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Hamilton: An American Musical

Hello all! Well, lately I’ve been VERY inactive, and my fanfictions have sort of fallen by the wayside. I have a lot going on right now – I’m reading who knows how many books, writing a lot, plus doing college research, regular schoolwork, social life, and fangirl stuff.

But speaking of fangirl stuff, I have a new fandom. Well no, it’s not *exactly* new, because I joined in July, but the obsession didn’t really take hold until I think about September, and now I’ve decided to do a post about it. As you can probably guess from the title, my new fandom is:

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I loveeee this Broadway musical SO much! Pretty much everything I say lately is a Hamilton quote. I’m fairly sure everyone reading this has heard of it, but just in case you haven’t:

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Oh, and naturally this entire post contains spoilers.

Basically, this is a musical about the life of founding father Alexander Hamilton, the first treasurer of the United States and George Washington’s aide-de-camp during the Revolutionary War. However, this is different than most Broadway musicals, in that many of the songs are rap. There are over 20,000 words in Hamilton, crammed into just two and a half hours, and that is an amazing feat, in case you weren’t aware. That’s 144 words per minute. Phantom of the Opera is only about 7,000 words (although, admittedly, Phantom is about an hour shorter.) The show starts when Hamilton is 19 and wraps up with his death in a duel, at the age of 49. In between all of that we have other founding fathers trashing or supporting Hamilton, a fabulous frenchman saving the day, a not-so-secret affair, Revolutionary War stuff, King George being a clingy ex, bromance, romance, hatred, ponytails, and crying. Lots and lots of crying.

Basically, Hamilton arrives in America in the first song, and by song eight, he’s established himself as Washington’s right-hand-man. The first act revolves around the war, as well as laying some of the groundwork for act two, when all hell and tear ducts break loose. That’s because, while act one was all friendship and saving America and all that, act two involves Alexander cheating on his wife, and getting slapped around by two of the other founding fathers, and ultimately being shot in a duel against his long-time political rival and previous friend, Aaron Burr. Over the course of 46 songs, “Hamilton” becomes simultaneously the best thing you ever listen to and the worst. So naturally I’m doing a post series on it.

Over the course of the next two weeks or so, I’ll try to get five+ posts out there about my love for Hamilton – the songs, the characters, the relationships, etc. etc. etc. For day one, and that’s today, we’ll start with the characters!

Naturally, we open with the title character:

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Introducing Alexander Hamilton, the character I relate the most to, the reason why you’re here, and the lead in the show. Portraying him here is Lin Manuel-Miranda, who wrote the music, the lyrics, the book about the show, and then played Alexander to top it all off. Alexander loves to write, but he does have a tendency to overshare. He is married to Elizabeth Schuyler, who he loves a lot (though not enough to keep from cheating on her, as we shall hear later on.) He’s George Washington’s right-hand-man, doing all of the jobs Washington is to busy to do. Alexander is great at making adorable bromantic friendships, but sadly he’s also great at making enemies, and that lands him in sticky situations rather often. Still, he’s very lovable, a terrific writer, and ultimately pitiable. Oh, and he gets shot at the end of the musical. Get tissues, trust me.

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This is Aaron Burr, and by now you are probably very confused if you aren’t familiar with Hamilton. Neither of the actors I have shown you is white, even though both Burr and Hamilton were. The great thing about the show is that it is “America then told by America now” as the book says. In fact, there’s only one white actor in the main original cast. But anyway, back to Burr.

Burr is a bit of a wannabe. At the beginning of the show, he and Alexander are friends, but as time passes, they begin to disagree. From the start, they didn’t always see eye-to-eye, but as Hamilton becomes more powerful, he seems to always be in the way of Burr’s goals (like being President). What do you do when something is in your way? You get it out of the way. So Burr challenges Alexander to a duel and shoots him for a number of reasons too numerous to mention here. But oh boy does he regret it.

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Now this cutie pie is John Laurens. Depending on who you ask, John is either Alexander’s best friend or his boyfriend. They’re a very popular ship in the fandom, and even those of us (like me) who don’t ship them as a couple ship them as friends. John’s an abolitionist – he hates slavery the way most people hate Twilight. Maybe more. He’s a bit hotheaded at times, but at heart he’s a sweetheart and you can’t help but adore him from the bottom of your soul. Naturally, he’s killed in a gunfight at the age of 27, since all of the best people die young. Alexander’s never the same after that. His death song isn’t in the album, but you can find it on YouTube. You’ll cry. I cried. But then again, I suppose I cry at everything…

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This is Lafayette, better known (by me anyway) as Laffy Taffy, and he is too good for this world. I am almost positive you have heard of Lafayette before, and I am also positive you will love him, because it’s pretty much impossible not to. Lafayette is one of Alexander’s closest friends. They’re both immigrants, and they both have a common goal: free America. He’s one of those people that has literally unlimited energy – for example, he does the fastest rap in the show (19 words in three minutes) while jumping off a table about seven feet into the air. Since Alexander is the type who can function on two hours of sleep and three pots of coffee, he and Lafayette probably pull all-nighters and drive the rest of the camp crazy.

