June 24, 2018
Being a history person, I’ve always thought Alexander Hamilton was an interesting character. But never in a million years did I, or anybody else really, imagine hearing his tale through hip hop. And what a magical experience it turned out to be.
For those of you unfamiliar with the musical, I will give a brief overview. Hamilton opens to a summarization of Alexander Hamilton’s younger years. Born a bastard in the Caribbean with a father that abandoned him and a mother that died while he was young, life was difficult until Hamilton was able to reserve passage from the Caribbean to New York City. While in New York, Hamilton tries to get advice from Aaron Burr, in which Burr informs Hamilton that in order to succeed, he needs to be more cautious about who Hamilton shares his views with. Hamilton does not agree and aligns himself with other, more revolutionary individuals.
When the revolution begins, Hamilton wishes to be on the front lines to command a force but General George Washington believes his skill set is more suitable to be his aide-de-camp instead. In the midst of this war, at a ball to be exact, Hamilton is introduced to Eliza through her sister Angelica. Eliza falls in love instantly with Hamilton, and in no time, they are married. Back in the fray, Hamilton continues to push for command but Washington continues to deny him. Washington instead appoints Charles Lee with unfortunate results. With a battle lost, a demotion, and some wounded pride a duel was called between Lee and Hamilton’s second. Hamilton’s second won, but Washington was furious and sent Hamilton home to spend time with his wife. Upon his arrival, Eliza informed Hamilton that she is pregnant and that she would prefer him to not return to the war. Of course, Hamilton’s ambitions do not allow for this.
After the revolution ends, Hamilton is appointed Treasury Secretary. Known to be quite a ladies man, Hamilton begins an affair while working on papers to pass through Congress. The woman’s husband finds out and begins blackmailing Hamilton. This actually causes Hamilton more trouble than he was expecting because he had to release statements about the affair to prove he wasn’t embezzling government funds. When Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr are neck and neck for the presidency, Hamilton endorses Jefferson. This enrages Burr and causes him to issue a duel to Hamilton. Burr strikes Hamilton in the chest and Hamilton dies.
This show was truly incredible. The music was beautiful. and oddly fitting considering the time period. I love the non traditional casting choices for the founding fathers. Although it was funny to see a black ‘Thomas Jefferson’ be accused of being a slaver in a debate. Alexander Hamilton’s story is definitely one that deserved to be told. Lin-Manuel Miranda is such a talented individual and I can’t wait to pick up a copy of his novel Hamilton: The Revolution. If you get an opportunity to see this musical, I highly recommend you do.