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Posts Tagged ‘Thomas Jefferson’

Hamilton” —  movie review
Today’s review is for the musical play-cum-film of the 2015 Broadway production “Hamilton“. The play / film was written by the starring actor:  Lin-Manuel Miranda and based on a biography by Ron Chernow titled: “Alexander Hamilton“.  For those who are not particularly “up” on their U.S. Revolutionary War period history, Hamilton is the face on the ten dollar bills in your wallet.  He was the first Treasury Secretary of the United States and one of the few non-Presidents to appear on U.S. currency.  Anyway, this is a long production (in two parts with an intermission break), so you have to be ready with a comfortable chair.
Other actors / characters include:  Leslie Odom Jr. as Aaron Burr (the man who duels and kills Hamilton); Phillipa Soo as Eliza (Shuyler) Hamilton (his wife); Christopher Jackson as George Wahington, Daveed Diggs in a dual role of Marquis de Lafayette and (more importantly) as Thomas Jefferson; Renée Elise Goldsberry as Angelica Schuyler (Hamilton’s sister-in-law); and Anthony Ramos as Philip Hamilton (Alexander’s son), who also dies in a duel.
Before I get much into my direct comments about this film, I have a few disclaimers:
1)  I don’t really LIKE plays or live performances of musicals (in general).  I haven’t been to many in my lifetime and most of what I have been to, I’ve enjoyed enough to feel the money was well spent, but I don’t recall ever thinking:  “Wow!  I wish I could watch that again tomorrow or next week“.  Now, in fairness to these productions:  I DON’T like crowds!  I can tolerate them, but I don’t like them.
2)  I knew little to nothing about Alexander Hamilton prior to watching this film / musical. I started to read a book about him and James Madison, but never made it past the first fifty pages or so.  It was enough to jump-start me into this production, but I don’t “really” know how much was fact and how much was tabloid history.
3)  I’m not real big on “interpreting” history in modern terms.  I’m not a fan of rap or hip-hop style “singing” in movies (or in general) let alone in plays relating historic events.
Having said all of that, what did I think?  Was it any good?  Was I entertained?  Did I learn anything?
First, I think Miranda is VERY talented, if not brilliant.  He has stage presence and was definitely able to carry the starring load with his singing.  To think he also wrote the music and lyrics is particularly noteworthy as I’ve always thought of music, lyrics and performance as three fairly different skill sets.  I felt, however, that most of his tunes were songs and not raps – which may be why I liked them.
Second, Leslie Odom Jr. (as Burr) practically steals the stage with every song.  The camera loved him and (IMHO) he was the best performer in the production.  Again, though, my impression was his tunes were songs and not raps.  I’m beginning to sense a theme here.
Third, Soo and Goldsberry were okay – again more singing than rap.  I was not impressed with Diggs in either of his roles or Ramos in either of his.  I do not believe Jefferson was a clownish buffoon, which was the impression I got from this production.  I found it equally interesting that Washington was portrayed with extreme dignity in the entire production.
Final recommendation:  strong to highly recommended!  I would like to see this made as a “real” movie without songs and with serious acting instead of as a musical.  If it gets remade as a musical (at some point), I would like it re-done with typical movie type sets instead of the single set stage with minor modifications.  I’m not sure why, but I found the use of the single set even more distracting than the rap / hip-hop.
This movie / production is well worth viewing as a history lesson in its own right.  To the extent it reaches a younger population with its trendier musical style, well, as someone who loves learning about history, that’s a trade-off I’d make any day.  My take-away (what I learned) was about Hamilton’s burning desire to make something of himself and to make a mark on history.  It was interesting to me that Burr was portrayed not as someone seeking to make history, but rather as someone who simply wanted to be present when history was made.  Burr passion was just to be “in the room”.  Again, without knowing more about both men, I don’t know if my impression is historically accurate.
One final note:  both of my daughters have seen the live productions and my oldest was anxious to get me to listen to the music in advance of the play / movie.  Both have also listened to the songs repeatedly – maybe not quite to the point of memorizing them, but pretty close.  I feel as if this (going back and listening to the lyrics) is something I need to spend some time doing as I don’t feel I got much from the lyrics as a first time viewer and listener.
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On This Day In:
2019 Tragedy
2018 The Beam In Your Eye Adds Up
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2017 Open Your Eyes (And Your Heart)
2016 Privilege Too…
2015 Otherwise Obscured
2014 Fundamentals
2013 Proof – ing
2012 Deluge, n.
2011 Hail, Caesar!
Why Were You Sent?

