The Hamilton musical, Canadian premiere in Toronto


A criticism of Claudia Hebert

Hamilton recounts the life and work of Alexander Hamilton, one of the founding fathers of the United States, who fought alongside George Washington and then served in his administration as Secretary of the Treasury. The character is brilliant: an orphan, immigrant, started from nothing, but whose portrait now sits on ten American dollar bills. Around him, those who fought with and against him, the women who loved him, and the one who, ultimately, will have his skin.

From the first notes, the genius of the work signed Lin-Manuel Miranda is essential. On the one hand, the singer-songwriter and lead performer of the Hamilton character chose hip-hop, rap, R&B and a touch of pop as vehicles for his music hall. On the other hand, the distribution is made up mainly of black, Latin American and Asian actors.

It is a bold vision of American history that we are offered in this way: everything is anchored in the real facts of the American revolution and the beginnings of independence, except that we give power to communities that n have had no say in the founding of their country. Skin color is never mentioned or considered here, but the musical does something precious here: it offers African-Americans an important, if somewhat fictional, part of American mythology.

Here, Thomas Jefferson as much as Aaron Burr or the Marquis de La Fayette are black. Washington has Asian origins. We are regularly reminded that Hamilton was born in the Caribbean, that he is an immigrant and that we can count on newcomers to accomplish what they have in mind: immigrants: we get the job done“,” text “:” immigrants: we get the job done “}}” lang = “en”>immigrants: we get the job done ( ‘ we get the job done ”), Can we hear in the show. In congressional debates, Hamilton and Jefferson clash over their ideas about the nation’s finances in a rap fight (rap-battle), microphone in hand.

The work is infused with humor, whether by the appearance of King George III richly dressed – speaking to America as to a capricious lover who regrets asking for his independence – or even with the flamboyant arrogance of various men policies. And yet, Hamilton manages in his last songs to bring us to tears, so much the work allows us to immerse ourselves in the intimacy of love and the family of the hero.

Lively music offers many leitmotifs melodic, immersing the spectator in a sound universe which becomes deeply familiar to him. The 46 songs, offered without interruption, take us at full speed over the decades.

Hamilton resonates with a sound and a resolutely anachronistic attitude, a work so contemporary, but in period costumes. The history lesson is there, but completely dusted. In a package that goes far beyond inclusion, we are presented with the daring proposition of a vision of America where everyone is truly equal.

Hamilton is presented at the Ed Mirvish Theater in Toronto until May 17, 2020.

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