Tag Archive: Lin-Manuel Miranda


So for a month now I have been listening to the Hamilton Mixtape…and I still have a few questions mainly is it playing chess or checkers?

I’m a child of the 80/90s and therefore all too awear of mixtapes and how much they can mean (recording off the radio was my most brag worthy skill back in the day). For me mixtapes only came in a handful of flavors. They could be a way to recreate an incredible moment (like a first kiss). They can be made for some special event (think prom or road trip). They can tell someone that you like them, love them, or that it’s time to break up. Thus after listening the Hamilton Mixtape I began asking myself what purpose does this collection of songs have? What is the Mixtape saying?

Checkers

Perhaps the most obvious thing the Mixtape was saying is “Yay Hamlet!” But in all seriousness Hamilton (the Musical) has exploded, pretty much world wide, and as so few people have had the opportunity to share in the spectale perhaps Lin was just sharing his original idea with us. Maybe this Mixtape is yet another way to feel conected to the Musical. This however seems overly simplified because we already had the cast album.

My next thought was that Lin just wanted to tell us all that he likes us. However, when I gave “I like you” mixtapes out what I was usually doing, in reality, was asking “Do you like me?” It seems unlikely that with all of his adoring fans Mr. Miranda would be asking that particular question.

So that left breaking up. Could Lin possibly be breaking up with us? There were signs. Quite a few of the songs were sad in nature and some even seem perfect for a breakup mixtape (I’m looking at you You’ll Be Back and Burn). 

Then it dawned on me. Hamilton: An American Musical is is about America then told by Americans today. What beautiful allegory would it be if Hamilton: The Mixtape which talks about America then was really about America today. *Mind figuratively blown* I started listening differently to the songs. Could this be real? Is Mr. Miranda asking us to not only look back to avoid past mistakes, but also darring us to have an eye to the future? These familiar songs changed in an instant. 

Chess

Somewhere between the wake up call in No John Trumbull (things are not what they seem), and the sad but hopeful wish (that the world can be as good as I hope it can) I hear in the Dear Theodosia reprise he touched on it all. Mr. Miranda has compiled a collection of songs that asks us to recognize the stain on our country’s history that is slavery, the disservice that has been done to hard working immigrants, and the fact that different isn’t always seen as good. However, when I really listen to the words on this Mixtape I hear a promise that no matter how bad things get each of us has the tools to find our way out so long as we do not give up. If I may go a step further it also suggests that we all get our moment, and while you wait for it don’t be idle, be patient…and ready.

Maybe I’m reaching and all Lin and the amazing artists who lent their voices to carry these messages wanted to do was entertain us. If that’s the case, mission accomplished. However if the idea was to challenge today’s me-centric mentality to look ahead at what seeds we are planting then checkmate sir.

I can only hope that he is right “The harder the conflict the more glourous the triumph”.

Stay relentless!

All rights to the owner of the image whom I thank

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Okay so Bookworm first…

On my second reading of Hamilton The Revolution I fell in love with Jeremy McCarter’s narrative. Beyond the beautiful imagery and quotable text Mr. McCarter creates a wonderful story within a story vibe. This allows The Revolution to be told both from his perspective and Lin-Manuel Miranda’s. For reasons that I cannot fully explain this made me think of The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux. Regardless, the flow of The Revolution surprised me. Mr. McCarter frames each of Mr. Miranda’s beautiful scenes/songs with more than just informative background information he instead acts as MC setting up each scene with precision. Each song is in turn highlighted by Mr. Miranda’s various footnotes which give the reader an even more behind the scenes look at the how/why/when/ and where of it all. The overall effect left me with a dizzying omnipresent fly-on-the-wall feeling.

What was interesting to me, other than the interlocking narrative, libretto, and footnotes, were the design elements of the story being told. The selection of pull-quotes (which I initially thought would be distracting) were actually nice ways to underscore the tone or feeling of each chapter and were very well selected. The placement of photos was also well done adding rather than detracting from the story. Even the choice of page colors echoed the emotions specific to individuals or scenes. However, my favorite additions were the chapter names. While reading a book with numbered chapters is not impossible reading one with titled chapters is much more fun. I love the titles of The Revolution’s chapters as much as I loved the tiny illustrations at the beginning of each Harry Potter chapter (which is saying a lot).

I will also say that as a bibliophile this book is amazing to read. The cover and binding are surprisingly stunning, the actual pages have a lovely weight to them, and it opens flat (which I love in a hardback). I could go on but I won’t gush; let it suffice to say that while this 288 page monster of a book is heavy and all around sizeable I was happy to carry it around because I loved reading it.

Now for the Fangirl…

I ordered this book the day it was released on Amazon which it turned out was a huge mistake as I had to wait almost a month to receive it in the mail, but the wait was worth it. As most Hamilton Revolutionaries (and I am not sure if this is the official term for those of us obsessed with Hamilton An American Musical but it should be) I have scoured the internet for videos, pictures, and interviews, and therefore could not wait for another piece of the Hamilton puzzle. Enter the Hamiltome. It is everything you could have wanted, minus Mr. Miranda narrating the audio-book. The pictures are top quality and include both candid and professional shots. The interviews with collaborators, actors, and assorted Theater Greats are to die for. The footnotes are an insane inside view of the complicated genius that is Mr. Miranda’s brain, and the stage notes are fabulous additions to my own internally choreographed rendition of the play.

On my first read through I treated the Hamiltome like a Disney read-along (with record for those of you old enough to remember these). I read each chapter then listened to the corresponding song. It was a ridiculously fun way to absorb the narrative. It spotlighted tiny things which my mind had overlooked like the gasp in Satisfied, the violin cords under “Only nineteen but my mind is older”, and the fact that Hamilton sings “Hey! At least he was honest with our money!” in the Reynolds Pamphlet (in a funny yet sad plea for understanding).

There are so many great finds in Hamilton The Revolution whether you read it as a book, a read-along, or the latest Hamilton related item to be obsessed over. I have both devoured it over a weekend (in my first reading) and read it slowly (over a week in my second go-round). It is well written, has a wonderful pace to it making you want to read more, and has tidbits of information I have yet to hear via any other interview. The Hamiltome is in a word amazing, in two a must read! To steal a line “beg, steal, borrow, or barter” but read this book!

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