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Lifestyle Theatre

What Filipinos can learn from Hamilton

Hamilton has been, was, and is still a musical phenomenon since its broadway premiere back in 2015. It’s an amazing musical. It is able to do so many different things incredibly well.

It works, first and foremost, as a great musical.

Lin Manuel Miranda’s music and lyrics tell the story so well that give the characters an earnestness, a seriousness, and playfulness when it’s required.

Thomas Jefferson (Daveed Diggs) and King George III (Jonathan Groff)are good examples of when characters are allowed playfulness in great contrast to Aaron Burr (Leslie Odom Jr.) who emphasized his neutrality and how he’s not really saying much with so many words apart from the fact where he’s acting as narrator.

Meanwhile Alexander Hamilton (Lin-Manuel Miranda) and George Washington (Christopher Jackson) had very serious moments and were given opportunities to exercise this much like how Washington’s singing had metric limitations that play into how calculating and structured he was as a person; at the same time, King Gorge III’s breakup song was intentionally detached from the theme of the entire musical to showcase how he is intruding on events and how he doesn’t “understand” the narrative of the “Americans.”

It humanizes and modernizes the immortalized and the creation of America. We can suddenly relate on how these were conflicted humans, much like what we are experiencing now and that they had no idea how to lead a country as emphasized by King George III.

At the core of everything, everyone wanted what was best for the country.

To push the story forward, Lin Manuel Miranda utilized the personal and professional rivalry and jealousy of Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr as the centerpiece and motivation for either characters to aim higher despite being a “bastard, orphan, son of a whore and a Scotsman” for the title character.

Hamilton was the one who wanted to change the system for the better; and Burr wanted power and prestige for his own sake that sought to become a celebrity but when you “talk less, smile more. Don’t let them know what you are against and what you are for,” you end up not standing for anything which resulted in his political demise. 

It is notable, also, where some of the arguments with Jefferson where he becomes what he was fighting against; and maybe these were all smart and strategic decisions what he did politically but it’s all very well constructed with layers on top of it that dive into what transforms a politician.

Though foreign in nature, there’s still a lot we can draw from the story and the musical as a whole.

That literally even the creation of America itself didn’t know what it wanted to be or what it wanted to become let alone even understand how things work and how things are supposed to work. Emphasis on taking a stand and working towards that ideal compared to not letting anyone know where your allegiances lie and to only always smile.

How perspective changes by understanding the inner workings of a system and acting towards making said system better. 

How we look to advance “careers” by marrying into rich and influential families to be able to lobby to more powerful people.

Truth be told, this is how backwards we are as a country; we find ourselves in 1776 America still trying to figure out what we are, what we’re trying to become all the while pulling down everyone and everything in our way as we try to wrestle for more power and influence. 

Where will you be when they make a musical about this point in history? The one bringing it down or the one trying to make it a better place?

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