Hamilton: The Revolution
Lin-Manuel Miranda's groundbreaking musical Hamilton is as revolutionary as its subject, the poor kid from the Caribbean who fought the British, defended the Constitution, and helped to found the United States. Fusing hip-hop, pop, R&B, and the best traditions of theater, this once-in-a-generation show broadens the sound of Broadway, reveals the storytelling power of rap, and claims our country's origins for a diverse new generation.
HAMILTON: THE REVOLUTION gives readers an unprecedented view of both revolutions, from the only two writers able to provide it. Miranda, along with Jeremy McCarter, a cultural critic and theater artist who was involved in the project from its earliest stages--"since before this was even a show," according to Miranda--traces its development from an improbable performance at the White House to its landmark opening night on Broadway six years later. In addition, Miranda has written more than 200 funny, revealing footnotes for his award-winning libretto, the full text of which is published here.
Their account features photos by the renowned Frank Ockenfels and veteran Broadway photographer, Joan Marcus; exclusive looks at notebooks and emails; interviews with Questlove, Stephen Sondheim, leading political commentators, and more than 50 people involved with the production; and multiple appearances by President Obama himself. The book does more than tell the surprising story of how a Broadway musical became a national phenomenon: It demonstrates that America has always been renewed by the brash upstarts and brilliant outsiders, the men and women who don't throw away their shot.
This glorious, oversize testament to the multiple Tony Award-winning musical Hamilton is a joy to anyone who loves the sound track or who has been lucky enough to score tickets to the show. Miranda's annotations are in the margins of the lyrics, which are usually overlaid on full-spread photographs of the cast. He explains the many homages to rappers of his youth, as well as why he used literary devices, changed music tempos, and added fiction when Ron Chernow's biography couldn't fill in the gaps. Thirty-two essays offer teens even more background knowledge of how the show was created and often include lyrics that were cut from the final show. Through interviews with cast members and mentors, readers will be engrossed in the narrative and listening along to the sound track. The line "Immigrants: We get the job done," from "Yorktown (the World Turned Upside Down)," stirs rousing applause during performances, and the revolutionary twist of nonwhite actors portraying the Founding Fathers will be inspiring to young people. VERDICT An uplifting, gorgeous, diverse, and emotional libretto that will be performed in high schools as soon as the rights are available, and a must-have for initiated and uninitiated alike.—Sarah Hill, Lake Land College, Mattoon, IL