading man Lin-Manuel Miranda himself may be considered as a product of metropolitan New York, having lived in midst of Manhattan since birth and thus experiencing the musical movements in both Hip-Hop and Broadway.
From the onset of the musical’s conception, it seems as though Miranda was striving to reach his goals of equal opportunity and representation in theatre, hiring a diverse cast featuring the likes of Daveed Diggs. Since his Broadway debut as Marquis de Lafayette/Thomas Jefferson in the musical, he has become a Tony Award winner for best performance as an actor in a featured role, and is one of the four minority actors who historically won all of the Tony awards for acting roles in musicals in 2016.
With the recent news regarding Hamilton: An American’s Musical aiming to run from October 2017 at the Victoria Palace Theatre in London’s West End, many opportunities may arise for tourism and fans in London. Hamilton has been sold out year-round since the early stages of its run on Broadway, and despite Lin-Manuel Miranda’s recent retirement from the role on Broadway as of the 11th of July, the musical aims to continue its goal of educating and expanding the art and history of New York.
How might people continue to use modern art to enhance history and travel opportunities?