Hamilton and Gendered Narratives

This reflection was originally posted on May 3, 2016, shortly after the Tony Award nominations were revealed. 

Worth noting that although there are 16 nominations, Hamilton can only win a maximum of 13 Tonys (which gives it little room for error to break The Producers’ record of 12 from 2001).

And funny enough, the doubling up is a consequence of one of the few blind spots the play has: five male actors are nominated for Best Performance (Miranda and Odom for Leading; Diggs, Groff, and Jackson for Featured), while only two female actors are nominated pretty much by definition (Soo for Leading and Goldsberry for Featured).

This is not to say that the book is somehow terrible to women; as the historical record allows, I think it has done as much as it can to portray the female characters as Real People, which in this context is a clearly conscious choice and is better than a lot of things today. But I think it is worth considering Eliza’s somewhat-odd 180 regarding her historical awareness between Acts I and II in the context of how things like this get written. All your faves are problematic, even if it’s just a little. #yesallfaves

Note that The Producers won 12 in 15 noms  for a sweep, as there were two nominees for lead actor and three nominees for featured actor. The category that landed Hamilton one nomination more than The Producers? Leading Actress, where The Producers had nobody nominated. Makes sense when you think about it, but also reinforces the point.

In the meantime, let us not forget that the most nominated new play this year (6 nominations, as there are fewer categories on that side) has a cast of eight people, all Black women, and outside of sound design has zero white men on its creative team. Some of this may be an appeal to the segment of the population that took significant offense at the Oscars nominee slate, but consider that that appeal is even considered a sound business decision at this point in time. A most minor sign of progress, but progress.

The work continues.

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