Hamilton might be coming to the UAE

The rap musical tells the story of American founding father Alexander Hamilton

In this image released by Disney Plus, from left, Daveed Diggs, Okieriete Onaodowan, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Leslie Odom Jr. and Anthony Ramos appear in a filmed version of the original Broadway production of "Hamilton." (Disney Plus via AP)
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Speculation and excitement are running high among the UAE's theatre buffs, as acclaimed musical Hamilton looks to be the next international tour to hit the country's stage.

On Friday, Proactiv Entertainment, the production company behind The Lion King musical tour in Abu Dhabi last November, posted a short teaser on Instagram with the caption: “History is happening".

The play on words, musical style and visuals caught the eyes and ears of musical theatre fans, who immediately recognised them as referring to the popular musical by Lin-Manuel Miranda.

If fans are correct, Hamilton, which is having its Asian premiere in the Philippines in September, will soon also be coming to Etihad Arena. The Yas Island venue also shared the same clip on its Instagram page.

No confirmations have been made, but Proactiv said an official announcement will be made on Tuesday.

The musical is currently on an international tour that includes runs in Manila and Auckland, with “additional cities to be announced soon,” according to its website.

Miranda, who also played the titular role in the original Broadway premiere in 2015, announced the Philippines tour himself in March.

Why is Hamilton so popular?

The musical is based on the 2004 book by Ron Chernow, Alexander Hamilton. It tells the story of the life of the titular American founding father, from his days at King's College in New York in 1776 to becoming the first US treasury secretary and his eventual death in 1804.

It also features other notable figures from American history, including Aaron Burr, Marquis de Lafayette and George Washington.

Miranda, who wrote the music, lyrics and the book for the musical, worked on the project over a seven-year period, initially as a concept album. In 2009, the American hitmaker performed the song Alexander Hamilton at a White House poetry and music event hosted by Barack and Michelle Obama.

Accompanied by Alex Lacamoire, a co-arranger of the show's score, Miranda performed the catchy tune Alexander Hamilton, which seven years later, became the opening number of the groundbreaking musical.

The Broadway premiere in 2015 was a resounding critical and commercial success, marking the beginning of its stage dominance. At the 70th Tony Awards, Hamilton received a record-breaking 16 nominations, taking home 11 trophies, including Best Musical. It also won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

Its West End production in London opened in 2017, which won seven Olivier Awards, including Best New Musical.

Much of the success of Miranda's Hamilton is in its revitalising music, which allowed mainstream show tunes to thrive on a theatrical stage.

But Hamilton's hip-hop influence is what really makes it standout. The traditional, almost exclusionary, sound of Broadway has been infused with the accessibility of rap, as well as other mainstream genres. This eclectic blend of music has allowed Miranda, who also wrote the music for Disney's Moana and Encanto, to connect several generations through the work.

Miranda's lyricism also hit the mark, being both relevant and ambitiously accurate. Given its historical source material, the musical was able to scrupulously convey its poignant message.

All this would not have been as exceptional if not for an equally salient casting. Non-white actors were cast in the show's principal roles — an intentional move that is “essential to the storytelling of Hamilton,” its producers said in a 2016 report by The Atlantic.

Reflecting current political discourse in the US on race and immigration, Alexander Hamilton's journey from an immigrant to a crucial member of the American government is central to the theme of the musical, and this is displayed in the casting and the songs throughout.

Timeless themes of love, loss and ambition are also prominent in the show, making it enjoyable even to those who are not necessarily into its political messaging.

Updated: May 07, 2023, 11:03 AM