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Hamilton
An American Musical
Hamilton-poster.jpg
Broadway poster
Music Lin-Manuel Miranda
Lyrics Lin-Manuel Miranda
Book Lin-Manuel Miranda
Basis Alexander Hamilton
by Ron Chernow
Productions 2013 Vassar College
2015 Off-Broadway
2015 Broadway
2017 First North America tour
2017 West End
2018 Second North America tour
2019 Third North America tour
Awards
Lin-Manuel Miranda, Phillipa Soo, Leslie Odom, Jr., and Christopher Jackson, White House, March 2016
Cast members perform musical selections at the White House, 2016. L–R: Lin-Manuel Miranda, Phillipa Soo, Leslie Odom Jr., and Christopher Jackson

Hamilton: An American Musical is a sung-and-rapped-through musical by Lin-Manuel Miranda. It tells the story of American Founding Father Alexander Hamilton. Miranda said he was inspired to write the musical after reading the 2004 biography Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow. The show draws heavily from hip hop, as well as R&B, pop, soul, and traditional-style show tunes. It casts non-white actors as the Founding Fathers and other historical figures. Miranda described Hamilton as about "America then, as told by America now".

From its opening, Hamilton received critical acclaim. It premiered Off-Broadway on February 17, 2015, at the Public Theater, where its several-month engagement was sold out. The musical won eight Drama Desk Awards, including Outstanding Musical. It then transferred to the Richard Rodgers Theatre on Broadway, opening on August 6, 2015, where it received uniformly positive reviews and high box office sales. At the 2016 Tony Awards, Hamilton received a record-breaking 16 nominations and won 11 awards, including Best Musical. It received the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

The Chicago production of Hamilton began preview performances at the CIBC Theatre in September 2016 and opened the following month. The West End production opened at the Victoria Palace Theatre in London in December 2017, winning seven Olivier Awards in 2018, including Best New Musical. The first U.S. national tour began in March 2017. A second U.S. tour opened in February 2018. Hamilton's third U.S. tour began January 11, 2019, with a three-week engagement in Puerto Rico featuring Miranda as the titular character, Hamilton.

Synopsis

Hamilton details Hamilton's life in two acts, along with how various historical characters influenced his life such as Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette; Aaron Burr; John Laurens; Hercules Mulligan; Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton; Angelica Schuyler Church; Peggy Schuyler; Philip Hamilton; Maria Reynolds; and former presidents George Washington, James Madison, and Thomas Jefferson.

Act I

The orphan Alexander Hamilton experiences a hard early life, and through his smarts, leaves his home, the island of Nevis ("Alexander Hamilton"). In New York in 1776, Hamilton meets Aaron Burr, John Laurens, Marquis de Lafayette, and Hercules Mulligan ("Aaron Burr, Sir"), and impresses them with his rhetorical skills ("My Shot"). The latter three and Hamilton affirm their revolutionary goals to each other, while Burr remains apprehensive ("The Story of Tonight"). Later, the daughters of the wealthy Phillip Schuyler—Angelica, Eliza, and Peggy—go into town and share their opinion on the upcoming revolution ("The Schuyler Sisters"); it is at this time that Samuel Seabury warns everyone about the dangers of Congress while Hamilton disagrees and counters Seabury ("Farmer Refuted"), until King George III insists on his authority ("You'll Be Back"). During the New York and New Jersey campaign, Hamilton accepts a position as George Washington's aide-de-camp despite longing for field command ("Right Hand Man").

At a ball hosted by Phillip Schuyler ("A Winter's Ball"), Eliza falls hopelessly in love with Hamilton, who reciprocates her feelings to the point of marriage ("Helpless"), as Angelica suppresses her own feelings for the sake of their happiness ("Satisfied"). After the wedding, Burr and Hamilton congratulate each other's successes ("The Story of Tonight (Reprise)") while Burr reflects on Hamilton's swift rise while considering his own more cautious career ("Wait For It").

