Prior to the hit Broadway show, I rarely heard the name “Alexander Hamilton” unless someone was talking about the ten-dollar bill. Now, however, everyone loves to bring up the Founding Father. Whether it is endlessly quoting the actual Alexander Hamilton while trying to talk about our dying government or making memes with cakes saying that former national security advisor John Bolton was in the “room where it happened,” I would like for it to stop.
Here’s why: I didn’t spend most of my life as a theater kid getting mocked for a musical to finally become mainstream and then be taken over by politicians. I know, on some level, that it makes sense since, you know, the musical does have a political basis. Hamilton is the creation of Lin-Manuel Miranda and tells the story of the ten-dollar Founding Father without a father.
With just one spoken scene in the whole show, you can listen to the entire cast recording for Hamilton and follow the story and be enthralled by the history laid out before you. What you don’t need to do, Washington D.C., is log onto Twitter.com and share lyrics or stand up in front of certain bodies of government and use these lyrics to make yourself look hip and relatable.
The curse of the 21st century is that everyone wants to either be a meme or make a meme. So that means that a political figure who knows they’re being televised probably things making a Hamilton joke will get them trending on Twitter. While yes, that’s probably true, I just want it to end.
I guess part of my issue stems from the fact that it is just jokes about Hamilton because it became a phenomenon and people listened to, it but it wasn’t a gateway into people looking for other musicals to get into. Despite the fact that Hamilton itself has jokes specifically geared towards a musical theater-loving audience (my personal favorite being the reference to The Last Five Years in “Say No To This”), it seems as if the only time a musical gets recognition is if it becomes some viral sensation or gets a movie.
So Hamilton‘s success (which I love, that’s not the point of this) has led to politicians basically going “See, I’m hip! I know Hamilton” and not ushered in more Broadway/musical fans. It’s just exhausting because every time I see some politicians write the words “room where it happens” or “not throwing away my shot,” I want to die a little inside. It makes me not want to listen to Hamilton, and you know what? That’s not fair to me. I dedicate my life to the theater, and what does it get me? These jokes.
So here’s my plea, from a musical theater-loving girl to the world of politics: Please take a look at musicals if you’re going to quote them and learn from theater. So much of our content is progressive and invested in making America a better place, so maybe if you stopped trying to be “hip” and learn from theater instead. We could actually see the change we need to in politics. Then I would let you quote Hamilton all you want.
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