Hamilton: How the Musical Remixes American History with Richard Bell - Context Travel

Hamilton: How the Musical Remixes American History with Richard Bell


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Join an expert as we talk about all things Hamilton & History. We’ll discuss how this juggernaut show treats the Revolution, democracy, race and slavery, and what it tells us about how history is made and who gets to make it in America.

Even in lockdown, America has Hamilton-mania. With Disney+ streaming the show this summer, everyone’s talking about Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tony-winning musical. Its crafty lyrics, hip-hop tunes, and big, bold story have even rejuvenated interest in the real lives and true histories that Hamilton: the Musical puts center stage. 

In this seminar, which is aimed at people who know the soundtrack or who’ve seen the show, University of Maryland historian Dr. Richard Bell explores this musical phenomenon to reveal what its success tells us about the marriage of history and show-business. We’ll learn what this amazing musical gets right and gets wrong about Alexander Hamilton, the American Revolution, and the birth of the United States and about why all that matters. We will examine some of the choices Hamilton’s creators made to simplify, dramatize, and humanize the complicated events and stories on which the show is based. We will also talk about Hamilton’s cultural impact: what does its runaway success reveal about the stories we tell each other about who we are and about the nation we made?

Photo credit: Smithsonian Art Inventory Catalog, IAP 08930129

Richard Bell is Professor of History at the University of Maryland and author of the new book Stolen: Five Free Boys Kidnapped into Slavery and their Astonishing Odyssey Home which is shortlisted for the George Washington Prize and the Harriet Tubman Prize. He has held major research fellowships at Yale, Cambridge, and the Library of Congress and is the recipient of the National Endowment of the Humanities Public Scholar award. He serves as a Trustee of the Maryland Center for History and Culture, as an elected member of the Colonial Society of Massachusetts, and as a fellow of the Royal Historical Society.

This conversation is suitable for all ages.

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

Customer Reviews

Based on 43 reviews
91%
(39)
7%
(3)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
2%
(1)
R
R.P.
A new lens for viewing Hamilton the man and the play

Richard's presentation is engaging, even to somewhat with much less familiarity with the musical than most of the other attendees, and whose review, from a substantive standpoint, would undoubtedly be more informative.

B
B.A.f.M.
A Celebration of a truly great Musical along with fair and interesting criticism.

I thoroughly enjoyed this lecture. Richard opens the talk fittingly with what is truly a celebration of the musical, Lin Manuel, the clever lyrics, the great cast. Then in the 2nd half he gently transitions into historical analysis and constructive criticism. It was a wonderful presentation, the slides were very well crafted and the discussion with the group was civil and provocative. I really enjoyed this. I wished I had listened to the sound track (again) in the days leading up to the lecture, that would have been even better for me, but either way it is an excellent experience. Not quite live theater, but pretty close for quarantine!

A
A.
Great experience!

Educational and fun presentation and wonderful host!

J
J.
Historical and entertainment value of Hamilton

A remarkably informative and entertaining review of the musical Hamilton .Having seen the play and read the book ,I was pleased to see how well Dr Bell addressed its historical accuracy and where the play took historical license.His excellent audiovisuals and engaging demeanor made for a superb lecture

L
L.T.
Hamilton

Richard was a very engaging speaker and his presentation was lively and information along with great visuals

Customer Reviews

Based on 43 reviews
91%
(39)
7%
(3)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
2%
(1)
R
R.P.
A new lens for viewing Hamilton the man and the play

Richard's presentation is engaging, even to somewhat with much less familiarity with the musical than most of the other attendees, and whose review, from a substantive standpoint, would undoubtedly be more informative.

B
B.A.f.M.
A Celebration of a truly great Musical along with fair and interesting criticism.

I thoroughly enjoyed this lecture. Richard opens the talk fittingly with what is truly a celebration of the musical, Lin Manuel, the clever lyrics, the great cast. Then in the 2nd half he gently transitions into historical analysis and constructive criticism. It was a wonderful presentation, the slides were very well crafted and the discussion with the group was civil and provocative. I really enjoyed this. I wished I had listened to the sound track (again) in the days leading up to the lecture, that would have been even better for me, but either way it is an excellent experience. Not quite live theater, but pretty close for quarantine!

A
A.
Great experience!

Educational and fun presentation and wonderful host!

J
J.
Historical and entertainment value of Hamilton

A remarkably informative and entertaining review of the musical Hamilton .Having seen the play and read the book ,I was pleased to see how well Dr Bell addressed its historical accuracy and where the play took historical license.His excellent audiovisuals and engaging demeanor made for a superb lecture

L
L.T.
Hamilton

Richard was a very engaging speaker and his presentation was lively and information along with great visuals