My True Love… Hamilton

For those of you who don’t know, the musical genius Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote and then starred in a musical about the founding father Alexander Hamilton. Not surprisingly, it was titled Hamilton.

Your mind is blown, I know.

This musical has become important to me for a number of reasons and I’ve wanted to write a post about it for a while, so when my good friend Grace tagged me for the Hamilton-themed tag she created, I saw my opportunity to ramble about my true love.

Aside from the obvious fact that the songs are catchy and lyrically brilliant, Hamilton brings people long dead back to life again. This isn’t easy, but they did it.

And the story… where do I start? Hamilton’s story is one of ambition and friendship and hope, jealousy and rivalry and terrible mistakes. Perhaps more than anything, though, Hamilton is a story of forgiveness and redemption.

I don’t know about you, but history isn’t my strong point. It was never my favorite subject in school and even though I took American History, I clearly didn’t retain much as the name “Alexander Hamilton” meant nothing to me when I first heard it.

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I am proud to say that I could now easily reel off his story to you from start to finish, but that isn’t my point. My point is that even a non-history buff like myself can fall in love with Hamilton, and, to some degree, fall in love with history.

I mean, if Hamilton’s is such a powerful, moving story… what other stories in history did I overlook? It makes me want to start voraciously devouring history books, to be honest.

But before I am, ahem, run away with my emotions, perhaps I should answer some of Grace’s lovely questions, yes?

How did you discover Hamilton?

Through Sarah and Grace, actually! Sarah wrote a post on her old blog listing some of the writerly references that pepper this musical. I had never heard of this “Hamilton” thing before, so I was curious. Shortly thereafter, I watched this video of Stacey and Natalie from Studio C lip-syncing the song Nonstop. I fell in love. I wanted to be able to do that – to lip-sync that song as flawlessly as they did. So I proceeded to interrogate Grace about the details – a process she tolerated with admirable patience, I must say.

Who is your favorite character?

Alexander? Burr? Eliza?

I relate to all of them, for drastically different reasons.

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Like Alexander, I am ambitious in a way that most people aren’t. Perhaps ambition isn’t even the right word. More like… restlessness, dissatisfaction, hunger. Like Alexander, I find myself consumed with longing for something more, something better. This can be a good thing. As Eliza so often points out, Alexander made it incredibly far when you look at where he came from. Similarly, this restlessness makes me hardworking and determined to accomplish my dreams.

But as Hamilton so poignantly illustrates, ambition can also destroy relationships and people.

Burr, on the other hand, is an enigma to me. He is the opposite of Hamilton.

Hamilton is your stereotypical protagonist. The orphan who is alone in the world but knows what they want and are determined to do whatever it takes to get it.

I can relate to this.

Burr is… anything but stereotypical. He is also a highly motivated man, but in a different way than Hamilton – and this fascinates me. Burr coolly waits for the right moment… and then steps in and takes what he wants. And if Burr’s character was handled with anything less than superb skill, I wouldn’t have been able to relate to him at all. He’s nothing like me, after all. Fortunately, his character was handled with amazing skill.

Burr isn’t timid, he isn’t afraid – he simply realizes how much he stands to lose. So Burr made me realize something about the “hero.” Alexander has nothing to lose. So he can take risks that Burr can’t take. Burr wants to be Hamilton. He wants to be that reckless kid with nothing. But he isn’t. He was born into a prestigious family, and when his parents died “they left no instructions, just a legacy to protect.”

This made me realize something important: some of us are born into circumstances that allow for Alexander’s recklessness… and some of us aren’t. And that isn’t your fault. You have no control over the family that you are born into.

You gotta work with what you got.

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Perhaps Burr’s best quality is his patience. A lesson that hits home for me especially, as I am not patient. At all. I don’t sit around waiting for things to happen. To me. I get out there and chase them. There’s something so passive, so lazy about waiting that drives me crazy.

But Burr’s waiting isn’t passive. It’s active. He is lying in wait.

