Reception and Musicals


Sherman Edwards and Peter Stone- 1776

1776 is a Broadway musical that depicts the roles of the Founding Fathers in the ratification of the Declaration of Independence. In its prime, 1776 was so popular that it was performed by the Broadway cast with the United States marine band and eventually was adapted as a movie. While it did not cause political turmoil at the time, the predominantly caucasian cast is a major difference between 1776 and its successor. Much like Hamilton glorifies Alexander Hamilton, 1776 portrays John Adams as the hero. This shows that as the political views and collective memory of a nation shift, the way history is portrayed changes as well. [1]

Lin-Manuel Miranda- Hamilton

In addition to being another Broadway musical about one of America’s Founding Fathers, Hamilton portrays a more modern view of American independence.  This musical is performed at the world renowned Richard Rogers theatre in New York City. The audience reception for this musical has been astounding; Hamilton has become a cultural phenomenon. While the audiences generally seem to adore Hamilton,the show has not been exempt from criticism. Critics claim that the Broadway musical glorifies Alexander Hamilton in excess and give him a level of recognition that he may not entirely deserve. Comparable to the riots that stemmed from The Plough and the Stars, Hamilton has also become politicized. At one of their performances, the cast of the Broadway phenomenon made a speech to the Vice President-elect of the United States. This affected not only the collective memory of history, but it also brought the imagined future of our nation as depicted in Hamilton. [2]

Much like The Plough and the Stars presented an altered version of Cathleen ni Houlihan, Hamilton changed the macro narrative that 1776 presented. 1776 featured a cast that was predominantly white, which depicted a version of history in which the history of the United States is synonymous with the history of the caucasion population of the nation. Hamilton, unlike its predecessor, features a multi-ethnic cast. This revised version of history presents the macro narrative that the United States is a country that is composed of citizens from many backgrounds. [1]

[1] Dave Itzkoff, “Stage Revolutions, Four Decades Apart,” The New York Times, March 29, 2016.

[2] Jennifer Schuessler, “‘Hamilton’ and History: Are They in Sync?” The New York Times,  April 10, 2016.


Reception and Political Melodramas

Reception and the Literary Revival


Memory and Musicals

Identity and Musicals

Hamilton and Cathleen Ni Houlihan?: Irish and American Dramatic Representations of Colonial Rebellion