One of the most talked about upcoming Broadway musicals is getting even more star power; Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson and band co-founder Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter will executive produce the cast recording of Hamilton.
Do those names sound familiar? They should, as they’re two members of the Grammy winning hip-hop/neo soul band The Roots, who also serve as house band of NBC’s Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. According to the show’s writer Lin-Manuel Miranda, the record will be released in September.
The hip-hop musical debuted off-Broadway at The Public Theater, in January, and explores the life of Alexander Hamilton, one of this country’s founding fathers.
“From bastard orphan to Washington’s right hand man, rebel to war hero, loving husband caught in the country’s first sex scandal to Treasury head who made an untrusting world believe in the American economy, Hamilton is an exploration of a political mastermind. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Eliza Hamilton, and lifelong Hamilton friend and foe, Aaron Burr, all attend this revolutionary tale of America’s fiery past told through the sounds of the ever-changing nation we’ve become.”
More aptly, The New Yorker, explains the show this way; it is “Rooted in hip-hop, but also encompassing R&B, jazz, pop, Tin Pan Alley, and the choral strains of contemporary Broadway, the show is an achievement of historical and cultural reimagining.”
In an interview with the New York Times, Stephen Sondheim said that hip-hop musical such as Hamilton is doing well is because “Lin-Manuel’s use of rap is that he’s got one foot in the past. He knows theatre. He respects and understands the value of good rhyming, without which the lines tend to flatten out. Jokes don’t land the way they should. Even emotional lines don’t land the way they should.”
Hamilton will begin previews on July 13 at the Richard Rodgers Theatre, with opening night on August 6.