I can’t help but admire this.

And you know what blows my mind? This story is not the work of a talented author who thought, “Burr will balance Hamilton, Hamilton will balance Burr…” This actually happened. These people were real.

Eliza…

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Eliza is a beautiful character. She is gentle and trusting. She is good.

She loves Alexander wholeheartedly. And she possesses a certain innocence and sweetness that makes you want to protect her. Unfortunately, one cannot protect characters in musicals…

She is one of the first ones to recognize Alexander’s genius and she always tries to point him to the truth, she always pushes him to see the good – all that he does have instead of all that he wants.

Her ache to “be apart of the narrative, the story they will write one day” resonates so deeply with me. How many “side characters” are left out of the story? How many wives and mothers are standing just outside the spotlight, the silent, but true, heroes of these stories?

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Of all the characters in this story, Eliza may be the one to suffer the most. Her husband seems almost incapable of loving her as completely as she loves him. He leaves her behind. And then he breaks her heart.

But Eliza… she forgives him.

The song It’s Quiet Uptown is all about forgiveness. And it breaks my heart into about a million pieces.

It is important to me on so many levels. This song is incredibly sad but if this song was not in the play, Hamilton would be so dark and depressing that I wouldn’t be able to stand it.

Alexander admits that he what he did was wrong. He acknowledges that Eliza is the better person. He finally sees the strength and beauty that was in his wife all along.

This is important. It sends the message that Alexander’s behavior was not… acceptable. There are no excuses for what he did.

And Miranda doesn’t try to excuse him, or brush it off by saying, “Ah, what can you expect from a man like that?” as if great men cannot be expected to be held to the same standards of morality as “normal” people.

And it’s sad… because Alexander is so broken – “I spend hours in the garden… I walk alone to the store… I never liked the quiet before… the sign of the cross at the door… and I pray… that never used to happen before.” I am devastated for Alexander.

Eliza’s part of the song is equally sad. And I love that there is this closure, that Eliza does choose forgiveness. “Walking by her side, talking by her side… they’re standing in the garden, standing there side by side… he takes her hand… it’s quiet uptown… forgiveness… can you imagine? Forgiveness… can you imagine?”

Eliza is the most powerful character in this story and the reason it has the potential to be life-changing.

What’s your absolute favorite song?

If you think there is any way I’m going to answer this question with only one song, you are sadly mistaken, my friend.

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Dear Theodosia, That Would Be Enough, Wait For It, and It’s Quiet Uptown are the most emotional songs, for me.

But Nonstop, Room Where It Happens, and Guns And Ships are the most fun to sing.

What’s your dream role?

I’ve given this a lot of thought. When I watch a movie – or, in this case, listen to a musical – I immediately pick out which character I would most like to play.

Lafayette would be enormously fun and I have the hair for it. And it means being Jefferson as well who is incredibly witty.

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Alexander, obviously, has the largest role.

I love Eliza’s role and the broad emotional emotional range.

And Angelica, while I do not admire her character, has some fast rap sequences that would be fun to do.

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But, like Grace said, the ensemble gets to sing and dance in every song, not to mention cool costumes and incredibly difficult dance sequences.

What’s your favorite quote?

“I am the one thing in life I can control,” said by Aaron Burr.

So often I am tempted to justify my own laziness or bad attitude on my circumstances, but Burr is willing to accept responsibility for his own actions. Because even if we can control nothing else, we can control our own actions.

Who do you consider your “Hamilton Buddy” (someone who you can ramble, fangirl, or sing Hamilton with)?

Alas, no one appreciates Hamilton as I do. I am utterly alone in the world.

Weep with me.

Actually, I do wish I knew someone in person who would sing Hamilton with me. My little brother only barely tolerates my random explosions into song and has long since stopped encouraging them by participating.

Sarah and Grace do indulge me by flailing in comments, though. Thank you, ladies!

In the end, Hamilton is the story of a “great man.”

