Album that changed my life: Hamilton An American Musical

Category:  The Arts
Wednesday, April 24th, 2019 at 10:34 PM
Album that changed my life: Hamilton An American Musical by Mason Kuhr
Graphic: Jalil Robinson

It was one of the first days of high school in my freshmen world history class when my teacher asked a question, the answer to which I will never forget. He walked into the classroom, dramatically slammed the door and said: “Alright class, one thing we gotta lock into: What is the meaning of ‘entertainment’?” A girl in the back raises her hand and says, “It’s something that makes you laugh and smile and stuff.” My teacher’s rebuttal (brace yourself): “OK, so let’s say I walk into this classroom with a loaded handgun and I blow your head off. And I’m laughing and smiling. Is that entertainment?”

The answer was obviously “no,” and yes, that was an extreme response to a wrong answer, but it was that day I learned in a history class what entertainment means. To paraphrase my teacher, entertainment is a means to occupy the mind and escape all worries, fears and toils of everyday life.

Personally, I have always found my escape through music and theatre, so from a very young age, Broadway musicals have been my bread and butter. For the longest time, that’s all Broadway musicals were to me, just merely entertainment. That all changed my senior year of high school when one of my acquaintances forced me to listen to the Broadway cast recording of “Hamilton: An American Musical.”

Senior year was a tumultuous time in my life. I was constantly living in a weird state of cognitive dissonance, where I was really anxious about starting my future upon entering college, yet also lacked the motivation to do anything or care about anything. I was afraid of losing my friends due to the distance, worried that I chose the wrong major or school, and I was terrified of the unknown future that lies before me in just a few short months. Then, the voice of Lin-Manuel Miranda took me on a journey through the life of Alexander Hamilton.

This story not only entertained me, but inspired me to keep moving onward and striving for a higher education. One of the major themes of this show is the importance of time and seizing opportunities, and the songs that best projected these ideals became my study anthems. Songs like

“My Shot,” “Guns and Ships,” “History Has Its Eyes On You” and “Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story” became my mantras to finish high school, making me anxious to war with college and start my life.

It was for the remaining few months of senior year and the majority of freshman year of college that I constantly had that soundtrack on a loop. I know it’s a very strange sentiment, but I’m confident in saying that if it weren’t for Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical telling of the life of America’s first secretary of the treasury, I don’t think I would’ve graduated high school. For those of you who are thinking, “I’m pretty sure I hate musicals,” or “a hip-hop musical sounds awful,” or even those of you who have never even heard of Hamilton, give the album a listen.

Mason Kuhr |

Tags: hamilton

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