History still has its eyes on “Hamilton”

Alexa DuBois, Guest Writer

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When “Hamilton” came to the stage in April 2016, a flood of shock and excitement flooded the country. No one had ever heard of a hip-hop yet historical musical with such a diverse cast.

While English teacher and ENCORE! Sponsor Maureen Ritter doesn’t think that “Hamilton” is a musical that’s reinventing the theater itself, she does believe it’s revolutionizing and re-energizing it.

“‘Hamilton’ has reenergized the theatre industry. The quality of the show is beyond genius because of the way [Lin-Manuel Miranda] uses traditional theatre forms and turns them into something that is really modern,” said Ritter. “A lot has been made of the fact that Hamilton is a hip-hop musical and it…[has] a lot of beautiful moments that don’t have anything to do with hip-hop.”

“People who haven’t seen themselves…represented on a stage, [are] seeing themselves for the first time,” said Ritter. “A lot has been made of the year “Hamilton” won its Tony. It was the most diverse year on Broadway ever, that I think will be one of its biggest lasting legacies.”

Ritter doesn’t see “Hamilton” coming to GCHS any time soon, but she isn’t leaving it out of consideration if the talent presents itself.

“I think that it would be really cool to have kids who have those talents come out of the works and display them in a new way, so I wouldn’t rule it out. I would be hesitant, but I wouldn’t rule it out,” said Ritter.

While Alexander Hamilton’s story has been brought up before in the media as a 1917 play and a 1931 film, it never crossed into popular culture until “Hamilton.”

“[“Hamilton”’s left] a major legacy,” said Ritter. “It’s cool that his story and the rest of who he was gets to be told too, because I don’t think people knew that much about him – he was just another one of the founding fathers… It’s neat to be able to pull a real person and say, ‘here were their flaws, and here are their strengths, and here’s what they believed in, and here’s what they fought for, and here’s the adversity they overcame.’”

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History still has its eyes on “Hamilton”