Broadway may not be on the list of breeding grounds for a cultural breakout or budding rap artists, but with the recent success of rap musical Hamilton, Broadway has suddenly become cooler than it has ever been.
The pop culture phenomenon is generally expected to come from music studios, film sets, fashion runway, or recording rooms with artists ranging from the mundane to superstar status.
The cultural juggernaut, Hamilton, broke the imaginary line of the prim and proper Broadway and the glitzy pop culture with its refreshing, energetic, hip-hop portrayal of the United States founding father Alexander Hamilton’s life.
Hamilton tells the life story of Alexander Hamilton, the first secretary of treasury and America’s founding father, from the revolution to the Federalist Papers with music, lyrics and book by Lin-Manuel Miranda. The award-winning rap musical has taken home 11 Tony Awards, a Pulitzer, a Grammy and the first musical to reach No.1 on Billboard’s rap chart.
Given its booming cultural relevance, the following are the seven reasons to get familiar with the sensation that is Hamilton, according to Vogue:
- The nearly three-hour musical is a powerful blend of rap, R&B and hip-hop, with pop and jazz elements woven in. The New Yorker praised the show saying it is “an achievement of historical and cultural reimagining.”
- It is not just a rapping musical with the show’s score ranging from traditional musical theater songs to rapping. There are musical influences from Sondheim to Gilbert & Sullivan to Eminem, meaning there is something for everyone. The slowest songs in the show range from 64 to 80 words per minute, with the fastest tracks treading about 200 words per minute, according to FiveThirtyEight.
- Its cast recording won the 2016 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album.
- It won the Pulitzer Prize award for Best Drama making it the ninth musical in the 100-year history of Pulitzer.
- Its recording hit the No.1 Billboard’s rap album chart last year, over the albums on Kendrick Lamar, Drake and other established rappers.
- Countless celebrities including Beyonce, Eminem, Kanye West, Tom Hanks, the Obamas have all attended the show at New York’s Richard Rodgers theater.
- According to Fortune, the show grosses about $1.5 million per week and is booked solid this entire year.
So, does it live up to the hype? To put it simply, yes. Believe the hype, it is better than they say it is.
Photo Courtesy: Travis Wise/Flickr
Video Courtesy: Wall Street Journal/YouTube