Broadway's buzzy 'Hamilton' music to the ears of founding father's fans

Fri Jul 31, 2015 8:27am EDT
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By Jill Serjeant

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Broadway hip-hop musical "Hamilton" is the hottest ticket in town this summer, and George Cox is, in a word, ecstatic.

Cox, founder of Seattle-based Alexander Hamilton Scholars, is one of thousands of Americans who have toiled for years to promote the much-neglected legacy of one of the founding fathers of the United States.

Now, Latino performer and composer Lin-Manuel Miranda is making headlines and winning awards with a show that is hailed as transforming both theater and the way Americans think about 18th century history.

"I consider Mr. Miranda a national treasure at this point," said Cox, whose nonprofit inspired by Hamilton's life and values has been offering scholarships, mentoring and internships for about 40 high-achieving, low income students each year since 2004.

"I am ecstatic about what (Miranda) has done. Do I understand hip-hop? No! It's not for my generation. The point is young people do," the 72-year-old financial adviser said.

"Hamilton" opens officially on Broadway on Aug. 6 after three weeks of previews and a run at New York's downtown Public Theater earlier this year.

It is a musical biography of the orphan raised in the Caribbean who rose to become the right-hand man of General George Washington, as well as a key figure in the creation of the U.S. financial system and the creator of the U.S. Coast Guard. He was killed in an 1804 duel with then Vice-President Aaron Burr.

The musical uses rap, jazz and ballads, color-blind casting (Miranda plays the ambitious Hamilton and Washington is played by African-American actor Christopher Jackson), won a slew of off-Broadway awards, and is sold out for months.   Continued...

A statue of Alexander Hamilton stands in New York's Central Park July 28, 2015.  REUTERS/Mike Segar