Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story?


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Maura Ward ‘17, Staff Writer

With the musical Hamilton, Lin-Manuel Miranda wanted the story of 18th century America to be told by the people of the modern America.  The diverse cast of Hamilton, made up of mostly of black, Latino, and Asian actors and actresses, tells the story of Alexander Hamilton, the “Ten dollar founding father without a father,” who immigrated from the West Indies to New York after a hurricane destroyed his hometown.  

Miranda, the son of Puerto Rican immigrants, is the perfect person to play Hamilton, an influential immigrant who became the first U.S. Treasury Secretary under George Washington.  The idea of one’s legacy being determined by “who lives, who dies, who tells your story” is a common theme throughout the musical, and Hamilton obsessively frets about the interpretation of his actions and the fact that “history has its eyes on [him].”  The diversity of the storytellers helps shape the legacy of the founding fathers and changes them from dusty statesmen into real people.

The story of an immigrant who was George Washington’s “right hand man” being told by people of races upon whose backs America was founded upon is very important, especially with immigration to America being such a hot-button political issue today. Although the founding fathers cannot control how their legacies are interpreted, Hamilton, a man obsessed with his historical legacy, would be proud to know that his story has been made accessible to everyone through the efforts of extremely talented actors and actresses of color.