Presenter Information

Erika BiasFollow

Document Type

Panel Presentation

Keywords

race, theater, music, composition studies, rhetoric

Biography

Erika Bias is a TA at Marshall University, focusing on composition studies combined with popular culture. Through analyzing popular texts, she hopes to help students better engage with the world they live in. Her classes utilize everything from Hamilton: An American Musical, The Lord of the Rings, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and Doctor Who, to popular video games, music, and YA novels.

Major

English, MA

Advisor for this project

Kelli Prejean

Start Date

19-4-2019 10:45 AM

End Date

19-4-2019 12:00 PM

Abstract

In 2015, Hamilton: An American Musical was a sweeping success on Broadway—the first rap and hip-hop display of its kind. In 2019, the show's relevance remains strong. When a revolutionary (pun intended) production like Hamilton sweeps the nation, the question raised is: Why? What makes Hamilton so special? The author suggests that the reason Hamilton has been received with overwhelming positivity by everyone from Barack Obama, to Dick Cheney, to Weird Al Yankovic (Hayes & Gale 42-43) is its perfectly placed rhetorical situation. It is difficult to say whether, in another time and place, this Broadway smash hit, with its “mostly black cast [that] ‘turns the tables on the practice of using white actors to portray ethnic characters,’” would have succeeded—or if it could have been created at all (Yankovic qtd. in Hayes & Gale 42). The exigence of Hamilton created the kairos of the production. Put simply, America was ready for Hamilton.

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Apr 19th, 10:45 AM Apr 19th, 12:00 PM

The Timeliness of Hamilton: An American Musical

In 2015, Hamilton: An American Musical was a sweeping success on Broadway—the first rap and hip-hop display of its kind. In 2019, the show's relevance remains strong. When a revolutionary (pun intended) production like Hamilton sweeps the nation, the question raised is: Why? What makes Hamilton so special? The author suggests that the reason Hamilton has been received with overwhelming positivity by everyone from Barack Obama, to Dick Cheney, to Weird Al Yankovic (Hayes & Gale 42-43) is its perfectly placed rhetorical situation. It is difficult to say whether, in another time and place, this Broadway smash hit, with its “mostly black cast [that] ‘turns the tables on the practice of using white actors to portray ethnic characters,’” would have succeeded—or if it could have been created at all (Yankovic qtd. in Hayes & Gale 42). The exigence of Hamilton created the kairos of the production. Put simply, America was ready for Hamilton.