Hamilton. Where to begin?
Hamilton, the Broadway musical about the life of Alexander Hamilton became a success and a must-see in today’s Broadway lineup. After receiving feedback to previous blog posts to explain what Hamilton is, I’ve decided to use it as my next blog post to help readers in the future get a better understanding of the show. I have never seen the actual show – tickets are almost impossible to get now – but because the music is much of the show, I can give an overview using the soundtrack.
The show opens with a background of Hamilton’s life as a child before he came to America. He was born in the Caribbean, his father left when he was young, his mother died when he was 12 years old. Hamilton wrote his way to fame, raising enough money to send himself to get an education on the mainland. There he attended King’s College, and met Aaron Burr. Burr is a very important character throughout the story not only because he is one of the narrators, but he plays a very important role in Hamilton’s life. In the same place he meets Burr, Hamilton meets the friends that will aid him throughout the rest of his life.
Hamilton joins the army as General George Washington’s “right hand man”, and while on holiday meets his wife, Eliza Schuyler. When he meets Eliza, he also meets Angelica, her older sister that plays a role in his life later on, as do many of the characters that are strategically introduced during the show.
Hamilton and his friends celebrate his marriage together and Hamilton asks Burr a question that comes up more than once in the show. “What are you waiting for? What do you stall for?” This is a reoccurring theme because of the way Burr lived his life. He was very reserved, and did not come forth openly on any of his opinions, which comes into play in the second act with his politics.
After his marriage, Hamilton survives his first duel and learns the “Ten Duel Commandments,” that are the rules of a duel. He is sent home from the war when his son is born, and spends time at home for some time while the war raged on. Only when he was called back into battle by Washington to work with a good friend did he return to the front lines, where they worked together and won the war.
When he goes home, Hamilton finishes studying law and is a part of the First Continental Congress that writes the Constitution and creates his own financial system for the country. The act is wrapped up with a song called “Non-Stop” that catches up on all of the characters that we have met so far are in their lives. A question that comes up multiple times throughout the show is mentioned here, regarding Hamilton’s non-stop writing:
“Why do you write like you’re running out of time?”
I can’t do the show justice by quickly summarizing the next act, so in the next post I will finish the show and answer any questions you may have about the plot and characters.