Lin Manuel Miranda’s March Hamildrop, a collaboration with Ben Platt/Dear Evan Hansen, was released with perfect timing this morning. It comes just before the March For Our Lives this weekend, and a portion of the proceeds from the song “Found/Tonight” will support the march. And in the light of national crises we have born witness, we’ve been needing this sort of art to carry the fight forward. Like they say in the mash up, “The morning is breaking, and all is new.” The collaboration is sheer brilliance, and hopefully its reach will be tenfold.
We are living at a time where history is happening around us daily.
This is an era that will be studied by my future children, that will reign as one of the most turbulent periods in American history, that is a horrifying wake-up call we have been given the task of standing up to. I can’t say it enough how much I wish this weren’t where we found ourselves; but at the same time, it is empowering to live in such revolutionary times. It’s inspiring to have witnessed the stirrings of another American revolution, exposing the deep cracks in our foundations and using status, creative work, and simply voice to put an end to the terror.
Because it is a terror, how blinded this country has been to its problems.
This collaboration features “You Will Be Found” from Dear Evan Hansen and “The Story of Tonight” from Hamilton, with a sprinkling of lines from other songs in each show. Ben Platt and Lin Manuel Miranda begin with verses from one another’s shows, the first line coming from Platt, who sings, “We may not yet have reached our glory, but we will gladly join the fight.” Miranda chimes in with, “Have you ever felt like nobody was there? Have you ever felt forgotten in the middle of nowhere?” The two then weave in and out of the two show’s narratives that so perfectly blend in message and relevance.
There is this fantastic juxtaposition that rises out of the songs, between two sorts of empowerment: out of remaining engaged and passionate for your beliefs and values, and out of leaning on others for support, knowing that there are always going to be others out there to lift you up and keep your fight alive. In reoccurring line in the mash up, Platt and Miranda sing, “And when our children tell their story, they’ll tell the story of tonight.” It encourages these voices to be heard, especially now, when a group led by high school students are directly facing government and NRA officials.
Anyone, anyone, ANYONE, can change the world.
Art is the greatest mirror of the human condition. It is the best expression of pain, of happiness, of all the emotions in between and those that have no name but that, through art, are described and given new life. Hamilton and Dear Evan Hansen have found extreme popularity on Broadway, and in pop culture for younger generations. They both arrived to the scene at a time when the country and, specifically, the generations of tomorrow, needed them most.
And together, they are a thunderstorm of power: Hamilton, where “The Story of Tonight” is sung by young revolutionaries when the New World was just a dream; and Dear Evan Hansen, whose “You Will Be Found” speaks to the high school, pubescent period of life and reminds us that, no matter how alone we may feel, we aren’t. These shows were physically written in the same era, but their stories span centuries; still, they share in the necessity of continuing forward. Unlike after mass shootings before Parkland, the issue of gun violence will not be ignored like this time.
“Found/Tonight” is the musical version of keeping that torch alive, for all who have been affected. Like they sing, “It’s only a matter of time.”