In 2015, the talented Lin-Manuel Miranda debuted his musical Hamilton: An American Musical. The combination of my nerdy history passion and love for musicals made me swoon. I downloaded the soundtrack and played it non-stop. Miranda was able to take a sometimes forgotten but extremely important figure in American history and push him to our attention.
I desperately wanted to go to this show whether in NYC or Chicago, but the associated costs were holding me back. Then, I heard the news: HamTour was coming to Detroit! (Insert cheers and jumping up and down!). I always knew that if I was lucky enough to snag tickets for Hamilton, I would take my son, which is a choice many may disagree with. There is some not-so-great language, as well as allusions of affairs. After checking reviews and forums though, I have found that his music would have the equivalent to a PG-13 rating, the same rating as the Marvel movies he loves so much.
Like me, he has loved the soundtrack from the start. We watch YouTube videos of the show, and he listens to the soundtrack while cleaning his room and doing homework. Missions to learn more about Alexander Hamilton and early American history ensued, so much so that he chose to be Hamilton for his wax museum at school, impressing visitors with his wealth of knowledge.
My son was shocked to learn that the true Hamilton was the person on the ten-dollar bill and not, in fact, a Puerto Rican-American from the Washington Heights borough of New York City. He had the same reaction to seeing pictures of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, realizing our past wasn’t as diverse as he pictured. In all truth, Alexander Hamilton quickly surpassed Abraham Lincoln as his favorite historical figure. (Yes, my then 8-year-old had a favorite historical figure).
Why I’m taking my son to see Hamilton
My son learned through Hamilton that the Founding Fathers did not always get along. They fought and disagreed but were OK. They still forged friendships out of mutual support and a common goal. Was it always pretty with sunshine and rainbows? No, but like friendships formed on the playground, disagreements happen. You come back together and talk out your differences.
Hamilton has also taught my son about perseverance and overcoming obstacles. Hamilton did not have the best start to life; in fact, he, like my son, was raised by a single mother. When she later died, he was able to find the strength to move to the colonies to find his place in the Revolution. When challenges arise, we work through it. We keep going, develop a plan, and overcome hardships.
We won’t be going to Hamilton just for the battle scenes and finally getting to hear “My Shot” live. Any one of us could be the next person to make an impact. This is the backbone of the soundtrack, and of the show. Having the strength to preserve and keep trying.