Amid $10 dispute, Obama attends play on Hamilton

19 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘Hamilton’ cast ‘thrilled’ after Obama and his girls see it.

Barack Obama and his daughters caught a Saturday matinee of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s hip-hop musical Hamilton, the celebrated show about the nation’s first treasury secretary, Alexander Hamilton, and the Founding Fathers.The president attended “Hamilton” at Broadway’s Richard Rodgers Theatre with daughters Malia and Sasha, clapping, smiling and looking like the tourist in chief throughout the award-winning show. “Mr.It was only a matter of time before President Obama caught a showing of “Hamilton,” the hip-hop musical about one of the nation’s Founding Fathers. President!” audience members called out, cellphone cameras flashing, as he and his entourage were ushered by flashlight to their aisle seats near the stage.

Granted, the president saw an early version of it six years ago: The show’s creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda, performed a song from “The Hamilton Mixtape” back on May 12, 2009, at the White House Evening of Poetry, Music and the Spoken Word. The trio were joined by Obama’s sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng and her husband Konrad Ng, and a few dozen secret service agents, as they took a short jaunt through the bucolic Sheep Meadow section of Central Park Saturday morning. Composer and librettist Lin-Manuel Miranda’s show, which is still in previews, is a hip-hop-infused retelling of the life and death of Hamilton, America’s founding banker in chief — who also happened to found The New York Post in 1801. Obama, wearing a gray dress shirt and dark slacks, was seen chatting with a group of starstruck young children and shook hands with a shocked hot dog vendor.

How does a bastard, orphan, son of a whore/And a Scotsman, dropped in the middle of a forgotten spot/in the Caribbean by Providence, impoverished, in squalor/Grow up to be a hero and a scholar? Debnath, who lives in Elmhurst, Queens with his wife and 2-year-old daughter, said he was shocked and nearly tongue-tied when Obama stopped to greet him, “because I’m, I don’t know, I’m ordinary.” Originally from Bangladesh, Debnathmoved to America in 2009 and became a U.S. citizen in 2014. The Obamas have been big boosters of Broadway, seeing such shows as Memphis, Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, Sister Act, The Trip to Bountiful, Motown the Musical and Kinky Boots. Miranda had performed the show’s opening number, “Alexander Hamilton,” for the president and first lady six years ago, at the first White House Poetry Jam.

Obama left with a wave to his fellow theater-goers, and without taking reporters’ questions — including whether he will now veto the Treasury Department’s decision to remove Hamilton’s likeness from the $10 bill. But this is my chance to meet the President.” The Central Park stroll was a long time coming for the Columbia grad who joked at a fundraiser in 2012 that he would have to don a disguise in order to enjoy the 843-acre green space. “I just desperately want to take a walk through Central Park again, and just remember what that feels like,” the President said at the time. “But the problem is, obviously, it’s hard to do now. The musical focuses on the orphan, immigrant roots of “the $10 Founding Father without a father,” his vices and ambition, and his almost Greek tragedy of a death at the hands of Aaron Burr. Director Thomas Kail said the musical in many ways had its origins in Obama’s election and the commander-in-chief’s presence Saturday “put a charge in the atmosphere. The hip hop-infused musical was inspired by Ron Chernow’s book “Alexander Hamilton” and includes historical Founding Fathers George Washington, Aaron Burr and Thomas Jefferson. “I just think it’s very cool, knowing you’re sharing an experience with the president of the United States,” theatergoer Jennifer Calvert of Charlotte, N.C., said after the show.

It was palpable.” Kail’s instructions to the cast: Do the show, no more, no less. “To honor him and the show, you just do the show and let him be a father here with his two daughters,” said Kail. Comedy Central announced that Obama will make his seventh appearance on “The Daily Show” Tuesday, two weeks ahead of host Jon Stewart’s final broadcast.

His presence froze traffic in much of Times Square, with two sanitation trucks shutting down all vehicles on 46th Street between Broadway and Eighth Avenue. Former vice president Dick Cheney and his wife, Lynne, caught it in March, prompting Miranda to tweet a reference to him and Aaron Burr, who killed Hamilton in a duel and figures prominently in the musical.

Many cast members gathered onstage after the theater was empty, sharing high-fives and beaming. “Hamilton” was a sold-out sensation earlier this year when it debuted off-Broadway, with people paying well over 10 times the $120 ticket price and a crush of fans seeking lottery tickets. Jonathan Groff, who plays a hysterically foppish King George III, said the whole day was “completely surreal.” He rode his bike to the theater and “had butterflies in my stomach.” He, like the rest of the cast, never broke character to acknowledge their special guests. Miranda Jr., is a New York political consultant who has served as a close adviser to Fernando Ferrer, the former Bronx borough president who ran unsuccessfully for mayor. Obama started the trip Friday evening by headlining a Democratic National Committee fundraiser, after which he took his daughters and some of their friends to eat at Carbone, an Italian restaurant in Greenwich Village.

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