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I give you HERCULES MULLIGAN, whose name is always said the way I just wrote it. He is brash, he is loud, and he is amazing. Hercules is a tailor who spies on the British. He’s outspoken and obnoxious and really, really sweet when you get to know him. He makes up the fourth part of our epic bromance group which already consists of Alexander, John, and Lafayette. Hercules is the oldest – he’s sort of the dad friend of the group. Well, maybe more of the mom friend, since he’s got the sewing thing going on. We love you, Herc.

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Meet Angelica Schuyler, (in pink), the strongest woman in the show and the sister to Alexander’s wife, who we shall meet next. Angelica is the oldest in a prestigious family, and so it’s obvious that she must marry well. She meets Alexander at a ball, and falls in love with him almost immediately – however, once she finds out he is poor and of no social standing, she introduces him to her younger sister, Eliza. Why? Because Angelica loves Eliza more than anything in the world, and she wants her to be happy. We see this throughout the show as Angelica continues to watch over her sister and stick up for her.

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This beauty is Elizabeth Schuyler, Alexander’s wife. Gosh she is pretty. Makes me feel bad about myself… but anyway! As I said above, Eliza meets Alexander thanks to Angelica. He’d already caught her eye at that point, and they are instantly attracted to each other – they get engaged only three weeks after they meet! Eliza loves Alexander, and she brings him hope and reassurance even when things seem dark. Essentially, she is a ray of sunshine and a perfect cinnamon roll to good for this world. However, Alexander is her superior in brains – he’s more matched with Angelica in that aspect – and eventually he cheats on her with a girl we’ll meet later. Later he realizes his mistake and begs her forgiveness, and then Eliza, in all her wonderful goodness, gives it. After his death, she works for 50 years to keep his legacy alive.

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Last of the Schuyler sisters is Peggy, the youngest. (At least the youngest in the show. In reality there were two younger than her, but they hadn’t been born yet.) Peggy is often overlooked, since she’s just really there to keep her sisters happy. She’s a little bit naive, but she confides in Alexander and provides a lot of fun for everyone around her.

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Make way for King George III, the fabulous and sassy. He’s actually a very minor role, but you’d never know it from the way he fills up your eardrums. King George sings three songs, two of which are breakup ballads to America. He acts like a clingy ex. To him, the war is a game and America is a girlfriend who doesn’t realize that he’s as good as it gets. Because, let’s be real, he is. Even if he does go crazy.

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Give it up for the pride of Mt. Vernon, George Washington! The general, the first President of the U.S. (the one who keeps everyone under control…), Washington is cool and collected even when Alexander and the squad are jumping around and shooting people in the spur or the moment. (Yes, that happens. Don’t question us.) Throughout the show, Washington is someone Alexander looks up to. He gives him a position as his “right-hand man”, and then, after the war, a position as the Secretary of the Treasury. Washington can see the greatness in people even when they can’t, and he sees that Alexander can do amazing things for America.

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Give it up for Thomas Jefferson and his fabulous fuschia coat. He’s played by the same actor as Lafayette – many of the roles are dual cast – but they could not be more different. Pretty much the only thing they have in common is France. Jefferson was the ambassador to France during the revolution, and when he gets back, he becomes the Secretary of State. This means that he works with Alexander, but since they tend to disagree on everything, they’re always fighting. They each try to convince Washington why they are right (Alexander always wins) in a series of epic rap battles. Still, for all his annoying arrogance, you just have to love Jefferson. I mean, look at that face. Too much handsome. *sweats*

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This is James Madison, played by the same actor as HERCULES MULLIGAN. Where Hercules was brash and outspoken, Madison is quiet. He’s mostly there to back Jefferson up. The two are very good friends, but Jefferson is obviously in charge of this relationship. Madison’s not in perfect health, so he’s seen here coughing – he always has a handkerchief with him. Maybe he works behind the scenes, but he still works (even if he is working for Jefferson.) Don’t underrate him, he gets enough of that. Madison is my favorite character in act 2. He just cracks me up.

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Here is Philip Hamilton, Alexander’s eldest son. Philip is a sweetie who would never hurt a soul, but when he hears someone saying bad things about his father, he gets angry and challenges that guy to a duel. He’s a good person, so he plans to throw away his shot at the end and spare his opponent, but the man has other plans. He shoots. Philip dies. And we all cry our eyes out.

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Meet Maria Reynolds. Words cannot express how bad I feel for this girl. Essentially, she has a terrible husband who is cruel and abusive, and, not really knowing any better, she seduces Alexander so that her husband can make money off of him. Only trouble is, Maria actually really likes Alexander. And she’s desperate for someone to love her. So, Alexander has an affair with her, and when it seems like he will move on, she pleads with him to stay with her. And he does. So while I love Eliza and while I will always be angry with Alexander for betraying her, I can’t help but pity Maria. Oh, and she is maybe the best female singer I’ve ever heard in my life, on top of that.

 

 

So that wraps up the characters. I should be back soon to give you my top ten favorite songs. In the meantime, if you haven’t listened to Hamilton, get to it!