Blast from the Past: Hamilton Broadway Lines and their Historical Sources

In his script for Hamilton, Lin-Manuel Miranda merges the American Founding with the tenor of modern America, such that history is both relived and reimagined.  The characters in Hamilton recite excerpts from historical documents such as Washington’s Farewell Address and Hamilton’s History of the United States for the Year 1796, In Which the Charge of Speculation against Alexander Hamilton, Late Secretary of the Treasury, is Fully Refuted (aka The Reynolds Pamphlet).  Miranda also weaves in fragments of real quotes from Hamilton and his contemporaries, effortlessly fitting them into the fabric of the whole production.

Below are a few lines that jumped out at me along with excerpts of the historic primary source documents that contain either the exact phrase or are very similar.  (Note that this short list is by no means exhaustive and is entirely based on my memory from seeing the show in previews- if you think of others, add them into the comments section!)

Image from hamiltonbroadway.com

“I wish there was a war.” (Hamilton to Burr)

“…my ambition is vigilant, so I continue the groveling condition of a clerk, or the like to which my fortune condemns me, and would willingly risk my life, though not my character, to exalt my station. …  I shall conclude by saying I wish there was a war.” – Letter from Hamilton to his friend Edward “Ned” Stevens dated November 11, 1769 (reprinted in Reminisces of James A. Hamilton, available here through Google Books).

At the time of this letter, Hamilton was still in St. Croix working as a clerk.  Hamilton realized that in order to rise up and advance his station in life, something dramatic would need to happen and he expressed his willingness to take any risks that would not endanger his honor.

“I’m just saying, If you really loved me, you would share him!” (Angelica to Eliza)

“…by my Amiable you know that I mean your Husband, for I love him very much and if you were as generous as the old Romans, you would lend him to me for a little while, but do not be jealous, my dear Eliza, since I am more solicitous to promote his laudable ambition, than any person in the world…” – Letter from Angelica Church to Elizabeth Hamilton, July 30, 1794 (Reprinted in the Intimate Life of Alexander Hamilton by Allan Mclane Hamilton, available on Google Books)

“Best of wives and best of women.” (Hamilton to Eliza before the duel)

“Fly to the bosom of your God and be comforted.  With my last idea; I shall cherish the sweet hope of meeting you in a better world.

Adieu best of wives and best of Women.  Embrace all my darling Children for me.

Ever yours.    AH”  – Letter from Alexander Hamilton to Eliza Hamilton written July 4, 1804

Hamilton gave this letter to Nathaniel Pendleton, his second in the duel, as part of his efforts to put his affairs in order prior to his interview with Aaron Burr at Weehawken on July 11, 1804.   (Reprinted in the Papers of Alexander Hamilton, available here via Google Books).  Interestingly, Hamilton and Burr had dinner together with a group of fellow former Revolutionary War officers just days before the duel.

Hamil-Swag: Hamilton Public Fan Art (Updated)

(Apologies for the incomplete post this morning!)

Since the official opening of the Hamilton musical to rave reviews last week, the internet has been providing us with some gems of Hamilton fan art, memes, and gifs inspired by the show.  Here are some of my favorites from what I’ve seen so far!  If you’ve seen (or made) others that I should add to this list, hit me up in the comments section or on Twitter @itshamiltime!

Twitter user @drpeccidesign shared some awesome images, juxtaposing lyrics from the show with images of Hamilton.  These two were my favorite.

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Last week, Publius-Esquire published this sketch of Thomas Jefferson (Daveed Diggs) and Alexander Hamilton (Lin-Manuel Miranda) from the show.  (They both look too smiley here to be mid-rap battle!)

Sketch from Publius Esquire: http://publius-esquire.tumblr.com/post/111122186915/sketched-thomas-jefferson-daveed-diggs-and

She also did this one of Aaron Burr (Leslie Odom Jr.) and Alexander Hamilton (Lin-Manuel Miranda) back-to-back with duel pistols.  (This makes me wish that I had some artistic ability!)

From Publius-Esquire http://publius-esquire.tumblr.com/post/109950243610/wanted-to-draw-lin-manuel-miranda-and-leslie-odom

On February 18, Twitter user  published this image, juxtaposing lyrics from the show against an unfocused backdrop of Hamilton’s face.

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Of course, a short Hamilton montage is now available from the Public Theater with some highlights from the show!

Tickets to Hamilton on Broadway go on sale March 8th via Ticketmaster!

