Thursday, December 8, 2016

"Hamilton" bootleg sparks controversy among students

Early in the morning of December 5, a bootleg copy of "Hamilton: An American Musical" was uploaded to YouTube. The recording features the original Broadway cast in a high resolution film. It was broken into two parts because of its length; both parts were removed from the website within a few hours.

While there is no question as to the legality of the post (no word on what happened to the YouTuber who posted the videos), some Washburn students have dared to question the morality of it.

A student managed to download the bootleg before it was removed, and has offered to share it with his friends. While many of his peers are excited at the prospect of seeing the Tony Award winning show, it has a sparked a controversy. Most of the students of great respect for Lin-Manuel Miranda, the playwright of "Hamilton," so they are hesitant to do anything that could offend or financially hurt one of their living idols.

On the one hand, the students have been taught to respect artistic license and integrity above all else as many of them are theatre or art students. They understand how difficlut it is to make a living in the arts, and how much of himself Miranda put into the show.

On the other hand, they realistically know that they will likely never have the chance to attend a live show, unless it comes on tour near Topeka. As theatre students, who would love to see the live show, and who do appreciate the difficulty of writing and producing a show at the caliber of "Hamilton," they are not trying to hurt Miranda or any of the other artists involved with the production by watching the bootlegs. They accept that this may be their only opportunity to see the musical, so in fact, the bootleg is actually an educational opportunity.

The students continue to debate the morality of the choice in front of them.

"Hamilton" opened in New York in 2015. It is sold out for over a year. There is a production currently running in Chicago, with two more productions scheduled in San Francisco and Los Angeles. There are also plans to open a production at the Victoria Palace Theatre in Londom's Weat End next year.


  1. Good to know, is the theatre department planning on doing this production of Hamilton?

    1. hahaha it'll be years before the rights for the show are available. Maybe someday though.

  2. Great story about the morals of pirating. I can understand the temptation of getting to see something you'll likely never see (at least in that form). But I would also like to see those artists getting every penny they deserve.

    1. Yeah. We're still debating it. As of right now, I don't think anybody has watched it.