“Hamilton,” Continues to move and mesmorize Broadway audiences

By Stephanie Soto

With Lin-Manuel Miranda hosting “Saturday Night Live,” he deserves a review of his record-breaking show Hamilton. 07hamilton-slide-dr5r-superjumboMiranda breathes life into a mostly forgotten Revolutionary War figure through a creative synthesis of traditional and contemporary  music and acting styles. Hooray that Hamilton has young people reading American history again. After all, Hamilton, with others, planted the foundation for contemporary U.S. society.

Nominated for 16 Tony awards, it claimed 11, one of the most award -nominated shows to date, just shy of the The Producers and Billy Elliot.   Hamilton it is a Rap/Hip Hop musical.  Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton, a founding father, is not your typical teen icon. Few young people recall his historical role nor significance.

Characters have distinct personalities, a notable feature of the musical. Actors play multiple roles, raising the talent bar even higher. Daveed Diggs delivers the fastest raps I’ve heard, with an accent no less. The ensemble wears mostly white costumes.

Women vocalists are superb.  Angelica, played by Renee Goldsberry is the more confident voice, until she meets her match in Hamilton.

Playing Hamilton, Lin Manuel Miranda is in most scenes demanding an exhaustingplaybill_from_the_original_broadway_production_of_hamilton performance. How can he rap for that many numbers and not forget a word?  Despite living 200 years ago, Miranda projects himself into the enigmatic Hamilton.

Several songs made the Billboard Top-Ten List, a great feat for musicals. A riveting score tells the story while simultaneously  projecting the viewer into the character’s stressed mind. Add in clever  wordplay, and we have a new form of Broadway art. Nuances such as movable props and sets moves the drama at the tense pace demanded. Stairs, a catwalk, and meticulous lighting provide the frosting on the cake.

Miranda’s Hamilton leaves us pondering issues of democracy equality, and economics.  See the show.  A musical with a multi-racial cast singing hip hop, while inviting us to critique our government present and past,  may not come along again soon.



“American Housewife:” Plus Size Beauty and a Big Heart

By Kayna Kemp Stout

161006-american-housewife-1American Housewife is a new sitcom with an old formula, but with a relevant commentary on body image from a plus size point of view. Mom Katie Otto, played by Katy Mixon, is a size 14 living in an upscale California community of size 2’s. She’s got three quirky kids and a seemingly supportive husband willing to indulge her crazy sounding schemes. American Housewife is a Kapital Entertainment–ABC Studios co-production set in Westport, Connecticut.

She’s the driving force of the three viewed episodes. I’ll continue to watch it on Tuesday evenings after The Middle, one of my all time faves. Similar to The Middle, the plot lines draw material from the sparring between siblings and parents engaged in the minutiae of family life. Unlike The Middle, Otto deals with her weight issues in each episode. That resonates with the 65 per cent of American women who are a plus size, but rarely represented in today’s media landscape, especially sitcoms. As with all sitcoms, success hinges on the writing. The concept is fresh and quirky enough to leave me anxious for next week’s episode.


Kudos to the high school teen daughter Taylor, middle school son Oliver, and elementary aged daughter Anna-Kat; the director coaches them to fine performances.