As conditions worsen for the Continental Army ("Stay Alive"), Hamilton aids Laurens in a duel against Charles Lee, who had insulted Washington ("Ten Duel Commandments"). Laurens injures Lee, who yields, while Hamilton is temporarily suspended by Washington over the duel and is sent home ("Meet Me Inside"). There, Eliza reveals that she is pregnant with her first child, Philip, and asks Hamilton to slow down to take in what has happened in their lives ("That Would Be Enough"). After Lafayette persuades France to get involved on the colonists' side, he urges Washington to call Hamilton back to help plan the final Battle of Yorktown; Washington agrees ("Guns and Ships") but explains to Hamilton—who is convinced he should die a martyr and a hero in war—that he should be careful with his actions because whatever he does will be known for ages to come ("History Has Its Eyes on You"). At the Battle of Yorktown, Hamilton meets up with Lafayette to take down the British, revealing that Mulligan was recruited as a spy, helping them figure out how to trap the British and win the war ("Yorktown (The World Turned Upside Down)").

Soon after the victory at Yorktown, King George asks the newborn America how it will succeed on its own ("What Comes Next?"), while Lafayette returns to France with plans to inspire his people to have their own revolution. Hamilton's son Philip is born, while Burr has a daughter, Theodosia, and the two tell their children how they will do anything to protect them ("Dear Theodosia"). Hamilton receives word that his long-time friend John Laurens has been killed in a seemingly pointless battle after the war was won and throws himself into his work ("Tomorrow There'll Be More of Us"). He co-authors The Federalist Papers and is selected as Secretary of the Treasury by newly elected President Washington, amidst Eliza begging Hamilton to stay and Angelica moving to London with her new husband ("Non-Stop").

Act II

Thomas Jefferson returns to America from being the U.S. ambassador to France, taking up his newfound position as Secretary of State, with friend and fellow Cabinet member, James Madison ("What'd I Miss"). In 1789, Jefferson and Hamilton debate Hamilton's financial proposals at a Cabinet meeting. Washington tells Hamilton to figure out a compromise to win over Congress ("Cabinet Battle #1").

Eliza and her family—along with Angelica, back from London—travel upstate during the summer, while Hamilton stays home to work on the compromise ("Take a Break"). Hamilton begins an affair with Maria Reynolds, making him vulnerable to her husband's blackmail ("Say No To This"). Hamilton, Jefferson, and Madison create the Compromise of 1790 over a private dinner, exchanging Hamilton's financial plan for placing the country's permanent capital on the Potomac River. Burr is envious of Hamilton's sway in the government and wishes he had similar power ("The Room Where It Happens"). Burr switches political parties and defeats Philip Schuyler, making Hamilton now a rival ("Schuyler Defeated").

In another Cabinet meeting, Jefferson and Hamilton argue over whether the United States should assist France in its conflict with Britain. President Washington ultimately agrees with Hamilton's argument for remaining neutral ("Cabinet Battle #2"). In the wake of this, Jefferson, Madison, and Burr decide to join forces to find a way to discredit Hamilton ("Washington on Your Side"). Washington decides to retire from the presidency, and Hamilton assists in writing a farewell address ("One Last Time").

A flabbergasted King George receives word that George Washington has stepped down, and will be replaced by Paris signatory John Adams ("I Know Him"). Adams becomes the second President and fires Hamilton, who, in response, publishes an inflammatory critique of the new president ("The Adams Administration"). Jefferson, Madison, and Burr confront Hamilton about James Reynolds' blackmail, accusing him of "[embezzlement of] government funds", which forces Hamilton to reveal his affair with Maria ("We Know"). Out of fear that the affair will be used against him in his political career, Hamilton chooses to publicize his affair ("Hurricane") in the Reynolds Pamphlet, causing uproar in his political position ("The Reynolds Pamphlet") and damaging his relationship with Eliza, who, in a heartbroken retaliation, burns all the letters Hamilton wrote her, trying to erase herself from history ("Burn"). After graduating college, Philip attempts to defend his father's honor in a duel with George Eacker ("Blow Us All Away") but is fatally shot ("Stay Alive (Reprise)"), causing a reconciliation between Alexander and Eliza ("It's Quiet Uptown").

