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HAMILTON: An American Musical

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Laura Meehan

on 17 October 2016

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Transcript of HAMILTON: An American Musical

Parts of a Musical
Opening Chorus: first song, introduces us to the world of the characters, establishes setting
Hamilton's Opening Chorus
written by (& stars) Lin-Manuel Miranda
intentionally non-white casting (exception: King George)
songs range in style from hip-hop, rap, R&B, pop, classic music theater style
inspired by Ron Chernow's 2004 biography of Alexander Hamilton
"My Shot"
Context: Colonial US. Hamilton has just met some new friends who agree that America should separate from England
HAMILTON: An American Musical
"I Want" Song
11:00 Number: Named for when shows started at 8:30; show is almost over, character has an emotional revelation
Ex: "Listen" from Dreamgirls, "I Know Where I've Been" from Hairspray
Character Song - reveals little plot, takes us inside a character's psyche
Act 1 Finale: Last song BEFORE intermisson. Reminds us of the STATUS of all of the characters we've met so far; often repeats earlier musical themes.
Ex: "Tonight: Quintet" from West Side Story, "Non-Stop" from Hamilton
2. Advance the PLOT
3. Plot has to BENEFIT from being "musicalized"
Students will be able to:
Understand music theater as a uniquely American art form
Identify the functions of a song in music theater
Apply new concepts to familiar musicals
Analyze & evaluate music and lyrics from "Hamilton"
Create a piece of original writing
To be SUCCESSFUL, a song in a musical has to do one of three things:
Finale: Wraps up the plot, often involves whole cast
"Alexander Hamilton"
Performed Live via Satellite at the Grammys - Feb 15, 2016
Richard Rogers Theater
Mark up the lyrics to this song as you listen. Make note of:
lyrics that stand out to you
words you don't understand
musical changes you notice - change of instruments, change of loud to soft, etc.
-Miranda chose hip-hop intentionally: "writing oneself out of poverty is a very hip-hop idea."
-Hip-hop often "samples" from other songs. LMM samples from other musicals, rap, Shakespeare, Bible, etc. throughout show
-often, a character's musical "theme" re-appears later on in the show, either with or without lyrics
Musical = song, dance, and dialogue that all tell one cohesive story from beginning to end
5 minutes: list musicals you have SEEN. As many as you can remember.
Things that count:
-live shows (you've gone to see the musical)
-live musicals on TV (The Wiz, Peter Pan live, Grease live, etc.)
-movie musicals (Les Mis, Into the Woods, Wizard of Oz, etc.)
-Disney movies where characters SING (not Finding Nemo)
Plot, character, or both?
Full transcript