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'Hamilton' musical sets America's founding history and economy to hip-hop
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The New York Times once called Alexander Hamilton "the most important founding father who never became president," in reference to the mystery of why Hamilton has seldom come under historians' microscopes. - photo by Chandra Johnson
The New York Times once called Alexander Hamilton "the most important founding father who never became president," in reference to the mystery of why Hamilton has seldom come under historians' microscopes.

But a new Broadway musical, "Hamilton," puts his life and contributions to the birth of a nation front and center to the beat of rap and hip-hop.

A recent New York Times review of the show not only said the show lived up to its sizable hype since leaping from off-Broadway last winter, but that theater lovers also should "mortgage their houses and lease their children to acquire tickets."

But as NPR reported, the show offers audiences even more than a look into a fascinating founding father's life. In addition to being reared in the Caribbean and later orphaned, Hamilton died in a duel in 1800 and was known as a lothario.

"It's the greatest opportunity in our lifetime to interest people in American history, particularly younger people," Hamilton biographer Ron Chernow told NPR.

Beneath the history, pageantry and music, the show also shines a light on Hamilton as the man who built America's economy not from economic concepts, but from understanding economic hardship.

"In the show, Hamilton sings about the hardships faced by Washington's forces at Valley Forge," NPR reported, adding that the woes at Valley Forge were worsened when soldiers couldn't buy supplies with worthless British currency. "After the revolution, Hamilton arranged for the federal government to pay the debts that the individual colonies had run up. It helped forge the strong centralized government we have today."