I finally got around to listening to Hamilton. Yeah, it really is all that. If you want an overview of what the show is, and why everyone is talking about it, Siderea did an excellent write up
Having listened to the music, I began a cursory read of some of the associated meta-text; news articles, interviews, and such. In so doing, I’ve come up with one insight that I haven’t seen anywhere else.
The composer and star, Lin-Manuel Miranda, reminds me of no one so much as the young Orson Welles, with one crucial difference. Like Welles, Miranda is brilliant, driven, and egotistical. However, unlike Welles, he understands that theater is not a zero-sum game.
Welles always had to be the lone genius. Though he surrounded himself with talented people, he always denigrated them, or played power games to assert his dominance. Karmically, this resulted in relatively untalented people exerting power and dominance games over Welles, greatly reducing the amount of art he was able to complete.
Miranda, by contrast, doesn’t seem to play power games at all, as far as I can tell. He understands that when everyone is working to make the best possible show, that results in the most personal gain for everyone involved.
What it was is an environment where everybody felt they could do their best. That sounds simple. But all of us have been in environments where we didn't feel like that. We felt like our best was going to threaten somebody else, or we were stifled in some way. But Hamilton was a carefully crafted environment where everyone felt like we could come in and dump all of our toys out in the center of the floor.