It’s good to put your New Year’s resolutions on paper. It’s even better to publish them somewhere, be it a social media account or a website or a personal blog of some sort, to the extent people still blog. Doing so makes the resolutions feel real and adds a layer of accountability that can help keep you on track. It’s a lot harder to blow them off if your annoying coworker Chad might saunter up to you in July and say, “So, how’s the exercise plan going?” as tomato sauce from your 11:00 a.m. meatball sub plops onto your shirt. So, that’s what I’m doing here. I’m going to lay out my 2018 resolution in the hope that telling all of you will keep me honest. Here goes…
I am going to write the first-ever hip-hop musical about Founding Father Alexander Hamilton.
Now, there’s an obvious problem with all of this. I know that and you know that. And it’s best if we address it head-on. Will anyone actually go to see a hip-hop musical about Alexander Hamilton? He’s not even one of the five most famous Founding Fathers. Wouldn’t it be better to write a hip-hop musical about, say, George Washington or Thomas Jefferson?
This is fair. But allow me to present two rebuttals. First of all, I choose to believe that today, or at some point in the very near future, once I finish writing, Broadway audiences will be ready to embrace a hip-hop musical about Alexander Hamilton. His time has finally come, right now, in January of 2018. Think about it. What do most people know about Alexander Hamilton? That he was shot by Aaron Burr in a duel, that he’s on the $10 bill, and nothing else. Well, guess what, buddy — it turns out he did a lot more than that! I know because I recently read most of his Wikipedia page. Did you know he did more than that? Probably not, because the American public — again, up until this very moment — has not cared at all about the life of Founding Father Alexander Hamilton.
The second the reason I have decided to write a hip-hop musical about Alexander Hamilton is because it is my dream and I plan to follow it, even if I’m wrong and the entire idea of a hip-hop musical about Alexander Hamilton is a non-starter. I won’t know until I try. It’s not like someone else has written a hip-hop musical about Alexander Hamilton or anything. I’m charting my own course here. It’s exciting, to be honest.
This brings us to the other potential issue, though: Will a hip-hop musical about Alexander Hamilton even work? Think about it. I’ll have to use a contemporary form of music to tell the story of a man who lived hundreds of years ago. I am basically inventing a genre. Luckily, as I’m sure you’ll be pleased to find out, I’ve already made some progress, and I think the early returns are pretty promising. For example, look at this rough draft of a battle rap between King George and Alexander Hamilton.