Hamilton – Original Broadway Cast

Experiencing Hamilton: An American Musical Through Headphones

Iryna Byelyayeva

I had failed at listening to recordings of plays before and

no musical had ever kept my attention through the whole score.

Maybe it’s the genius rhymes, the huge dia-

monds of wit it rained down on my nigh-time tram ride.

Or the hip-hop roots, the songs are meaningful

they’re far from cute

and I hope some theatre kids I know will come to fully appreciate the flow of

ingenuity and history that seeps deep in the genre it’s playing with.

Man, thanks for showing me that it can be done –

that good theatre and proper pop-culture can become one.

It’s a curse and a blessing, like a flavour that will forever be messing with my taste palette

because now I feel like to go back to creating what we used to will fall flat.

I’m not saying everything we do now should include rapping (I’ve seen the Gilmore Girls revival),

that would be crapping on it,

what I’m saying is the story telling magic

mixed with the musical havoc we wreak on our emotions

has given our creativity a promotion.

Hamilton (2015) on stage would be amazing

the revolution in the story and the revolutionary cast

is a mast-

erful “fuck you look what we can do” to

all our seemingly segregated roles in entertainment,

a dirty residue Hollywood can’t shake.

And as much as I’d like to see it live,

experiencing just the music didn’t faze me.

I could follow along,

the singing was strong,

the story had a life of its own

in my head

my imagination felt well-fed

full

of excitement

and wonder

and all those tricky emotional responses which I can’t sunder

from the beat and the acting

I want this to become a new faction of entertainment.

Spoken word is hard to follow

but music is like chocolate milk – just try not swallow

the sweetness it provides

and the story it tells filling you right to the sides

of the your brain

I’m not the first to proclaim

Hamilton is a phenomenon

I could go on and on

but what I’m trying to say is

listening to a musical was almost more exciting

than seeing one live.

 

The all-singing musical is

easy to follow along,

the motifs of singing the characters’ names

the same way

in every refrain

was a clever way of

helping me not feel left out of the song.

It’s like reading a book

where I can imagine how all the characters look and

I don’t get distracted by the set or

things I think are going wrong,

there’s just me and the purity of the song

in a private moment all of our own.

I first listened to it on a tram, right

coming home late one night

on a route I know so well I want to

shoot myself each time I’m stuck on it

but with headphones in place

I probably looked ridiculous since I couldn’t control

my face

contorted with every emotion I felt

for all the characters, their losses, their victories, their sacrifice and

it’s dangerous, when dealing with history,

to ignore the fact that Miranda took creative licence

with the story

but we have Wikipedia for fact checking.

Right now there’s no time because all I wanted

at 2 in the morning was to check in

with the characters I had left for a couple of hours

that’s Miranda’s power –

taking characters which would otherwise seem unexceptional

and through music transforming them into something unstoppable.

I was engaged all the way through

(although I’m not going to lie to you

the Schuyler sisters’ two songs

one after the other

was the ether

of the piece).

 

It’s nice to feel inspired

like you finally got something you didn’t know you desired.

This really put the things I love most together –

exploring characters and what they mean in their own world:

Burr realising his slate will never be wiped clean.

Angelica resigning to the fact that she should not be Hamilton’s pearl

History seamlessly intertwined with contemporary vernacular

Miranda’s lyrics are very particular

in the way they engage and explain

that it’s all interconnected

all the genres he uses in the songs never feel affected

in fact

they tap into our universal language – music.

 

We live in Australia and for us

it’ll take till around 2018

to see Hamilton performed outside our computer screen

so for now we have the Original Cast Recording

which is just as, if not more, rewarding.


Iryna is a creative lady living in Melbourne, Australia. She is the Editor of The Wall and gets published here and there. She can be followed on twitter @irynabyel

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