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‘History’ and ‘Historical Musicals’: How factual is the history?

Ariel Higgins, Staff Writer

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As of late, society has been going crazy over Hamilton: An American Musical, which tells the life of Alexander Hamilton, “A ten dollar founding father without a father.” But historical musicals have happened before this masterpiece, Assassins the Musical. This musical signifies the history of assassinations or attempted assassinations of U.S. presidents but from the point of view of the assassins.

Since these are both historical musicals, you would think that all of the scenes that happen in the musical happened in reality. Actually, each musical has its own inaccuracies. Granted we must give them leeway, they have to make the show interesting so people will watch it.

Sometimes authors change plots, characters, or sequences then what happen. Others add love conflicts, scenes, and characters than what exist in history.  For example, Lin-Manuel Miranda made a love triangle between Alexander Hamilton, Eliza Schuyler, and Angelica Schuyler, where Angelica was single. But in history, Angelica was married when she met Alexander.  Another example is in Assassins where they added characters like the Balladeer who acts as the angel on the shoulder, Proprietor who acts the devil on the shoulder, and Sara Jane Moore’s son.

But the questions that we are answering is how much is the musical truly inaccurate? How much is fact and how much is fiction? So let’s ask an expert about these historical topics, such as our local history teachers at Saint Joseph High School.

“The general premise, the general setting the general tone seemed pretty accurate to me,” said Mr. Gandalf Church about Assassins,  “It’s an interesting concept, to kinda categorize and kinda look at the different assassins through time of presidents.”

During a scene of Assassins, Lee Harvey Oswald is seen talking to Booth. Booth is explaining Oswald life. That Oswald’s wife left him bringing the kids with her and that he was planning suicide, have a tearful funeral but Booth convinced him otherwise. Granted Booth didn’t truly visit Oswald but was what Booth was saying about Oswald’s life right?

Oswald’s plan original was to kill the president and got to Cuba, go to the Soviet Union. He married a Russian bride  to learn how to speak Russian, said Mr. Lyle Hayden, We try to establish a moral reasoning behind someone doing something moronic, stupid, or idiotic.

Despite some of the inaccuracy, these two history teachers will be joining the audience at Twin City Players and checking out Assassins but warning the language in this musical is not for the faint hearted.

Hamilton:an American Musical. This phenomena has taken the world by storm, sweeping the nation. This musical is so popular and questioned that the creator of Hamilton himself made a video of all the inaccuracy in Hamilton. But what is a history teacher’s point of view on Hamilton?

“I really appreciate the energy that it has brought to that moment in history. Very important moment, it’s kinda of a presidential moment of what set our ship in motion so to speak,” said Mr.Church.

These musicals, Hamilton and Assassins, may not be as accurate as a two to three hour lecture from a history professor but probably are a lot more fun and interactive.

“It’s cool when history gets woven into lots of different art forms,” Mr. Church said.

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‘History’ and ‘Historical Musicals’: How factual is the history?