I talk a lot about how we can have clearings in our lives, moments of extraordinary insight; the kinds of insights that rock your world forever. Seeing the musical Hamilton is one such clearing for me. I received unexpected tickets to the show, making me feel as if I’d won the lottery. During the performance my mind was equally captivated by what was happening on stage as it was running wild with all of the life and work parallels I was drawing from the story.
I was a history buff in high school and took the AP exams in both American and European history. At that time, I’d been more drawn to European history. When I saw Hamilton, though, American history came alive for me. During that three-hour musical journey, I saw with crystal-clear understanding the value of bringing present-day sensibilities and perspectives to the extraordinary story of our country’s founding, two hundred and forty years ago.
Lin-Manuel Miranda, the son of Cuban immigrants and writer and composer of Hamilton, is, perhaps, not someone we might have expected to pen and perform such a dynamic production based on American history. Throughout the musical, Miranda uses spoken word, rap, soaring melodies, and rhythm to capture the anticipation, fear, and hope that burns in the human heart when the reality of personal and political freedom is just around a very bloody corner. Miranda himself said in a 60 Minutes interview, “Rap is the language of revolution.”
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