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A few weeks ago, Disney+ got its hands on a recording of the insanely popular Broadway musical Hamilton. Given how before corona times this show was frequently booked up, audiences around the world were understandably happy when Disney offered them an opportunity to experience something they might never have gotten to experience otherwise.
Not all subscribers are satisfied with the newfound attention Hamilton is receiving, however. In the wake of the civil rights protests which were organized in response to the death of George Floyd, an African American victim of police brutality, many have criticized the musical for glorifying a government founded on slavery and racism.
Phillipa Soo, the actress who plays Hamilton’s love interest Eliza, agrees with this standpoint. However, she also thinks that the musical – idealizing and romanticizing as it is – can still serve some social purpose. As reported by CinemaBlend, the actress is quoted to have said that Hamilton ought not to be cancelled because its story can give people hope and inspiration.
“I think that more than ever, we need something like this to remind us of the places that we want to go to. To give us some hope to give us some inspiration. And to know that, you know, even in even amidst chaos, there’s something to be found there. There’s something to be searched for. Which might be, you know, it might be dangerous, it might be messy. It might be loud, it might be violent. But in the end, as long as we’re working towards building something, you know, we can, we can set our eyes towards that.”
Based on the autobiography of America’s least-known yet arguably most-important founding father, Hamilton tells the story of a self-made immigrant who entered the United States at the bottom of the pecking order and through diligence and persistence lifted himself to the very top. Naturally, elements of Alexander Hamilton’s life were distorted and amplified to make for better storytelling, but many argue that’s irrelevant.
By employing race-blind casting, Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda was able to breathe new life into what would have otherwise been an archaic story heard only in high school history classes. Bringing together performers from different backgrounds, the musical is able to celebrate themes of multiculturalism and social mobility that helped make America into the world power it is today.