March 9, 2015

March 9, 2015

His Name is Alexander Hamilton

CBS Sunday Morning (your favorite weekend morning newscast and mine) did a lovely piece on Lin-Manuel Miranda and Hamilton yesterday. The full 9ish-minute video is here, but the salient points are thus:

- Lin-Manuel Miranda, creator of hip-hop musical In the Heights, has a new musical about Alexander Hamilton.
- It’s currently running at the Public Theatre but moving to Broadway this summer.
- In LMM’s words, Hamilton is “The story of America then, told by America now.”

I’ve been looking forward to this musical since fall 2013, and bought tickets as soon as they were available to plebes like me last year. I saw Hamilton at a matinee last month and I still can’t get over it. It’s just that good. A taste—the first song, performed at the White House some years ago and materially unchanged since then:


Hamilton, to be frank, lived a hell of a life. The salient points are thus, copied from his Wikipedia page:

- Born out of wedlock and raised in the West Indies, local wealthy men helped Hamilton get a college education after he was orphaned as a child.
- He became the senior aide to General Washington, the American forces' commander-in-chief.
- He founded the Bank of New York
- He helped achieve ratification by writing 51 of the 85 installments of the The Federalist Papers.
- Hamilton's opposition to Adams' re-election helped cause his defeat in the 1800 election.
- Taking offense at some of Hamilton's comments, Burr challenged him to a duel in 1804 and mortally wounded Hamilton, who died the next day.
- Hamilton became involved in an affair with Maria Reynolds over a nine-month period that would be revealed to the public several years afterward.
- The main administration building of the Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut, is named Hamilton Hall to commemorate Hamilton's creation of the United States Revenue Cutter Service, one of the predecessor services of the United States Coast Guard.

ALL ONE DUDE, people. All one dude. And the musical contrasts him with Aaron Burr (played absolutely brilliantly by Leslie Odom, Jr.), who was less committal if no less brilliant. Is it better to burn out or fade out? Maybe neither?

I’m already trying to figure out how to get back to NYC to see the show on Broadway. Tickets are pricey, but 100% worth it. Chicago is very definitely in danger of losing My Favorite Musical status, and I don’t say that lightly.

0 Fish in a Sea of Diet Coke: