Plays like this are literally the reason I hate reading plays. The synopsis on the back sounded so interesting, but within two pages I knew this was gPlays like this are literally the reason I hate reading plays. The synopsis on the back sounded so interesting, but within two pages I knew this was going to be a disappointment. "Show, Don't Tell!" came to mind so many times I could have been teaching an intro creative writing class in my own brain. The characters were flat, with essentially nothing but their accents and turn-of-the-century slang terms for various ethnic immigrants to distinguish one from the next, and the plot moved so quickly, all sense of dramatic tension was gone. Two stars for some very interesting staging options presented, but not much else....more
I am probably what you would call "casually obsessed" with Hamilton (I'd like to note I originally typo-ed that as "Jamilton" which I think is fabulouI am probably what you would call "casually obsessed" with Hamilton (I'd like to note I originally typo-ed that as "Jamilton" which I think is fabulous and not fully inaccurate.) I have a proclivity for avoiding trends that are "sweeping the nation" out of some lingering adolescent obstinancy, but I teach and direct high school theatre: there was no avoiding this one, and at a certain point, I just gave in. Yes, it is brilliant. Yes, Lin-Manuel Miranda deserves every accolade and award that's been flung his way--and likely a whole host more. Hamilton is layered and nuanced and exciting and all sorts of other wonderful descriptors. I've been listening to it non-stop (heh) and I've got large chunks of it memorized and yadda yadda yadda. So I'm definitely the target audience for this book, an annotated, picture-laden printing of the libretto of the musical that's turning the world upside down (heh heh, you can't make me stop.)
And while "An annotated, picture-laden printing of the libretto" is an objectively accurate description, subjectively it does nothing to capture how your spirit feels when you read it. The "chapters" interspersed throughout the song lyrics, which vary from ruminations on hip-hop to the trouble with designing the show's period-"appropriate" costumes, reminded me how much I love theatre. That's a really, over-simplified explanation, but it will have to do. So much of the joy of theatre, for me, is in the collaboration, is in working with many like-minded (and sometimes very opposite-minded) individuals to create something that wasn't there before. It's in watching a kid take his turn in the spotlight, but also in helping an ensemble understand their significance to a show. And it's in creating a world that you become intimately familiar with, hoping that others will come to embrace that world with half as much passion. (If I had it in front of me, I would quote the entire last paragraph of the section on tech weeks. When I read it, I audibly gasped and put the book down--I will never look at an opening night crowd in the same way.)
Sometimes you read something at the right time and it becomes everything to you. This was the longest school year of my life, and I have to start planning almost immediately for next season, but there are many gems I'll return to in the Hamil-tome to remind me why this is important work we do. (I think I just put myself on the same level as Lin-Manual Miranda. I don't really mean that, but I also kind of think, hey, he did high school theatre...he probably gets it.)...more
Oh man...I finished this more like two days after I started it, but let it linger on my Goodreads shelf for reasons unknown.
Yeah...this book was goodOh man...I finished this more like two days after I started it, but let it linger on my Goodreads shelf for reasons unknown.
Yeah...this book was good. Really good. Like, required reading good. Seriously, I will not be surprised when this book inevitably lands on college syllabi in a few years. Coates is brilliantly readable and beautifully poetic at the same time. I definitely think he's accessible enough to use excerpts with high schoolers too.
It's been too long since finishing the book to write any more eloquently about it, so yeah. Read this. ...more
It's has been an embarrassingly long time since I've read a book, and definitely longer since I've properly reviewed one, so I'll keep this simple. FoIt's has been an embarrassingly long time since I've read a book, and definitely longer since I've properly reviewed one, so I'll keep this simple. For a spring break book that will hopefully usher in the era of my own personal reading Renaissance, this one got the job done: engaging, entertaining, mostly well-written, enough "surprises" to feel worth it. I didn't like it as much as the first of Liane Moriarty's novels I'd read, but she does have that Australian Desperate Housewives vibe on lock. I'm into that. ...more