Peer Review by A. Penderwick (United States)

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Hamilton: The Revolution in This Century

By: Writing4Life

Several years ago, a hip-hop musical about the life of an unknown founding father seemed a bit ridiculous.
Nowadays, we shake our heads and laugh at our naivety. Because, in January of 2015, Hamilton took the world by storm.
Not long after Hamilton took to the stage, the word began spreading. People in countries half way across the world grew to know the name Hamilton. Tickets became an allusive, Golden Ticket almost prize to be revered and hoarded all over the state (and further!). Superfans were "ready to beg, steal, borrow or barter" for one of those golden tickets. But is there a reason for all the hype? Why is it that Hamilton is Broadway's No.1 hit? 
Is it the fact that the musical mixes so many genres, such as R&B, pop, hip-hop and soul into one cohesive sound? 
Is is that the cast is so diverse, with many African-Americans playing white characters, and numerous women in the ensemble?
Just the simple fact that this musical is so wildly different from your normal, run of the mill Broadway musical?
And the answer is, yes. It's all of those things. Hamilton has a broad mix of genres, with even the cast saying that it uses pretty much every genre out there! Yet, with so many different genres, Hamilton is a perfect blend of all the music. Just like its cast, there is no exclusivity within its genres.

And what about the cast? Alexander Hamilton lived in the 18th century, and sadly, slavery was a prevalent problem in those times. I'm sure it comes to no surprise to you that none of the people in this story were originally black. Still, the creator of this musical, Lin-Manuel Miranda, decided he didn't want to hold to that. Instead of having a completely white cast, the cast of Hamilton was so diverse that it immediately stood out. Lin-Manuel Miranda, Anthony Ramos and Christopher Jackson represent the Puerto Rican community (Alexander Hamilton, John Laurens/Philip Schuyler, George Washington), and Leslie Odom Jr, Renee Elise Goldsberry and Daveed Diggs - along with many others - are African American (Aaron Burr, Angelica Schuyler and Marquis De Lafayette/Thomas Jefferson). The ensemble is a wide mix as well, with African-Americans and quite a few women. In those times, women did not hold any power, and Hamilton shows the true colours of women; loud, proud and powerful. 

Hamilton is a global phenomenon, and none can disagree. It is so wildly different from any other musical that you'll ever see. Another thing that makes it unique? In the entire, 3 hour play, not a single word of dialogue is included. No dialogue seems like a crazy idea for a play, but Miranda makes it work. 46 songs comprise the entire musical, with a range of singing and rap. (fun fact: they speak - on average - 144 words per minute, giving you 20,520 words in the entire musical! I think that's worth your money!) 

It took Miranda about 6 years to complete Hamilton from start to finish. One of the first appearances of the musical was in 2009, when Miranda performed "Alexander Hamilton" to the Obamas at the White House. (you heard that right! The Obamas were fans first!) After that, it was a constant struggle of editing, writing and late nights to finally produce the end product: Hamilton the musical. 

Hamilton debuted at the Public Theatre in 2015, and was met with rave reviews from critics. Then, in the same year, it was transferred to the Richard Rogers Theatre, and was officially on Broadway. August 6th was the opening date, with tickets flying off the shelves, and a full house. (and many full houses after that first one!)

Hamilton is the story of one of America's founding fathers (albeit an unknown one), Alexander Hamilton, who did many amazing things to get America to where it is now. He fought in the American Revolutionary war, helped to draft the Constitution and was the first secretary of the treasury. (not state!) He played a key role in founding America's financial system. The musical follows his - any many others - lives, including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. The musical takes a deep dive into the emotions, scandals and unheard moments behind the founding of America. We get a better look at some unknown characters in history, such as Alexander's wife, Eliza Hamilton, her sister, Angelica Schuyler (and Peggy!) and Alexander's comrades, John Laurens, Marquis De Lafayette and Hercules Mulligan. We get a deeper understanding of some controversial characters, such as Aaron Burr, the man who killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel. In just 3 hours, Hamilton can completely change your mindset on many things. After watching it, I personally feel a fire for the BLM movement and feminism ignite in me. And it's not just me that feels that. Hamilton has sparked revolutions all throughout the world. Quotes from Hamilton, such as "History has its eyes on you", "Tomorrow there'll be more of us" and even "Immigrants. We get the job done" are appearing at BLM rallies and protests. 

So is this diverse, unique, raved about musical really worth seeing? The answer is, yes. Hamilton will change you, and change you for the better. The lyrics are clever and well thought out, the set and costumes are detailed, the actors, singers and dancers are extraordinarily talented, and in my mind, there will never be a musical quite like Hamilton. 
really is the revolution in this century. 

Word count: 916.

Message to Readers

First draft!
Would really love feedback :)

Peer Review

While I love the aspect you take with this; commenting on how strange the phenomenon seemed at first, I think you could emphasize it a little more. Maybe you could describe the show without explicitly mentioning what it is, and then bring in the idea of how it seems ridiculous, but is actually genius. This is just a suggestion; you can do whatever feels best to you, but I do think you can strengthen this opening a bit.

This question is hard for me to answer, because I'm already in love with this musical, but I do think it would convince many a person to check it out. Personally, I loved the bits about feminism and BLM, and I honestly think you could bring that out more. I know, aside from the musical, many of the actors have participated in social justice things, often the whole cast together using the Hamilton name(I attended an online town hall thing with ticket prices supporting the Biden campaign, so I'm thinking about things like that). I don't know how much you want to venture into that front, but it's a through.

For sure, I think it's a great mix of fact and opinion that feels like a fact, because it's very authoritative(but also has voice and character, which is fantastic). The main thing I wanted to hear more about was the cinematography. You have written an excellent review of Hamilton the musical, but you haven't added as much context about the movie. You could talk about shots, angles, color, editing, quality, and even the journey to get the movie on Disney plus, because I know it took a long time. I think you could also throw in some more statistics about it's success(the Tonys, perhaps) or add some quotes from professional reviewers, but that's less important.

This is truly such a great review. Your writing is excellent, of course, but you pitch the movie in a compelling and excellent way You provide details and background information for people who have never heard of the show, but you also include jokes that will seasoned fans grinning(I sure was). You appeal to all audiences in this review filled with information and presented with charm and respect. I learned new things from this, and I've been listening to this show for a long time.

Reviewer Comments

Like I said, this is such a great review, and these comments are only here to help you make it better. Feel free to reject any suggestions that don't fit your vision or how you want the piece, it's really all up to you. I mentioned this earlier, but my only big piece of advice is to talk about the actual quality of the movie a little more, otherwise, I think this is fantastic, and super impressive for a first draft. Almost all of my comments are really little things, you nailed this. I hope the review helps, and good luck with the comp!