The Lydster: Alexander Hamilton

A lot of people who’ve never even heard the music have dismissed it as a rap musical, when it features a mixture of popular musical styles.

One of mixed blessings of the past year has been the Daughter’s obsession with all things Alexander Hamilton. In case you’ve somehow missed the buzz, the musical Hamilton has been a Broadway and touring company phenomenon. It’s about “the poor kid from the Caribbean who fought the British, defended the Constitution, and helped to found the United States.”

On one hand, she knows far more about the Federalist Papers than she might have. On the other hand, for a good part of the past year, it was all Hamilton, all the time. She’d go to sleep to it, wake up to it, play it during dinner, play it on road trips. I got a bit Hamiltoned out, frankly.

And yet we fuel it. For Christmas, she received a book called HAMILTON: THE REVOLUTION by composer/actor Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter, “a cultural critic and theater artist who was involved in the project from its earliest stages–‘since before this was even a show’ [which] traces its development from an improbable performance at the White House to its landmark opening night on Broadway six years later. In addition, Miranda has written more than 200 funny, revealing footnotes for his award-winning libretto, the full text of which is published here.”

It’s interesting that a lot of people who’ve never even heard the music – and, as noted, I’ve heard it a LOT – have dismissed it as a rap musical, when it features a mixture of popular musical styles. Here’s a review of the original Broadway cast:

“Thanks to the arrangements by musical director Alex Lacamoire, the score includes tinkling harpsichords, schmaltzy strings, and lush choral harmonies. The Schuyler sisters—Angelica (Hamilton’s close, perhaps romantic, friend, played by Renée Elise Goldsberry), Eliza (his wife, Phillipa Soo), and Peggy (Jasmine Cephas Jones)—trade fast-talking verses and harmonize on choruses in an R&B groove that sounds like Destiny’s Child; Burr (a smashing, properly smarmy Leslie Odom Jr.) busts out with a fit of envy in the form of a razzmatazz show-tune, ‘The Room Where It Happens’ (commenting on the secret meeting among Hamilton, Jefferson, and Madison at which American government’s first quid pro quo was bargained). Thomas Jefferson (Daveed Diggs) opens the second act returning from Paris and asking, in a boogie-woogie number, ‘What’d I Miss?’ And there are several… beltable ballads. England’s King George (a hilarious Jonathan Groff) pouts about the loss of the colonies in the mode of a bouncy British breakup tune: “What comes next? / You’ve been freed. / Do you know how hard it is to lead? / You’re on your own. / Awesome. Wow. / Do you have a clue what happens now?”

And all of us now sing the mundanities of life to songs on the soundtrack. I use to try to stir the teenager in the morning, “Just get up! Just get up!” to the tune of the first song that goes “just you wait, just you wait.”

The Daughter has seen/read/listened to all of these, of course:

How ‘Hamilton’ is revolutionizing the Broadway musical

Hamilton condensed down to seven minutes

Jesus of the Galilee

The 2016 Song- A Year in Review, Hamilton Rewind Parody

I Have an Opinion on Every Song in “Hamilton”

Top 10 Hamilton songs

10 Unforgettable Hamilton Moments of 2016

Alexander Hamilton’s shadow

Hamilton

Alexander Hamilton’s powder horn is up for auction.

alexander-hamiltonI’ve become obsessed with Alexander Hamilton for a while now. He was married to Elizabeth Schuyler, a member of First Presbyterian Church in Albany (my current church!), in 1780. When Aaron Burr killed Hamilton in an 1804 duel, First Presbyterian Albany minister Eliphalet Nott wrote a persuasive sermon which led to the demise of dueling in America.

It definitely intensified with that campaign by some group to put a woman on the $20 bill, replacing Andrew Jackson, something I fully supported.

But then I heard about the Treasury Department’s plan Continue reading “Hamilton”

The office party

I am among the WORST gift wrappers on the planet.

office.ukI was not sleeping well the night before the holiday office party. Part of it was the fact that I knew The Wife was going to get a routine medical exam REALLY early the next morning. This meant that, instead of her getting up at 5:30 a.m., which, after all these years, I’m still barely used to, she’d be up before 5. Arrgh.

Abandoning the bed, I tried to sleep in the recliner downstairs for a while, then onto the sofa. I was awake enough to note the kitchen light was on, but fell back asleep until 7:20. Not only did I have to rush to get dressed for work, I had to wake the Daughter – usual rising time 6:30 – so she could get to school before 8.

Also, I had to wrap the gift for the grab bag. I had chosen the soundtrack to the great Broadway musical Hamilton, which may very well be the album of the year. Fortunately Continue reading “The office party”

September rambling #2, hernia operation edition: Consent 101

SamuraiFrog completes his Weird Al epic.

Thesaurus
Am I having fun this morning? Hernia operation. I may be “out of pocket” for a few days.

Why did the Speaker of the House quit? The Plot Against Planned Parenthood and John Boehner.

From the American Conservative, no less: The Quiet Grand Strategy of Barack Obama. “Are the president’s diplomatic initiatives winning a new American Century?”

Study: White people react to evidence of white privilege by claiming greater personal hardships.

There Is No Excuse for How Universities Treat Adjuncts.

Re: the Muslim teen who created a clock and got arrested, it’s now clear they didn’t think he had a bomb. And talk about foolishness in school settings: 11-year-old gifted student suspended 1 year for having a pot leaf that wasn’t a pot leaf.

From Wondermark: Fauxtopia.

A TIDE commercial.

And now for the sex portion of our post Continue reading “September rambling #2, hernia operation edition: Consent 101”

The falling leaves, and other parts

Alexander Hamilton was the most significant immigrant in early US history.

maple treeYou can blame Jaquandor for much of this post. A bit ago, he linked to this lovely poem about an old maple tree coming down.

I don’t think I pay attention to the trees, or nature generally, enough. A couple months ago, a huge branch fell from our tree, a maple as it turns out, in the farthest part of the back yard. The massive branch, too heavy for me to move, barely missed the shed, but it turned into an accordion our compost container.

Just recently, the branches have been removed, and the tree is now clipped, but still massive. Continue reading “The falling leaves, and other parts”