And while no one can deny that such great man are the ones who change the world, Hamilton shows that this “greatness” comes at a terrible price.

It is often those who are closest – spouse, children, and friends – to such revolutionaries who suffer the most.

Personally, it has always been my belief that you should… “start at home.” After all, what good is it to change the world – only to lose your own kids and destroy your own family or push away your closest friends?

So. Maybe we should rethink our dreams of greatness. Maybe the “greatest” men are the ones who are there for their children, who work hard, who love their wives, who never achieve status, who never get rich, who let go of their ambitions and dreams for those they care about, who we will never read about in history books.

Maybe.

I don’t know a great many fans of Hamilton, but I would love to see Kit, Evangline, and Julia‘s answers to these questions!

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1. How did you discover Hamilton?

2. Who is your favorite character?

3. What’s your absolute favorite song?

4. Music wise, which is better, Act I or Act II?

5. What’s your dream role?

6. What’s your favorite quote?

7. Describe what Hamilton means to you using only 3 words.

8. Who do you consider your “Hamilton Buddy” (someone who you can ramble, fangirl, or sing Hamilton with)?

9. How has Hamilton impacted your life?

10. What is the best thing about Hamilton?

So, tell me! Have you heard Hamilton? Have you heard of Hamilton? What is your favorite song? Who is your favorite character? Do you love history? What’s your favorite musical? 

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61 thoughts on “My True Love… Hamilton”

  1. HAMILTON IS LIFE
    HAMILTON IS LIFE
    HAMILTON IS LIFE
    HAMILTON IS LIFE
    HAMILTON IS LIFE
    HAMILTON IS LIFE
    HAMILTON IS LIFE
    HAMILTON IS LIFE
    HAMILTON IS LIFE
    HAMILTON IS LIFE
    HAMILTON IS LIFE
    HAMILTON IS LIFE
    HAMILTON IS LIFE
    HAMILTON IS LIFE
    HAMILTON IS LIFE
    HAMILTON IS LIFE
    HAMILTON IS LIFE
    HAMILTON IS LIFE
    HAMILTON IS LIFE
    HAMILTON IS LIFE
    HAMILTON IS LIFE
    HAMILTON IS LIFE
    HAMILTON IS LIFE
    HAMILTON IS LIFE
    HAMILTON IS LIFE
    HAMILTON IS LIFE
    HAMILTON IS LIFE
    HAMILTON IS LIFE
    HAMILTON IS LIFE
    HAMILTON IS LIFE
    HAMILTON IS LIFE
    HAMILTON IS LIFE
    HAMILTON IS LIFE
    HAMILTON IS LIFE
    HAMILTON IS LIFE
    HAMILTON IS LIFE
    *mic drop*

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  2. I am not a big fan of history at all. As far as favorite musical goes, I love Wicked and Les Mis equally and they are currently sharing that #1 spot. Due to an obsession with Les Mis, I have researched the musical so the musical got me interested in learning more about the time period.

    When it comes to Hamilton, I have heard of it and listened to some songs. Yes, I am a musical fanatic, but have no interest in fully listening to Hamilton or even seeing it. I don’t like hip-hop and rap music.

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    1. I wish I were a bigger fan of history but, alas, it does not come natural, friend! 🙂 It has a lot of potential to be fascinating though!

      EEEE! I love Les Mis! Haven’t finished listening to Wicked yet, but I’m sure I will love it too. 🙂 Isn’t it the coolest when historical fiction of some kind gets you interested in history??? DUDE I LOVE THAT.

      I can see where you are coming from, for sure. It must be super jarring for someone who is into traditional musicals to hear Hamilton!!! Hamilton was kindasorta my first musical obsession so it wasn’t that way for me. I used to hate rap but I have brothers so that didn’t last long, I’m afraid! 🙂

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          1. I have been told I am too passionate about Les Mis or even too obsessed. I just can’t help it. I have researched lots about Les Mis and spent time getting to know Victor Hugo and the time period. Spent time trying to understand the different characters and why it makes me feel uplifted at the end. I have read the unabridged book and used the musical to get through the book.

