Hamilton : the Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter. Grand Central Publishing, 2016. 978-1478913641
This was a Christmas present to myself. I love musical theater, and I love to read about things I’m interested in, so I have always been a sucker for “behind the scenes” books about shows I’ve seen (or in this case want to see). I was expecting something similar to the books I’d read about Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables, etc. but this book truly blew me away.
First of all, it is beautiful, with a faux leather half binding and thick paper with deckled edges. Physically, it looks like something that Hamilton himself could have had on his shelf. It has heft and just feels amazing to the hands. I have a collection of Folio Society books, which are beautifully made and bound, and I would not hesitate to place this book beside them on the shelf. It’s that lovely.
Most books about Broadway productions tuck the libretto in the back, almost as an appendix, but Hamilton : the Revolution intersperses it between chapters, very much like the documentary Hamilton’s America toggled back and forth between telling the story of Hamilton the man and Hamilton the musical. The best feature of the book is Lin-Manuel Miranda’s footnotes to the libretto, explaining the inside jokes in the lyrics and some of the decision making behind the songs.
After reading this book, I have a deeper appreciation of the musical. Now I just have to save up enough money to (hopefully) get tickets when it comes to L.A. later this year …