When tickets for the London production of Hamilton went on sale earlier this year, I was one of those people who sat nervously at my computer, ready to book. The fact I was part of about ten WhatsApp groups with friends discussing their various ticket successes and disappointments added to the nervous excitement.
Now, I've been an avid musical theatre fan my whole life and secured tickets at 4am from a hostel dorm room in Nashville, TN to see Sondheim: in Conversation back home in London, cried when I thought Dear Evan Hansen had sold out on the one free night I had in NYC earlier this year (thank God it hadn't!), and queued for nine hours to sing just eight bars in an open audition for a Hobbit in the Lord of the Rings musical, but never have I known tickets or buzz for a show to be as highly anticipated as Hamilton. It's almost farcical! But it makes me very happy that it has so many people talking about musical theatre.
My Master's thesis was all about art versus commerce in musical theatre, so I can talk 'til the cows come home about marketing ploys, hype, and the blurred line around where the art of a piece is potentially sacrificed by its profits, but Hamilton really is the musical that transcends these arguments, be they academic, artistic, or financially (im)moral.
Here is a show that is so deep-rooted in the American musical, it feels totally at home on an end-on stage, sitting in a dramaturgically perfect bubble of brilliance. It's also steeped in hip hop; its language, motifs, beats, and heritage. It nods to and references both theatre and hip hop in equal measure (perfect for super fans of either genre), is a first class lesson in American history, a socio-political comment that is so relevant to the current climate it's uncanny, and has a fresh, pop soundtrack entwined with a string quartet to keep every musical taste engaged and entranced.
And now Hamilton is using its place in the public eye to do some good. In collaboration with the Immigrants: We Get the Job Done Coalition, Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda is asking people to record themselves singing a section of a song from the show, to share it with #Ham4All, nominate others to do the same, and donate at least $10 to the Coalition and its work to provide services to immigrants, refugees, and asylees.
There's added incentive in the campaign, too; the more you donate, the more chances you have to win VIP tickets to the opening night of Hamilton in LA, with accommodation and flights paid for.
Genius marketing? TICK
Doing good for the world? TICK
Spreading the musical joy? TICK TICK TICK
So we thought we'd jump on the bandwagon here at Starling Arts and get our three choirs singing, donating and nominating! Check out our #Ham4All videos below and, if you feel moved to find out more and donate, visit prizeo.com/Hamilton