To no one’s surprise, the musical Hamilton dominated the Tony awards show tonight, winning a near record 11 Tonys (after racking up a record breaking 16 nominations).

But beyond the electric charge and grace not only exhibited by Hamilton, but by all the showcased musicals tonight as well as James Corden’s happy hosting, the most poignant moments for me were the many deeply moving gestures to the horrible events in Orlando this morning, beginning with a sincere preamble by Corden, and including Lin-Manuel Miranda’s heartbreaking sonnet to love in the face of violence as well as Frank Langella’s deeply felt eloquence during their respective acceptance speeches.

Congratulations to all involved in tonight’s celebration of a pretty spectacular season on Broadway.  And in honor of Hamilton, I will repost my response to Hamilton on Notes from a Composer the day after I attended it last August:

H A M I L T ON – Friday, August 21, 8pm, Rear Mezzanine, A 109


I cried twice during the second act

Tears steaming down my face, shoulders quaking


First, when tragedy strikes Alexander and Eliza Hamilton

Their marriage already strained by scandal, estranged

And now the death by duel of their eldest son


Other hands might have reached for the power ballad

A full throttle howl of vocal calisthenics

But not here, hear:

The accompaniment tentative and soothing

The grieving parents barely able to sing

It is to others, family and friends to describe their pain

In melodic lines of deceptive and poignant simplicity

And repeated sung statements of the word




The mourning parents are described

taking long silent walks together

And finally Eliza’s hand quietly reaches over

And takes hold of Alexander’s while they walk

And the ensemble sings the word



And then again at the end

Hamilton has been killed

Shot by Burr in that infamous duel

His last song not a song

But spoken words, no music

The only time there is speech without music


But what brought on the tears for me came after:

“Who lives, who dies, who tells your story”

Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Burr,

the Founding Fathers

Keep intoning

“Who lives, who dies, who tells your story”


And it is then Eliza who steps forward

Eliza Hamilton

Who tells her story

Who astounds me by saying

She will live another fifty years

Telling us of all she will still accomplish

This Founding Mother


This is not only the story of famous men and their famous deeds

It is also the story of women


And lastly Eliza tells us of the orphanage she founded

Soon after Hamilton’s death

The very first Orphanage in America

In honor of her husband

Who was an orphan


In an evening of embarrassing riches

Of so much to discover and take away

Those were the two gleaming moments

That wracked me


Yes, Hamilton is all they say it is 

And it is also so much more

So much is rightfully said about


Rap and hip hop idioms

Electrifying history

Joyously claimed by a diverse cast of today


Yet let’s also speak more of the music

The propulsive, hooky melodies

Charging, swooping, insinuating,

Performed with such expert precision and musicality

(must I really wait until September 25

when the album is released

to dive deeper into this score?!)


And the ceaseless movement,

The richly textured choreography

In stretchy sexy remolded period costumes

On a multiply revolving world of motion


The melding of the traditional and the young

The old tales speaking to today and vice versa


And the audience feeling it acutely

Reacting especially loudly to every reference

To immigrants, to politics

That reflects obviously back to today


And even that

Only scratches surfaces

I could go on

About many more moments

Illuminating, elevating

About the brilliant cast

Delighting and astounding

About a work of art

The gift of creation


So God Bless You, Lin-Manuel Miranda

But then again

God has blessed you



So instead, simply

Thank you, Lin-Manuel Miranda

And everyone on and off stage

At the Richard Rodgers

Who is part of this


Hamilton 2

About dannyashkenasi

I'm a composer with over 40 years experience creating music theater. I'm also an actor, writer, director, producer, teacher and general enthusiast for the arts.
This entry was posted in Live! On Stage, Melodies Linger On, Notes in the News and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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