News from Hillsborough High School in Tampa, Fla.

Broadway musical “Hamilton” gains popularity on campus

November 2, 2016

Hip hop and history may seem like an odd combination, but it has proven to be a successful pairing for lyricist Lin-Manuel Miranda. His Broadway musical “Hamilton” has won 11 Tony Awards, a Pulitzer Prize and a Grammy award. It has received worldwide appreciation with a constantly expanding fan base. And when senior Sami Majchrzak saw “Hamilton” live in New York, like most people, they only learned to love it even more.

Before they listened to the album, Majchrzak thought of Alexander Hamilton as “that unfortunate guy that got shot.” After constantly hearing their friends raving about the soundtrack, Majchrzak finally listened to it. From then on, they became a fan and even saw the musical on Broadway last summer. Fortunately for Majchrzak, they were able to go before the tickets cost today’s minimum of $250 each. The rise in popularity has driven up the prices and sold out every show until May 24 (yes, the same week current seniors graduate high school.)

Majchrzak listened to the cast album constantly, but said seeing the songs come to life was better than they dreamed it would be. “I found myself really appreciating the ensemble in a way I couldn’t have imagined I would,” they said. “The choreography was absolutely phenomenal.”

“Hamilton” tells the story of Alexander Hamilton in a new way that has appealed to people all over the world. The musical opens the parts of whites to people of any ethnicity.

Hamilton’s cast is composed predominantly of performers of black and Latino descent, notable for a musical starring white historical figures. Hamilton himself is played by Javier Muñoz, a man of Puerto Rican descent. With “Hamilton,” Miranda offers an alternative to the way Founding Fathers are typically portrayed. And now, they can rap.

Miranda tells the story of Hamilton in a unique way that has never been done before. “It revolutionized musicals as an art form. It revolutionized how many people look at history. In many ways it is a product and advocate of implementing equality,” Majchrzak said.

“Hamilton” has also influenced Majchrzak’s intended career. They focus on game design and illustration, but “Hamilton” has heightened their passion for costume design.

One of their main hobbies is cosplay, a type of performance art when people wear costumes and different accessories to represent a specific character from video games, books, anime or television shows.

“It was pretty much inevitable that I would make a Hamilton costume,” said Majchrzak, who even dressed up as Hamilton for Heritage Day. Majchrak also performed one of the songs from the musical with their friends at the Hillsborough Esthetic Literary Magazine coffeehouse last year.

For Majchrzak and many others, “Hamilton” is more than its lyrics and high praise from critics. It has taken the art community by storm. It offers equal opportunities for actors looking for a role of historic importance.

“It’s hard,” Majchrzak said, “to condense such an immaculate work of genius into only a couple sentences.”

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