Kevin Cloud is a Pastor, church planter and author of the book, “God and Hamilton.” He weaves together insights from the musical itself, the lives of Alexander and Eliza Hamilton, and the story of Scripture into a tapestry that challenges people of faith to reexamine their lives.
The Playbill Collector (TPC): What do you do for work? And/or what’s your background in?
Kevin Cloud (KC): I have been a pastor and church planter for 20 years. I have a music theory degree from the University and Kansas, so I’ve always been a creative type and interested in the intersection of creativity and faith.
TPC: Did you grow up in the theater world?
KC: Not really. I grew up as a musician and I saw some musicals growing up. My family took a trip to New York one year and we saw Phantom. I also would listen to a lot of Broadway music as a kid. Phantom, Les Miserables, Jesus Christ Superstar. We would see a lot of shows in Kansas City when they came through.
TPC: What inspired you to write, “God and Hamilton?”
KC: I’ll never forget seeing Hamilton on Broadway a couple of years ago. I walked out of the theatre knowing I had just experienced an incredible work of art. But even more than that, it felt like a spiritual experience. There were so many moments in the story that dealt with deeply spiritual topics: grace, forgiveness, redemption, etc.
After seeing Hamilton on Broadway, I bought the Chernow biography of Hamilton. I was really struck by Alexander and Eliza’s faith. There were moments in the book where you really saw a deep faith in Hamilton. So after seeing what I felt like was this deeply spiritual show, and then reading about his life story, I just realized that this was a spiritual story that Hamilton was telling.
And the more I heard other people talk about this musical, I heard so many people describe seeing Hamilton as a life changing experience. One theatre critic said it felt like a “fresh wind was blowing through the theatre.” I think people have this experience, whether they realize it or not, because of the spiritual themes in the story. I wrote the book to try to help others identify these themes and allow them to transform their lives.
TPC: Is this book good for someone who hasn’t seen, “Hamilton?”
KC: Sure! I think the book gives a great historical overview of Alexander Hamilton and the American Revolution, so it is a good read for history buffs. It also gives a lot of interesting backstory to the musical which I think people will enjoy. The target is obviously Hamilton fans, but I think it would be an interesting read for anyone who wants to learn how to see God and his truth in the stories that our culture is telling.
TPC: What’s the biggest takeaway you would like to see people have from your book?
KC: I hope that it challenges people to live better. Lin-Manuel Miranda once talked about how his favorite aspect of live theater is its ability to create moments of action. Moments where a scene on stage confronts and challenges our lives. So I hope this book kind of points out those moments and inspires people to be transformed. I hope the moment that Eliza forgives Alexander challenges us to forgive others. Or that Hamilton’s battle with shame helps us to overcome our own sense of unworthiness. The moment that Eliza sings about the orphanage can challenge us to serve the people in need in our areas of influence.
TPC: Any final thoughts or things you want people to know about the book?
KC: I think that Hamilton is the greatest musical I’ve ever, and probably will ever, see. I love the story it tells and the way that it tells it. I hope the book helps other people love and appreciate this musical as much as I do, and ultimately help readers change their lives as a response to this story Hamilton tells.
To learn more about Kevin and his book, please visit: https://www.godandhamilton.com/