Trumping Hamilton: A Tale of Two Bastards

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Excerpted from a Forbes.com article by Craig Hatkoff and Irwin Kula: Last week two great American spectacles, one featuring Alexander Hamilton and the other Donald Trump, had their opening nights. Both shows made great theater, each starring quite arguably a slightly flawed, unconventional anti-hero, i.e. a character with non-traditional heroic attributes. Anti-heroes can tend to be real bastards but we kind of like them anyway. Anti-hero? Just think Walter White in “Breaking Bad.” A very lovable bastard at that.

On August 7th, the Broadway debut of “Hamilton” literally rocked the theater world. Moving from the highly prestigious off-Broadway Public Theater to the Great White Way, the red-hot “Hamilton” opened to unimaginable rave reviews. Even the New York Times couldn’t control their enthusiasm. Thoroughly inspired by Ron Chernow’s award-winning biography Hamilton, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s tour de force has completely upended the world of theater not to mention how we begin think about history. 

“For all his superlative mental gifts, he was afflicted with a touchy ego that made him querulous and fatally combative.” 

 — Ron Chernow on Alexander Hamilton

The 2016 Republican Primary Debates also debuted on August 7th kicking off the the GOP presidential slugfest. There were many light, bantam and welter weight candidates but all eyes were on a politically untested heavy weight contender: real estate magnate, beauty pageant impresario, and spectacle-maker-in-chief Donald J. Trump. Fox News’ Megyn Kelly was cast as lead moderator. It turned out Kelly was more of a gladiator than referee going right for the jugular from the get-go. Kelly and co-moderators Chris Wallace and Brett Baier immediately turned the usually staid and boring presidential debates from a bland politicians’ bake-off into a legitimate blood sport. Whether punching below the belt or not, Kelly targeted Trump looking for a knock out which never quite happened as she and her co-assassins demonstrated their facility as equal opportunity offenders with hard hitting questions across the board to the other nine candidates. Blood was drawn but there were no fatalities. In spite of all the hoopla, including some testy Trump’s post-debate insults, alleged by some as menstrual innuendo directed at Bloody, Bloody Megyn Kelly just seemed to boost him even further in the polls. Donald Trump brings a whole new meaning to teflon…

Read the full Forbes article online on the Off White Papers blog. Originally written by Craig Hatkoff and Irwin Kula and published on August 10th, 2015, the Off White Papers are part of Forbes’ Leadership section, contemplating the deeper, disruptive angles of historically and emerging innovations from healthcare and politics to arts and culture.  

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