Hamilton (Original Broadway Cast Recording)

Hamilton (Original Broadway Cast Recording)

by Lin-Manuel MirandaLin-Manuel Miranda


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Inspired by the Ron Chernow biography, Hamilton: An American Musical is an innovative, hip-hop-charged stage musical about U.S. founding father Alexander Hamilton. That's right, hip-hop (and ethnically diverse casting) meet the 18th century. Its creator, book writer, composer-lyricist, and lead actor, Lin-Manuel Miranda, had his Broadway breakthrough in 2008 with Into the Heights, a musical about the Latino-American Manhattan neighborhood of Washington Heights that also incorporated rap music into its rambunctious songbook. Miranda won a Tony and a Grammy for his songwriting for the Best Musical winner. With Hamilton, he draws on rap, contemporary R&B, pop, and classic show tunes for a dynamic style that isn't just ambitious but accessible and catchy -- and there's plenty of conventional melody. The well-over-two-hour production does a good job of balancing tone and styles, so for those who find rap, or rather theater balladry, something to be endured, relief is just around the corner. Recorded with care over several days instead of the usual single recording session, and with production oversight by Questlove and Black Thought of the Roots, the cast recording opens with alternately rapped and sung exposition on "Alexander Hamilton." Sure, the concept of rapping historical figures can take some adjusting to, but where vocals are concerned, rapping isn't that much different from recitative (between arias) in opera, chant, or any other type of rhythmic speaking ("Ya Got Trouble" from The Music Man). It's the decidedly non-period R&B/21st century pop-flavored music and modern vernacular (with explicit language) in the distant setting that takes some suspension of disbelief. Once that happens, and the listener is confronted with the device quickly and impressively, it's smooth sailing. The rhythm and word plays are at such high levels -- lyrics are often delivered rapid-fire with interruptions occurring seamlessly in rhyme and in tempo -- it's hard not to be won over pretty much from the start, especially with lyrics like the sung political advice, "Talk less, smile more/Don't let them know what you're against or for" and meticulous, smile-inducing rap rhymes ("skill with the quill," etc.). Hamilton's verbosity is a running joke in the show, which comes to an apex in the "Cabinet Battles," exercises in rhetorical grandiloquence executed via a rap smackdown between Hamilton (Miranda) and, among others, Thomas Jefferson (Daveed Diggs). Another standout is the tender pop ballad "Wait for It" by Leslie Odom, Jr. as Aaron Burr, and the cast. If there's a significant knock on the show, it's that there's so much information communicated in the songs -- facts, reading of documents, summaries of events -- it would certainly be tedious if not accompanied by an unusually entertaining presentation, and some will decide that it still is. However, given the musical's fairly radical rendering and the limited access to the show -- any Broadway show -- this recording seems a vital one, and time will tell if the musical is a watershed in big-budget musical theater.

Product Details

Release Date: 10/16/2015
Label: Atlantic
UPC: 0075678668432
catalogNumber: 551093
Rank: 2

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Lin-Manuel Miranda   Primary Artist,Vocals
Robin Macatangay   Banjo,Guitar
?uestlove   Percussion
Richard Hammond   Bass,Keyboards
Alex Lacamoire   Conductor,Keyboards
Jonathan Dinklage   Concert Master
Anja Wood   Cello
James Harcourt   Vocals
Jonathan Groff   Vocals
Renée Elise Goldsberry   Vocals
Laura Sherman   Harp
Christopher Jackson   Vocals
Randy Cohen   Synthesizer
Seth Stewart   Vocals
Neil Haskell   Vocals
Erin Benim   Violin
Leslie Odom   Vocals
Betsy Struxness   Vocals
Thayne Jasperson   Vocals
Ephraim Sykes   Vocals
Ariana Debose   Vocals
Sasha Hutchings   Vocals
Philippa Soo   Vocals
Jon Rua   Vocals
Kurt Crowley   Keyboards
Alysha Deslorieux   Vocals
Okieriete Onaodowan   Vocals
Daveed Diggs   Vocals
Stephanie Klemons   Vocals
Mario Gotoh   Violin,Viola
Andres Forero   Drums
Benny Reiner   Percussion,Keyboards
Anthony Ramos   Vocals
Carleigh Bettiol   Vocals
Austin Smith   Vocals
Andrew Chappele   Vocals
Emmy Raver-Lampman   Vocals
Javier Muñoz   Vocals
Jasmine Cephas-Jones   Vocals
Morgan Marcell   Vocals
Voltaire Wade-Greene   Vocals

Technical Credits

Arthur Sullivan   Original Material
Richard Rodgers   Original Material
Notorious B.I.G.   Original Material
Duke Bootee   Original Material
Sean "Puffy" Combs   Original Material
Oscar Hammerstein   Lyricist
James Mtume   Original Material
Sylvia Robinson   Original Material
William Schwenk Gilbert   Original Material
Bill Sherman   Producer
Melvin Glover   Original Material
?uestlove   Producer,Executive Producer
Tariq Trotter   Producer,Executive Producer
Earl Simmons   Original Material
Jean Claude "Poke" Olivier   Original Material
Jason Robert Brown   Lyricist,Original Material
Roger Troutman   Original Material
Chris Martin   Original Material
Alex Lacamoire   Arranger,Producer,Orchestration,Music Direction
Kasseem Dean   Original Material
Paul Tazewell   Costume Design
Kejuan Muchita   Original Material
Nevin Steinberg   Sound Effects,Sound Design
Brig Berney   Company Manager
Lin-Manuel Miranda   Arranger,Composer,Lyricist,Producer,Executive Producer
J. Philip Bassett   Production Stage Manager
Thomas Kail   Director
Randy Cohen   drum programming
Derik Lee   Engineer
Andy Blankenbuehler   Choreographer
Oskar Eustis   Artistic Director
Khary Kimani Turner   Original Material
Clifton Nathaniel Chase   Original Material
Osten Harvey   Original Material
Will Wells   Drum Samples,Loop Editing
Sarah Tudzin   Engineer
Charles G. LaPointe   Wig Designer
David Korins   Scenic Design
Bethany Knox   Casting
Diane Vadnal   Marketing
Albert Johnson   Original Material

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