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“Race-Conscious Casting and the Erasure of the Black Past in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton” responses

It’s not “just a musical”

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TPH_38_1_Covers low rez-1In the four months since my review of Hamilton: An American Musical was first published in The Public Historian, my ideas have been met with a wide variety of reactions.

This blog published four responses to the piece, including one by Annette Gordon-Reed, who wrote that my review was an expression of “our duty to use what we know of history and culture to comment” on artistic explorations of the past. Read More

Hamilton: The Musical: Blacks and the founding fathers

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This past August, I went with a group of historians to see the much acclaimed, and now Grammy-winning, musical, Hamilton. Our timing was just right. The ticket prices were reasonable (for the Great White Way), costing nowhere near the astronomical sums people pay now. Read More

History and performance: Hamilton: An American Musical

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Public historians have spent a good deal of time looking at how history is performed in museums and living history sites, in reenactments, and on film and television. Theatre, opera, and musicals have received far less attention, and one reason for this might be that these forms of representation are often thought of as elitist.[1] As Lyra Monteiro points out in her review of Hamilton: An American Musical, the overwhelming majority of audiences for Broadway shows are white (and presumably well-off). Read More

A color-blind Stockholm syndrome

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The American narrative, like any cultural narrative, consists of stories that structure and assign meaning to the nation’s origin, history, and existence. In theory, this narrative can link Americans who have experienced genocide, slavery, and white privilege. But for people descended from enslaved peoples, this narrative has instead been used to conceal the inconvenient truths of systemic historic and current racial injustice and inequality. Read More

Who tells your story?

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Lyra Monteiro is certainly right, when she notes in her review of Hamilton: An American Musical, that mainstream American culture has a lamentable tendency to embrace and retell certain stories about American history, including that of the founders, with greater frequency and enthusiasm than the many other stories that require more difficult reckonings with the past. Read More