Silhouettes of four characters in the musical HamiltonSaide Singh ’23 and Grayce Walker ’22 will lead the McKelvy Scholars’ final discussion of the semester on Sunday at 6 p.m. Email the group for the Zoom link. Background for the talk:

It is imperative that you listen (or watch if you have access to Disney+) to the soundtrack of Hamilton in order to know what we are talking about in terms of characters, storyline, and musicality. You may be able to create an opinion just by reading the articles, but a lot of the arguments on either side are about the feelings that people have about the play as a body of art. We would like the effect of the play to be just as much a part of this conversation as its economic, historical, and otherwise structural implications. It is two and a half hours long and goes by quite quickly. Following along with the lyrics on your music streaming platform, Genius, or another lyric hosting website may also be helpful.

The full album is available on Spotify, Apple Music, and YouTube.


“The Issue on the Table: Is “Hamilton” Good For History?”

“People Are Saying Hamilton Should Be Canceled—and Lin-Manuel Miranda Says the Criticism Is ‘Valid’”

“A Breakdown of the Controversy Surrounding Lin Manuel-Miranda & ‘Hamilton’ in Puerto Rico”

“Why Hamilton is Making Musical History”


  1. Did you know of Hamilton before today’s discussion? What were your initial thoughts and impressions?
  2. What was your favorite part or favorite character of the play?
  3. Why do you think Hamilton was/is so incredibly popular?
  4. Do you think Hamilton glorifies colonialism?
  5. In 2019, Hamilton was performed in Puerto Rico, with a majority of ticket sales collected for fundraising. However, Miranda’s decision to perform Hamilton (especially at the University of Puerto Rico) was met with backlash due to its highlighting of colonialism. Why do you think it was problematic for Hamilton to be performed in Puerto Rico? Can the same reasons be applied for its performance to the mainland?
  6. How does the format of Hamilton enhance a viewer’s experience of what is being told?
  7. What are the broader implications for Hamilton to have been a play and not a TV show/movie/podcast/etc.?
  8. What is the value of musical historicity in a play such as this? How does Hamilton reveal how “Black music” has historically been the “soundtrack of the nation”?

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