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How Hamilton Remixes History and Show Biz

Evening Program

Tuesday, November 13, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
Code: 1M2991

Washington has Hamilton-mania! The summer run of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tony-winning musical at the Kennedy Center practically sold out its first ticket offering. The enormously popular show, with its crafty lyrics, hip-hop beats, and big, bold story, has even rejuvenated interest in the real lives and true histories that Hamilton: An American Musical puts center stage.

In a much more affordable evening, historian Richard Bell examines this musical phenomenon to reveal what its success tells us about the marriage of history and show business. He investigates what this amazing production gets right—and wrong—about Alexander Hamilton, the American Revolution, and the birth of the United States, and why it all matters. 

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. Explore Hamilton’s cultural impact and what its runaway success reveals about the stories we tell each other about who we are and about the nation we made. The program is highlighted by clips from the PBS documentary about the musical.

Bell is a professor of history at the University of Maryland, College Park.

Smithsonian Connections

Hamilton-mania hit the Smithsonian last year. Learn the story behind the American History Museum’s acquisitions of one the costumes Lin-Manuel Miranda wore in the title role and a portrait of Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton—and the philanthropic connection that links them.

Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden
Marion & Gustave Ring Auditorium
7th St & Independence Ave SW
Metro: L'Enfant Plaza