            We both understand what it is like to be obsessed with a musical. Les Mis took be off guard because I didn’t know it was going to be a tragedy when I first saw that movie. It wasn’t until the 2nd time when I knew there was something special about Les Mis

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            1. Ha! I hear you, friend! But, wow, I just so admire your interest in this story! That is so awesome. 🙂 And you’re right – despite the tragedy, it is a VERY hopeful and redemptive story! I love that about it. Alas, I have NOT yet read the unabridged version, but I read a very well-done abridgment that I love and the story is just, agh, so precious.

              Ah! You have seen the movie. Rough, right? Haven’t seen it myself, but I’ve heard it’s pretty gritty. And yes. Certainly tragic. But a beautiful story, nonetheless. 🙂

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              1. The first time, I didn’t know to respond. I was so confused and shocked. I didn’t even know if I liked it or not. The thing is I grew up with happy musicals and just didn’t want tragedy to be a part of my life.

                Despite all of the tragedy and heartbreak, at its core is a story of humanity and one of redemption, love, hope, compassion, forgiveness, and sacrifice. I even got to see the musical in London, which was a dream of mine

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                1. Dude, I can totally understand that reaction. It can be pretty overwhelmingly depressing at first. Takes a couple of readings/viewings for the deeper themes of sacrifice and redemption and love and hope to come through.

                  Wow, what a good point! Most musicals ARE pretty “happy,” aren’t they?

                  No way! You got to see it performed in London??? I am jealous!

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                  1. Most musicals are happy and I still associate musicals with comedies. I actually did Les Mis in London two years ago and I had an understudy play Valjean and it was a date with mom and I watched it nine rows back from the stage

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                    1. That’s true. Many musicals are comedic…

                      Sooo… was it still good even though an understudy played Valjean? Nine rows back??? NOT BAD, MATE!!! 🙂

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                    2. Adam Bayjou as Valjean was so brilliant. I am always so nervous when I find out I have an understudy especially in a musical I have seen before. But he was brilliant and I strongly saw Valjean’s transformation. Being nine rows back was quite special because my mom wanted to get me the best seats possible in the West End because it was my dream

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                    3. Sounds awesome! Oh, yes, I can understand what you mean – if I went to a musical, I would kind of prefer the first string actors! 🙂

                      But it sounds like Bayjou did a fantastic job, so that’s cool!

                      AWWWWW! That is so sweet! Glad you got to go!

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      1. YES THERE IT IS. My precious comment of me trying to find something Hamilton-y to say and instead typing one of the most true statements evah over and over. XDD

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    1. Ah! I am the jealous of you, then! YAS. Hamiltonnnnnnn!!! Such a fun song! Love it! Oops? I kind of slammed Angelica? Sorry about that! 🙂

      YES PLEASE DO IT I WOULD LOVE TO SEE YOUR ANSWERS!!!

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      1. XD I love that sonnnggg.

        Psh, it’s fine. I just relate to her a lot, but like I am also Aaron Burr, which is funny. I want to be Hamilton but I’m more of a mix of Angelica and Aaron Burr. ;D

        YAY I WILL DO THEM VERY SOON!

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          1. Yessss. ;D Also, my other favorite line is “I got chosen for the constitutional convention ^-^ ^-^ ^-^”
            That is really fun. (Yep. Hope you don’t end up dead. XD That would be nice.)

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  3. I…still have never seen Hamilton…

    Excuse me while I put this bag over my head in shame.

    But this post still managed to make me laugh and relate to all these characters/people from the past. I really need to get on YouTube and find this musical though….

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    1. Oh, Kenzie. You poor unfortunate soul.

      IN ALL SERIOUSNESS THOUGH, it does have some serious content issues. So I TOTALLY get it that some people just aren’t interested.