Hamilton's endorsement of Jefferson in the 1800 election ("The Election of 1800") results in further animosity between Hamilton and Burr, who challenges Hamilton to a duel via an exchange of letters ("Your Obedient Servant"). Hamilton writes his last letter in a rush while Eliza tells him to go back to bed ("Best of Wives and Best of Women"). Burr and Hamilton travel to New Jersey for the duel. Burr reflects on the moments leading up to the duel, stating that one of them will have to die. Burr and Hamilton walk the requisite ten paces, with Burr firing first, and time freezes as Hamilton reflects on his legacy, before throwing away his shot. Burr shoots him between the ribs and Hamilton eventually dies, mourned upon by Eliza, Angelica, and the rest of the cast. Burr laments that though he survived, he is cursed to be remembered as the villain who killed Hamilton ("The World Was Wide Enough").

The musical closes with a reflection on historical memory. Jefferson and Madison reflect on Hamilton's legacy, as Eliza tells how she keeps Hamilton's legacy alive through interviewing war veterans, getting help from Angelica, raising funds for the Washington Monument, speaking out against slavery, and establishing the first private orphanage in New York City ("Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story"). As the musical ends, Eliza looks in the direction of the audience and lets out a tearful gasp.

Roles and original principal cast

Character Vassar workshop
(2013)
Off-Broadway
(2015)
Broadway
(2015)
First U.S. tour
(2017)
West End
(2017)
Second U.S. tour
(2018)
Third U.S. tour
(2019)
Alexander Hamilton Lin-Manuel Miranda Michael Luwoye Jamael Westman Joseph Morales Lin-Manuel Miranda
Aaron Burr Utkarsh Ambudkar Leslie Odom Jr. Joshua Henry Giles Terera Nik Walker Donald Webber Jr.
Eliza Hamilton Ana Nogueira Phillipa Soo Solea Pfeiffer Rachelle Ann Go Shoba Narayan Julia K. Harriman
Angelica Schuyler Anika Noni Rose Renée Elise Goldsberry Emmy Raver-Lampman Rachel John Ta'Rea Campbell Sabrina Sloan
Marquis de Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson Daveed Diggs Jordan Donica Jason Pennycooke Kyle Scatliffe Simon Longnight
George Washington Christopher Jackson Isaiah Johnson Obioma Ugoala Marcus Choi Isaiah Johnson
John Laurens and Philip Hamilton Javier Muñoz Anthony Ramos Rubén J. Carbajal Cleve September Elijah Malcomb Rubén J. Carbajal
Hercules Mulligan and James Madison Joshua Henry Okieriete Onaodowan Mathenee Treco Tarinn Callender Fergie L. Philippe Brandon Armstrong
King George III Brian d'Arcy James Jonathan Groff Rory O'Malley Michael Jibson Jon Patrick Walker Rick Negrón
Peggy Schuyler and Maria Reynolds Presilah Nunez Jasmine Cephas Jones Amber Iman Christine Allado Danielle Sostre Darilyn Castillo

