Sunday, February 5, 2017

Hamilton: The Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter

Star Rating :  5 out of 5
Content Rating : MODERATE

Back Cover :
“Lin-Manuel Miranda's groundbreaking musical Hamilton is as revolutionary as its subject, the poor kid from the Caribbean who fought the British, defended the Constitution, and helped to found the United States. Fusing hip-hop, pop, R&B, and the best traditions of theater, this once-in-a-generation show broadens the sound of Broadway, reveals the storytelling power of rap, and claims our country's origins for a diverse new generation.

HAMILTON: THE REVOLUTION gives readers an unprecedented view of both revolutions, from the only two writers able to provide it. Miranda, along with 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," according to Miranda--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.

Their account features photos by the renowned Frank Ockenfels and veteran Broadway photographer, Joan Marcus; exclusive looks at notebooks and emails; interviews with Questlove, Stephen Sond­heim, leading political commentators, and more than 50 people involved with the production; and multiple appearances by Presi­dent Obama himself. The book does more than tell the surprising story of how a Broadway musical became a national phenomenon: It demonstrates that America has always been renewed by the brash upstarts and brilliant outsiders, the men and women who don't throw away their shot.”

My Thoughts :
I recently got slightly obsessed with the musical Hamilton, written by Lin-Manuel Miranda. I listen to at least one song off the soundtrack every day. There is a song for every mood, from getting pumped up to go to the gym or from belting your heart out because of a break up. So when I saw a copy of Miranda’s book at the library I work at, I knew I had to read it! And it was so worth it.

The content rating is moderate; because, there are a lot of cuss words in the songs. Also, there are a few instances of sexual innuendos and one explicit we-just-had-sex song.

What I liked :
·        The Photos - There are full-page photos of different parts of the musical. It’s wonderful to look at for anyone who cannot physically go see the musical on Broadway. The picture quality is great as well.
·        The Structure - The book has basically 2 different writings. They have the lyrics of every song with some notes on the side, and then chapters with background on either the cast members or the crew or some other interesting thing that helped make Hamilton a reality. And it’s amazing. I like how they incorporated the background along with the lyrics to the songs.
·        The Notes on the Songs - I know about 60% of the songs almost word for word, or so I thought before I read the lyrics in this book. It was super helpful for when I decide to belt out these songs in my car. I also like the notes Miranda puts on the sides. Some of them are historical facts about a specific lyrics, and some are more personal feelings Miranda has about how he wrote the music or how he felt about this particular part in the play. It brought some depth into what I was listening to.
·        The Physical Book - The book itself looks like an older book. They distressed the pages and the pages are thicker, almost like cardstock. It gives it an authentic feel, even though I know it is not actually an old book. Even the spine of the book is made to look like it came out of 18th century America.

What I didn’t like :
·        Nothing - This is a great book to read if you loved the musical. The only thing I might say is that is made me sad because now I want to go see it on Broadway even though it’s almost impossible.

What Others Are Saying :
This glorious, oversize testament to the uplifting, gorgeous, diverse, multiple Tony Award—winning musical Hamilton is a must-have for initiated and new listeners alike.” --Sarah Hill, Lake Land College, Mattoon, IL

About the Author :

Miranda was the composer, lyricist, and star of Broadway's In the Heights, which won four Tony Awards in 2008 and was a Pulitzer Prize finalist. Then came Hamilton, the trailblazing, diverse-cast, hip hop-crazy musical that had a sold-out run at New York's Public Theater before winning the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Musical and transferring to Broadway. Now it's a Tony favorite, with decent ticket availability starting around June 2016. Here, having told the story of Alexander Hamilton, Miranda tells the story of Hamilton. 

Reviewed by Lydia Jones

Pick up your copy at Amazon or Barnes and Noble

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