Well, it happened. I’ve become what some would call a “Hamil-Fan.” This is what the loving adorers of “Hamilton: An American Musical,” more simply known as “Hamilton,” call themselves.
My friends know that I’m a musical theatre fan, and have been my entire life. However, for some reason, I could not initially join the “Hamilfan-damonium” that arose when the musical first made its way to Broadway in 2015. Even when the musical received a record-setting 16 nominations and 11 awards, including Best Musical, at the 2016 Tony’s, I still resisted.
Perhaps my attitude toward the show would’ve been looked upon fondly by the Founding Father on whom the musical is based, Alexander Hamilton, for my proud resistance – much like his attitude toward King George and the rise of the revolution.
However, with the introduction of the entire show in feature film format to Disney+ over the Independence Day weekend, I gave it a “shot” (see the pun?). Seeing the production in its entirety made the difference for me (plus closed caption, that was a necessity!). Folks who appreciate musical theatre will love the acting, choreography, staging, set, lighting, costumes and all the aspects that you might miss out on when only listening to the soundtrack.
It only took me five years, but now I’m all in. In case you’re finding yourself in the same boat as me and the accessibility of live theatre in your living room has changed your mind on this once-in-a-lifetime musical, I have some resources to help you dig even deeper.
First, you’ve got the entire soundtrack (explicit and “clean”) in the palm of your hands with your free downloads on-demand via Hoopla. Both the “Hamilton (Original Broadway Cast Recording)” and “The Hamilton Mixtape,” showcasing songs from the musical performed by popular artists of today like Sia, Kelly Clarkson, The Roots and Usher, are available for download.
Hoopla also features the movie “Hamilton: One Shot to Broadway,” a one-hour documentary that tells the story of the hit musical that changed Broadway forever and brought the genius of Lin-Manuel Miranda to the attention of legions of fans across the world. It features interviews with Miranda, as well as the cast and crew of Hamilton.
Finally, our librarians have put together several booklists full of fiction and nonfiction recommendations for readers of all ages who want to dive deep into Alexander Hamilton’s era and history. You’ll find some of their recommendations below.
• “Lafayette!: A Revolutionary War Tale” by Nathan Hale. Tells the story of the Marquis de Lafayette in graphic novel format, covering what happened before and during the American Revolution, including the Frenchman’s escapades across France and the colonies.
• “Eliza Hamilton: Founding Mother” by Monica Kulling. Explores the character strength and loving heart of Founding Mother Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton, introducing how she rescued children, established New York City’s first orphanage and made important wartime contributions.
• “Theodosia Burr: Teen Eyewitness to the Founding of the New Nation” by Karen Cherro Quinones. Discusses the life of Theodosia Burr, daughter of Aaron Burr, and her involvement in the lives of the Founding Fathers of the new United States. The book includes primary source observations pulled from personal letters and other writings.
• “Alex & Eliza” by Melissa De la Cruz. When Alex and Eliza meet one fateful night, so begins an epic love story that would forever change the course of American history. Begin this trilogy with “Alex & Eliza,” then follow with “Love & War” and “All for One.”
• “Hamilton: The Revolution” by Lin-Manuel Miranda. The Tony Award-winning composer-lyricist-star takes readers behind the scenes of his groundbreaking hit musical, which is filled with romance, drama, violence, patriotism and adventure and details the many dramatic episodes in Alexander Hamilton’s life. Contains the entire musical libretto with notes from the creator.
• “Lafayette in the Somewhat United States” by Sarah Vowell. A portrait of the French Revolutionary War hero, the Marquis de Lafayette, discusses his nonpartisan influence on a fledgling United States, his relationships with the Founding Fathers, and his contributions during the contentious 1824 presidential election.
• “Washington’s Circle” by David S. Heidler and Jeanne T. Heidler. A group portrait of America’s first President and the men who served with him to create the office shares insights into their personalities and the consequences of Washington’s decision to heed or disregard specific advice.
If you have a question that you would like to see answered in this column, mail it to Nicole Fowles, Delaware County District Library, 84 E. Winter St., Delaware, OH 43015, or call us at 740-362-3861. You can also email your questions by visiting the library’s web site at www.delawarelibrary.org or directly to Nicole at firstname.lastname@example.org. No matter how you contact us, we’re always glad you asked!