Les Miranda Research Paper

480 Words2 Pages
In 1675, Isaac Newton stated "if I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants." This sentiment is not solely confined to scientific disciplines, but extends throughout nearly every aspect of life. Progress cannot be obtained without innovation, and musical theater is no exception. Lin-Manuel Miranda’s work, especially that of Hamilton, would be nowhere as successful as it is without the influence of artists before him. It is apparent the work of Claude-Michel Schönberg, most notably Les Miserables, did much to shape Hamilton into the hit musical it is today. Miranda himself claims that his work has been heavily influenced by Schönberg—Les Miserables was the first broadway show he had ever seen. The themes, structure, and compositions can all be tied back to Schönberg’s piece developed in the 1980s. These two plays are revolutionary in both their content and their stylistic elements. While the songs of Hamilton are mostly rooted in rap and hip hop and Les Miserables is entirely classical, Schönberg’s and Miranda’s compositions bear many resemblances. Les Miserables’s “Drink With Me” directly parallels to Hamilton’s “Story of Tonight.” Both carry themes of brotherhood and comradery in the face of impending war. Even Hamilton’s villain song mirrors that of Les Miserables; so much so that Leslie Odom Jr., who in…show more content…
In Schönberg’s later musical, he implicitly berates American involvement in the Vietnam war. Drawing on Schönberg, Miranda makes political statements by purposefully glorifying immigrants and by attacking the institution slavery. He makes another statement by not restricting his casting to the races of the actual historical figures portrayed in the musical. Instead figures such as George Washington and Aaron Burr are played by African American actors. While neither Schönberg nor Miranda are political figures, they both make political statements through their
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