Monday, January 14, 2019

Hamilton in Pittsburgh

If you live in, or near, Pittsburgh, you probably know that "Hamilton" is here right now! Of course, there was no way that I was missing the show since I've traveled to New York twice (here and here) and celebrated by 30th birthday in DC by seeing the show (here)!
I saw the show this weekend, but before the show, I went to a really cool event at the Heinz History Center last week called "Hamilton Remix." Historian Richard Bell came to talk about Hamilton the show vs. Hamilton the man - where the show accurately depicts history, and where it deviates a bit. What was really fun, though, was that the lecture did a really deep dive on everything about the show, including the references to other musicals hidden in Hamilton lyrics, and even the rhyme schemes used. I didn't fully agree with all of the arguments he made, but the talk did remind me - and everyone else - that Hamilton wasn't a perfect man. He definitely had some ideas that we wouldn't agree with today, and could be hypocritical - basically, he was flawed, just like everyone else. But that doesn't make it any less powerful of a show, or Hamilton's legacy any less important.
The event at the Heinz History  Center actually just made me even more excited to see the show. I'm sure that I've mentioned this before, but each time I go to the show, I notice new things happening on stage. I've been very lucky in that the accessible seats in every theater have been really great seats, but this time I was right up front, so I could really see every single thing that happened. I'm continually impressed by the choreography and the staging - each and every single character is doing something on stage, and if you watch really carefully, you'll see the same choreography repeated throughout the show as a call back.

Seeing the show reminded me about the message of inclusion behind it. Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote his first show, "In the Heights," partially because he didn't see anyone like himself on Broadway, and so he wrote his own role. He continued that same message of inclusion for "Hamilton," by choosing a diverse cast that reflects America today to tell the story of America during its founding. I actually talked about the show a few times during my Ms. Wheelchair USA interviews, because I think its message of inclusion is so important, and I love that it does it by showing, not telling. I'm working hard to promote that same message of inclusion for people with disabilities!

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