Tuesday, December 13, 2016

"Hamilton" bootleg sparks controversy-Revision

Early morning Dec. 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 have 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 and art students. They understand how difficult it is to make a living in the arts, and how much of himself (Miranda) was put into the show.

On the other hand, the students know realistically 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 2015. It was 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 London’s West End next year.

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