Those of us who don't live in New York City and therefore have little opportunity to take in a show -- much less one as heralded as "Hamilton" -- experience Broadway musicals differently than those able to see the actual productions. The lavish set design and exquisite choreography is something that we can read about in the New York Times review and appreciate intellectually, and official -- or, who are we kidding, frequently unofficial -- cast recordings usually leave a lot to be desired.
The experience of live theater is predicated on its immersive physicality, after all, so listening to a remastered live performance necessarily neglects a good portion of what's responsible for our emotional response to a performance. I'm preambling on and on here only to drive home the point that the official cast recording of "Hamilton" -- a stunningly arranged hip-hop account of the life of the man on our $10 bill -- doesn't feel at all like a typical official cast recording.
It's currently streaming via NPR's First Listen and it's absolutely worth a listen, especially if you're one of those folks who's both an American history buff and rap aficionado, as there are delightfully imbricated in-jokes designed to please both.
Listen to Act 1 of "Hamilton" here via NPR:
Listen to Act 2 of "Hamilton" here via NPR:
Watch an excerpt from the performance below via CBS News.