A Play Challenging ‘Hamilton’ to Have a Reading

“Hamilton” has become an industry-changing phenomenon since its Broadway premiere in 2015. But the show has its detractors: One manifestation of this criticism will take the stage this weekend in New York.

It is a reading of a play by Ishmael Reed, “The Haunting of Lin-Manuel Miranda,” which will be held at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe on the Lower East Side and will run through Jan. 7.

The play, directed by Rome Neal, will take aim at what Mr. Reed — a prominent and prolific satirical writer who was awarded a MacArthur Grant in 1998 — believes are inaccuracies with “Hamilton.” Some academics have long said the show glosses over the role of slavery of the period and have criticized the way Alexander Hamilton is presented. Mr. Neal said in a phone interview that Mr. Reed began writing his play at the beginning of last year.

“He was talking about this subject a lot: ‘How they could put up a play about Hamilton and call him an abolitionist when he was a slave trader?’” Mr. Neal said.

The play itself is described as being about “a playwright who is misled by a historian of white history into believing that Alexander Hamilton was an abolitionist,” and his path to learning Hamilton’s true story.

The work also criticizes “Hamilton” for not including Native Americans and white indentured servants. The plot educates an actor playing Lin-Manuel Miranda, the creator of “Hamilton.” Reed, a former Pulitzer Prize nominee and a finalist for two National Book Awards, will take part in the readings playing the role of Mr. Miranda’s agent. Mr. Neal said they are trying to raise money for the play to be staged at the Nuyorican once the readings are finished.

Last week, “Hamilton” took in a record $4 million in box-office sales on Broadway. At the Kennedy Center last month, the musical received one of its prestigious honors, the first time the institution gave one for a show.

Mr. Reed’s issues with the musical track with those of academics who have criticized “Hamilton,” like Annette Gordon-Reed (no relation), a professor of history and law at Harvard, who has spoken out against the portrayal of Hamilton as an uncompromising abolitionist. (Ms. Gordon-Reed is now consulting with the creators of “Hamilton” about the historical accuracy of a traveling exhibition the show is planning.)

It’s not clear whether Mr. Miranda is aware of “The Haunting of Lin-Manuel Miranda,” and a spokesman for “Hamilton” declined to comment.

But perhaps he might invite Mr. Neal and Mr. Reed to see “Hamilton,” since neither Mr. Reed nor Mr. Neal has seen the show.

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