      Agh, I am SO glad you still enjoyed this post! That means so much to me! I’m not sure if it is on YouTube??? But Studio C does that lip-sync and it is awesome and hilarious so definitely watch that (it’s perfectly clean also!!)???

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Is it wrong that I read poor unfortunate soul in Ursula’s voice from The Little Mermaid?? Every time I read it I want to burst out singing….

        Anyway!! Ooh… that doesn’t sound to good, haha! But I’ll definitely check out the studio C lip-sync video!!! You can never go wrong with clean!!! 😀

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        1. Ah! Don’t do that! She is SCARRRRRY, MAN. I am terrified of her to this day.

          Yes. Some songs are clean and some are… not. Unfortunately. I’ve actually created a “wearable in public” playlist so I can listen with my little brother without worries. 🙂 Definitely watch it! It’s so funny! They are awesome. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

          1. She most definitely is… *cowers behind a giant cookie*

            Ooh… Yeah, I really don’t like when things are bad. Like, it doesn’t even seem to serve a purpose for the story??? But a wearable in public playlist is like totally awesome, though!!!

            I did watch it, actually! It was terrific!!!

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            1. Dude. Cookies are the best defense against evil Disney villains. Keep up the good work.

              Same here. They could get their point across without trashy content. Let’s keep things classy, shall we??

              Aren’t they the bestest??? You should check out some of their other videos. I think you would like. 🙂

              Liked by 1 person

              1. Bahahahaha! Well, when the Disney Villain apocalypse comes, and I’m the only one cowering behind giant cookies, we’ll see who survives the longest… (Probably the ones who are not cowering behind giant cookies…)

                Ugh, yesssss!! If only the world could see it that way??

                Okay! I’ll have to check them out! I might just keep watching the Hamilton one, though, lol!

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                1. Oh, you’ll certainly be the last one standing! Hiding in plain sight, you know. Very effective. 😉

                  I think you would like them a lot, but I can totally relate – I could keep watching that lip-sync forever!! 🙂

                  Liked by 1 person

  4. I just got back from a church camp (like half an hour ago) and the entire van ride there, me and my friend Chloe were singing through the Hamilton soundtrack. It annoyed everyone, but it was incredibly fun! ~Julia ❤

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  5. *massive applause* Oh wow. I love this post. Hamilton in general is so amazing. *fangirls* Ahhhhh. Okay but seriously, everything you said here was perfect and it just made me rethink everything about Hamilton because it was all so deep and beautiful and it just made Hamilton all that more deep and beautiful for me. And gifs. Gifs are amazing. Anyway,this post was brilliant. And Hamilton is brilliant. And that is all. *applauds once more* *coughs*

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    1. Awwwww, Sarah!!! You are too kind! I’m so glad that it made you think though because if I have one goal in, er, life, it is to make people think. And yeah, the gifs were pretty great, were they not?? 🙂 Thank you so much, deah!

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    1. AWESOME!! I love meeting fellow fans (if you’d like – consider yourself tagged!!!) I checked out that poem and it was amazing! Angelica is not my favorite character but your poem and the song Congratulations make me understand her a little bit more, at least. 🙂

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  6. I love the detailed answers of this tag! Hamilton is life. Lin Manuel Miranda is just *steers dreamily into space*. Have you seen him with the pigtails. I can’t. I just can’t.

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  7. HAMILTON IS AMAZING AND MADE ME WEEP AND LAUGH AND WEEP AGAIN. I LOVE IT AS MUCH AS ELIZA LOVES ALEX; IT BROKE MY HEART LIKE ALEX BROKE ELIZA’S, AND THEN IT PUT IT BACK TOGETHER AGAIN. LIKE ALEX AND ELIZA.

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    1. WOW. Yes, I do believe it is!! I hope they do more educational musicals like it??? About presidents or founding fathers or early america or just history in general??? It’s a great learning tool!!

      Like

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