Musical numbers

Honors and awards

Original Off-Broadway productions

Year Award Category Nominee Result
2015 Lucille Lortel Awards Outstanding Musical Won
Outstanding Director Thomas Kail Won
Outstanding Choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler Won
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Musical Lin-Manuel Miranda Won
Leslie Odom Jr. Nominated
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Musical Phillipa Soo Won
Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical Daveed Diggs Won
Brian d'Arcy James Nominated
Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical Renée Elise Goldsberry Won
Outstanding Costume Design Paul Tazewell Won
Outstanding Lighting Design Howell Binkley Won
Outstanding Sound Design Nevin Steinberg Won
Outer Critics Circle Awards Outstanding New Off-Broadway Musical Won
Outstanding Book of a Musical Lin-Manuel Miranda Won
Outstanding New Score Won
Outstanding Director of a Musical Thomas Kail Nominated
Outstanding Choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler Nominated
Drama League Awards Outstanding Production of a Broadway or Off-Broadway Musical Nominated
Distinguished Performance Daveed Diggs Nominated
Lin-Manuel Miranda Nominated
Drama Desk Awards Outstanding Musical Won
Outstanding Actor in a Musical Lin-Manuel Miranda Nominated
Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical Leslie Odom Jr. Nominated
Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical Renée Elise Goldsberry Won
Outstanding Director of a Musical Thomas Kail Won
Outstanding Music Lin-Manuel Miranda Won
Outstanding Lyrics Won
Outstanding Book of a Musical Won
Outstanding Orchestrations Alex Lacamoire Nominated
Outstanding Set Design David Korins Nominated
Outstanding Costume Design Paul Tazewell Nominated
Outstanding Lighting Design Howell Binkley Nominated
Outstanding Sound Design in a Musical Nevin Steinberg Won
Special Award ‡ Andy Blankenbuehler Won
New York Drama Critics' Circle Awards Best Musical Won
Off Broadway Alliance Awards Best New Musical Won
Theatre World Awards Outstanding Debut Performance Daveed Diggs Won
Clarence Derwent Awards Most Promising Female Performer Phillipa Soo Won
Obie Awards Best New American Theatre Work Lin-Manuel Miranda, Thomas Kail, Andy Blankenbuehler, Alex Lacamoire Won
Edgerton Foundation New American Play Awards Won

‡ Blankenbuehler received a Special Drama Desk Award for "his inspired and heart-stopping choreography in Hamilton, which is indispensible [sic] to the musical's storytelling. His body of work is versatile, yet a dynamic and fluid style is consistently evident. When it's time to 'take his shot,' Blankenbuehler hits the bulls-eye."

Original Broadway production

The musical currently holds the record for most Tony Award nominations with 16 nominations (though due to multiple nominations in the two 'actor' categories, it could have only won 13 awards). At 11 wins, the musical fell short of one more win to match the record of 12 held by The Producers.

Year Award Category Nominee Result
2016 Tony Awards Best Musical Won
Best Book of a Musical Lin-Manuel Miranda Won
Best Original Score Won
Best Actor in a Musical Nominated
Leslie Odom Jr. Won
Best Actress in a Musical Phillipa Soo Nominated
Best Featured Actor in a Musical Daveed Diggs Won
Jonathan Groff Nominated
Christopher Jackson Nominated
Best Featured Actress in a Musical Renée Elise Goldsberry Won
Best Scenic Design of a Musical David Korins Nominated
Best Costume Design of a Musical Paul Tazewell Won
Best Lighting Design of a Musical Howell Binkley Won
Best Direction of a Musical Thomas Kail Won
Best Choreography Andy Blankenbuehler Won
Best Orchestrations Alex Lacamoire Won
Drama League Awards Outstanding Production of a Broadway or Off-Broadway Musical Won
Distinguished Performance Daveed Diggs Nominated
Lin-Manuel Miranda Won
Pulitzer Prize Drama Won
Grammy Awards Best Musical Theater Album Daveed Diggs, Renée Elise Goldsberry, Jonathan Groff, Christopher Jackson, Jasmine Cephas Jones, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Leslie Odom Jr., Okieriete Onaodowan, Anthony Ramos & Phillipa Soo (principal soloists); Alex Lacamoire, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Bill Sherman, Ahmir Thompson & Tariq Trotter (producers); Lin-Manuel Miranda (composer & lyricist) Won
Fred and Adele Astaire Awards Outstanding Ensemble in a Broadway Show Nominated
Best Choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler Won
Best Male Dancer Daveed Diggs Nominated
NAACP Image Awards Outstanding Duo, Group or Collaboration Original Broadway Cast Nominated
Dramatists Guild of America Awards Frederick Loewe Award for Dramatic Composition Lin-Manuel Miranda Won
Edward M. Kennedy Prize Drama Inspired by American History Won
2017 Billboard Music Award Top Soundtrack/Cast Album Won
2018 Kennedy Center Honors Lin-Manuel Miranda, Andy Blankenbuehler, Alex Lacamoire and Thomas Kail Won

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