Written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton is the musical that always seems to be stuck in our heads. If you are living under a rock, and don’t know what it is about, the hip-hop musical, sung through rap, tells the story of the life of Alexander Hamilton, the first Treasury Secretary of the United States of America. When, explaining it to people, they might have their doubts, but most likely, people will see what the hype is about when they give it a listen, just you wait.
Note: Spoilers are ahead. Proceed at your own risk. (However, it is American History, and possibly over 200 years old).
The first act (first half) covers the Revolutionary War, and when Hamilton meets his future wife, Elizabeth Schuyler, and when they have their first child together. The second act (second half) focuses on Hamilton’s relationship with George Washington, Aaron Burr, and Thomas Jefferson. This half includes more of his job as a lawyer, as well as his relationship with Maria Reynolds and James Reynolds. The second act also covers the Hamilton’s son, Philip’s death, along with Hamilton’s heart-breaking death itself.
Now, let’s get down to specifics. The first song (Alexander Hamilton) which was originally performed at the White House in 2009, covers an outline of the whole musical with Hamilton’s dramatic yet simple entrance. This is a unique sort of way to prepare viewers (or listeners) for what is coming, with lines that introduce each character in themselves, written below.
We fought with him
Me, I died for him
Me, I trusted him
Me, I loved him
And me, I’m the **** fool that shot him
– Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton
The last song in particular (Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story) is sort of an Epilogue, where you find out what happens to each character after Hamilton dies. In addition to monumental songs from important events in history, there are also more songs with room for creativity, that cover specific events in Hamilton’s life with detail. Some of these include but are not limited to: That Would Be Enough, Take a Break, Farmer Refuted and Dear Theodosia.
Now for a little bit more on Lin-Manuel Miranda himself. While he was a softmore in high school in 1999, he wrote the first draft of his first musical, In The Heights, which is about a young orphan named Usnavi growing up in Washington Heights. The original Broadway cast includes overlap with Hamilton, including Miranda as the lead and Christopher Jackson as another character. One of the female leads, Mandy Gonzalez also plays Angelica Schuyler in one of the new Hamilton casts. We shall not dwell to much on that.
Miranda got a call from the White House to perform at a poetry gamp way back in 2009. He performed a version of the first song from Hamilton, Alexander Hamilton. He got the idea for the show when on vacation from In The Heights, he picked up a biography of Hamilton for the plane ride, even writing some of one song (Wait For It) on the subway on the way to his friend’s birthday party. Now, 8 years and 46 songs (plus a bunch of cut ones and different versions) you have the hottest ticket on Broadway. There is also one other song, Laurens’ Interlude, also known as Tomorrow They’ll Be More of Us, that is cut from the cast album and only in the live show, and also some other moments that are show exclusive (that’s all we will say). Even though Miranda left playing Alexander in the show, the fanbase is still large and growing, with national and coming international tours. More recently, Miranda has written songs for Disney’s Moana and is in an upcoming film of what is rumored to be a Sequel to Mary Poppins, filming in London.
Finally, if this hasn’t convinced you enough to listen to the soundtrack if you haven’t already, here are few final reasons. You might actually become interested and end up reading the large, 800 page book on which the musical was based which is also amazing. Also, whenever your history teacher says anything partially relevant, you might find yourself looking over to your other obsessed friend in the room with a smile. All in all, while many people have their different opinons, and this is just one, it would be an amazing idea to listen to Hamilton for the 100th or the first time. For a record 16 Tony Nominations, in 2015, at least give Hamilton a try, and you will most definitely not throw away your shot!