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Below you will find the U.S. House of Representatives Resolution 489 condemning #45 for his racist remarks (on Twitter and in public speech)…   The Resolution appears as 1) individual images (click on them to enlarge them in your image viewer), 2) a link to the full PDF file (click on it to read the PDF in your viewer), and, finally, 3) the text of the Resolution…
Click on the following link to read the full pdf file in your reader: BILLS-116hres489ih

116TH CONGRESS 1ST SESSION H. RES. 489

Condemning President Trump’s racist comments directed at Members of Congress.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Mr. MALINOWSKI submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on
RESOLUTION
Condemning President Trump’s racist comments directed at Members of Congress.
Whereas the Founders conceived America as a haven of refuge for people fleeing from religious and political persecution, and Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, and James Madison all emphasized that the Nation gained as it attracted new people in search of freedom and livelihood for their families;
Whereas the Declaration of Independence defined America as a covenant based on equality, the unalienable Rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and government by the consent of the people;
Whereas Benjamin Franklin said at the Constitutional convention, ‘‘When foreigners after looking about for some other Country in which they can obtain more happiness, give a preference to ours, it is a proof of attachment which ought to excite our confidence and affection’’;
Whereas President Franklin D. Roosevelt said, ‘‘Remember, remember always, that all of us, and you and I especially, are descended from immigrants and revolutionists’’;
Whereas immigration of people from all over the Earth has defined every stage of American history and propelled our social, economic, political, scientific, cultural, artistic and technological progress as a people, and all Americans, except for the descendants of Native people and enslaved African-Americans, are immigrants or descendants of immigrants;
Whereas the commitment to immigration and asylum has been not a partisan cause but a powerful national value that has infused the work of many Presidents;
Whereas American patriotism is defined not by race or ethnicity but by devotion to the Constitutional ideals of equality, liberty, inclusion, and democracy and by service to our communities and struggle for the common good;
Whereas President John F. Kennedy, whose family came to the United States from Ireland, stated in his 1958 book ‘‘A Nation of Immigrants’’ that ‘‘The contribution of immigrants can be seen in every aspect of our national life.  We see it in religion, in politics, in business, in the arts, in education, even in athletics and entertainment.  There is no part of our nation that has not been touched by our immigrant background.  Everywhere immigrants have enriched and strengthened the fabric of American life.’’;
Whereas President Ronald Reagan in his last speech as President conveyed ‘‘An observation about a country which I love’’;
Whereas as President Reagan observed, the torch of Lady Liberty symbolizes our freedom and represents our heritage, the compact with our parents, our grandparents, and our ancestors, and it is the Statue of Liberty and its values that give us our great and special place in the world;
Whereas other countries may seek to compete with us, but in one vital area, as ‘‘a beacon of freedom and opportunity that draws the people of the world, no country on Earth comes close’’;
Whereas it is the great life force of ‘‘each generation of new Americans that guarantees that America’s triumph shall continue unsurpassed’’ through the 21st century and beyond and is part of the ‘‘magical, intoxicating power of America’’;
Whereas this is ‘‘one of the most important sources of America’s greatness: we lead the world because, unique among nations, we draw our people — our strength — from every country and every corner of the world, and by doing so we continuously renew and enrich our nation’’;
Whereas ‘‘thanks to each wave of new arrivals to this land of opportunity, we’re a nation forever young, forever bursting with energy and new ideas, and always on the cutting edge’’, always leading the world to the next frontier;
Whereas this openness is vital to our future as a Nation, and ‘‘if we ever closed the door to new Americans, our leadership in the world would soon be lost’’;  and
Whereas President Donald Trump’s racist comments have legitimized fear and hatred of new Americans and people of color:  Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the House of Representatives —
1 (1) believes that immigrants and their descend-
2 ants have made America stronger, and that those
3 who take the oath of citizenship are every bit as
4 American as those whose families have lived in the
5 United States for many generations;
6 (2) is committed to keeping America open to
7 those lawfully seeking refuge and asylum from vio-
8 lence and oppression, and those who are willing to
9 work hard to live the American Dream, no matter
10 their race, ethnicity, faith, or country of origin; and
11 (3) strongly condemns President Donald
12 Trump’s racist comments that have legitimized and
13 increased fear and hatred of new Americans and
14 people of color by saying that our fellow Americans
15 who are immigrants, and those who may look to the
16 President like immigrants, should ‘‘go back’’ to
17 other countries, by referring to immigrants and asy-
18 lum seekers as ‘‘invaders,’’ and by saying that Mem-
19 bers of Congress who are immigrants (or those of
20 our colleagues who are wrongly assumed to be immi-
21 grants) do not belong in Congress or in the United
22 States of America.
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On This Day In:
2018 Young, Fun And Playing Well
2017 Earning Your Blessings
2016 A Suggestion…
Capable Of Being
2015 Looking For The Needles In The Haystacks
2014 The Definition Of A Gentleman
2013 Thar She Blows (Not)!
2012 Naturally
2011 Been Here, Done That
Remember
2010 Timeless Classics

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