Second Impressions: Hamilton at the Public

After seeing Hamilton for a second time on Friday, January 23, 2015, a few additional aspects of the show stood out to me:

  • The choreography: Watching the show for a second time allowed me to take in more of the exuberant, dynamic choreography.  The amount of movement on stage and the use of all aspects of the set made the Newman Theater seem large enough to set the stage for the American Revolution and the battles over the American founding.  Quite an accomplishment for choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler, who also did the choreography for In the Heights and Bring It On.  Blankenbuehler gave a brief interview published by Dance Magazine this month that provides some additional insight into his process for developing the show’s choreography
  • The ensemble was extremely talented and their performances contributed significantly to the dynamism of the performance.  Everyone moved seamlessly, enabling the show to transition rapidly through three decades of American history.  The performers in the ensemble included: Carleigh Bettiol, Ariana Debose, Sydney James Harcourt, Sasha Hutchings, Thayne Jasperson, Jon Rua, Seth Stewart, Betsy Struxness, and Ephraim Sykes.
  • Burr as the narrator- Odom’s Burr was a complex, morally ambiguous, and undeniably charismatic narrator.  The show furthered his role as narrator by inserting him into various events in Hamilton’s life, Forrest Gump style (i.e. the Laurens-Lee duel, Hamilton’s wedding, the Reynolds Affair).  Odom did an incredible job of humanizing Burr and expressing his inner conflicts.
  • Angelica Hamilton- Renee Elise Goldsberry (who also played the recurring role of ASA Geneva Pine on the CBS show Good Wife) brought her great voice and stage presence to several songs.  The deep friendship and affection between Hamilton and his sister-in-law has long been a subject of historical speculation, and although the show took some liberties with history to bolster artistic effect (Angelica Schuyler eloped with John Church in 1777, three years before Alexander Hamilton met both sisters), I thought Angelica’s character worked very well and I enjoyed Goldsberry’s moving performance Friday night.
  • I thoroughly enjoyed the score and all of the songs and am already excited for the album.  Some of my absolute favorites (without giving anything away) were:
    • “Alexander Hamilton”- way to start off with a bang.  Loved this opening.
    • “You’ll Be Back”- Brian d’Arcy James had insane chemistry with the crowd as the hilarious yet manically sinister King George
    • “In the Room Where it Happens”- Leslie Odom Jr.’s rendition of the song during the second act was incredibly catchy and also made for some great character development.  This is one I’ll be humming all the way back to Los Angeles.
    • “The Reynolds Pamphlet”- Daveed Diggs’ cocky exuberance made this song.
    • “It’s Quiet Uptown”- incredibly moving. #allofthefeels
    • “Finale”- Phillipa Soo owned this. #welloftears

Another Extension for Hamilton at the Public!

Congratulations to Hamilton at the Public Theater for extending its run to April 5.  The musical starts next Tuesday, January 20!  I will be attending the performances on January 21 and 23!  Lin-Manuel Miranda did a brief preview of one of the songs in the musical at the Museum of American Finance Gala on January 13, 2015, and it was excellent!  Can’t wait to see the show next week.

Hamilton

Final Cast of Hamilton at the Public Theater!

Broadway World reported last week that the full cast of Hamilton has now been announced.  Hamilton will be playing at the Public Theater from January 20-March 22.  Below is a brief look at the cast.  The actors come from a variety of different backgrounds, including Broadway, television, and film.

Lin-Manuel Miranda as Alexander Hamilton

Leslie Odom Jr. as Aaron Burr

Phillipa Soo as Eliza Hamilton

Daveed Diggs as Thomas Jefferson and the Marquis de Lafayette

Christopher Jackson as George Washington

Brian d’Arcy James as King George

Renee Elise Goldsberry as Angelica Schuyler

Anthony Ramos as John Laurens and Philip Hamilton

Jasmine Cephas Jones as Maria Reynolds and Peggy Schuyler

Okierete Onadowan as Hercules Mulligan and James Madison

The Public Theater’s description of the show states:

From the creative team behind the Tony Award-winning In The Heights comes a wildly inventive new musical about the scrappy young immigrant who forever changed America: Alexander Hamilton. Tony and Grammy Award winner Lin-Manuel Miranda wields his pen and takes the stage as the unlikely founding father determined to make his mark on a new nation as hungry and ambitious as he is.

From bastard orphan to Washington’s right hand man, rebel to war hero, loving husband caught in the country’s first sex scandal to Treasury head who made an untrusting world believe in the American economy, HAMILTON is an exploration of a political mastermind. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Eliza Hamilton, and lifelong Hamilton friend and foe, Aaron Burr, all attend this revolutionary tale of America’s fiery past told through the sounds of the ever-changing nation we’ve become.

Tony Award nominee Thomas Kail directs this new musical about taking your shot, speaking your mind, and turning the world upside down. HAMILTON is produced with the support of Jeffrey Seller, Sander Jacobs, and Jill Furman.

The New York Times noted that “the musical has been developed with support from commercial producers; if all goes well at the nonprofit Public, it is likely to transfer to Broadway during the 2015-16 theater season.”

Hamilton at the Public Theater: Additional Casting Underway

Broadway World reported today that “auditions are currently underway to fill several key roles” in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s forthcoming Hamilton play at the Public Theater.  The show is scheduled to run from January 20-February 22, 2015.  Tickets for the show went on sale to Public Theater members last week and tickets to the general public will go on sale July 29.  (I am going to the January 21 and January 23 performances!).  Interestingly, the casting call lists an extension closing date of May 10, 2015, suggesting that perhaps the theater is anticipating a longer run for the show.

Backstage reprinted the casting call, which seeks actors for the parts of Aaron Burr, George Washington, and a few other characters:

HAMILTON
Dir: Thomas Kail
Music/Lyrics: Lin-Manuel Miranda
Music Spvsr: Alex Lacamoire
Choreo: Andy Blankenbuehler
Casting: Telsey + Company/Bethany Knox
1st reh: 11/24/14. Runs: 1/20 – 2/22/15
Extension Closing: 5/10/15
Hamilton

GENERAL NOTE: Looking for people of all ages and all ethnicities for these roles. This storyline spans 25 years+, so age is not literal – like Aaliyah said, it’s nothin’ but a number.

SEEKING:

AARON BURR: tenor/baritone, sings and raps in equal measure. Our narrator. A cool, steely reserve. An orphan raised in wealth, plays his cards and opinions close to the vest. Slow to anger, but when he gets there, look out. Javert meets Mos Def.

GEORGE WASHINGTON: tenor/baritone, sings and raps in equal measure. Authoritative, regal, aloof, aware of his place in history at all times. John Legend meets Mufasa.

HERCULES MULLIGAN/JAMES MADISON (dual role): Tenor/baritone, MUST be able to sing and rap well.
MULLIGAN is the life of the party, dripping with swagger, streetwise and hilarious. Joins the revolution to get out of being a tailor’s apprentice, and befriends Laurens, Hamilton and Lafayette. Busta Rhymes meets Donald O’Connor. MADISON is incisively intelligent, quiet, professorial. A former Hamilton ally, he becomes Jefferson’s detail man concerning all matters—he gets things done. RZA meets Zach from Chorus Line.

KING GEORGE: tenor, British accent. The King of England. Entitled, pouty nihilist. Sees the American Colonies as a deluded former lover, who will come crawling back. Rufus Wainwright meets King Herod in JCS.

PEGGY SCHUYLER/MARIA REYNOLDS (dual role.): Mezzo-soprano. PEGGY SCHUYLER: sweet, shy, youngest of the three Schuyler Sisters. The Michelle Williams of Destiny’s Child. MARIA REYNOLDS: sultry, young, calculating. Affects the role of a damsel in distress to seduce Hamilton. Jasmine Sullivan meets Carla from Nine.

All other roles have been CAST.

Buzz Building for Miranda’s “Hamilton!”

Following its workshop debut last month, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton is receiving major budge in advance of its debut in New York’s Public Theater this winter.

Deadline reports:

With producers hollering huzzahs after the last week’s final workshop presentations of Lin-Manual Miranda‘s Hamilton, the race for next year’s Tony best musical is underway three weeks before this year’s CBS Tonycast. “This was the best workshop of any musical I’ve ever attended,” one mega producer  – who’s not producing the show — told me after seeing Friday’s final outing of the monthlong development and buzz-inciting gig. The Broadway-bound musical formerly known as The Hamilton Mixtape, by the prodigiously talented  Miranda (best known for the four-Tony winning 2008 In The Heights) — will kick off next January at the nonprofit Public Theater. But with enhancement funds from three top Broadway producers — Jeffrey Seller (Rent), Roy Furman (current Tony nominees After Midnight and Mothers and Sons, among many others) and Sander Jacobs (In The Heights) — you can count on a fast Broadway transfer.

Very exciting stuff!  Can’t wait for Hamilton’s debut at the Public Theater (January 20-February 22, 2015)!

The Public Theater’s description states:

From the groundbreaking team behind the Tony Award-winning musical In The Heights comes a wildly inventive new show about the life, death and rhymes of a scrappy young immigrant who forever changed America: Alexander Hamilton. Tony and Grammy Award winner Lin-Manuel Miranda takes the stage as the unlikely founding father determined to make his mark on the new nation as hungry and ambitious as he is. From bastard orphan to Washington’s right hand man, rebel to war hero, a loving husband caught in the country’s first sex scandal, the Treasury head who made an untrusting world believe in the American economy, HAMILTON is an astonishing musical exploration of a political mastermind who was both sinner and saint. George Washington, Eliza Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson and Hamilton’s lifelong friend/foil Aaron Burr all make their mark in this uproarious, heart-filled new musical. Tony Award nominee Thomas Kail directs Lin-Manuel Miranda‘s breathtaking array of music in this bold new show about taking your shot, speaking your mind and turning the world upside down. HAMILTON is produced with the support of Jeffrey Seller, Sander Jacobs, and Jill Furman.