By Courtney Willis
If you don't know what Hamilton is, you need to come out from whatever rock you've been hiding under and into the light.
Good, welcome to the land of the living. Now, when you've got a free 2.5 hours, open up Spotify and immerse yourself in the glorious Hamilton: The Musical. This show is a conglomeration of everything: intriguing facts from history and politics, catchy tunes and lyrics of rap and R&B, and the humor and charm of musical theater.
Once you've established yourself as a fangirl and accepted the obsession, you have a few options.
1. Hope and pray that you know someone who knows someone who can get you tickets to the show in NYC someday (I think it's sold out till fall 2017 or something, so good luck!).
2. Follow the deliciously good-looking Lin-Manuel Miranda on Twitter (along with all the other cast members) and spend hours watching their interviews and snippets on YouTube.
3. Try to get your hands on “Hamilton: The Revolution” by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter.
Affectionately referred to as #Hamiltome by Miranda and fans on Twitter (tome: a book, especially a very heavy, large, or learned book), this book is a gem, a treasure, a gift from the Hamilton gods to the rest of us minions. Not only is it a big fat hardbound beauty with perforated pages, but it contains lyrics to all the songs, and notes from specific points in history that inspired scenes or words in the play. Such wow, so love.
Entitled “The Revolution,” this is not only a reference to the American Revolution that the actual Alexander Hamilton influenced and lived through. It also suggests this musical can be considered a revolution itself in the world of theater. Miranda wanted to bring a hip hop musical to life, but never imagined it would see life on Broadway, let alone become such a phenomenal success. This show has now changed the rules of musical theater, and opened the door to a whole world of new possibilities. For example, there are some Cabinet Meeting scenes portrayed in the form of epic rap battles between Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson (and even an extra one in the book that got cut from the show!). The Schuyler sisters are a beautiful representation of Desiny’s Child-life R&B. And there’s lots of nods to famous rappers with simple words and lyrics (Tupac, DMX, Jay Z), which Miranda explains in side notes because he’s awesome.
Do you want to know my favorite part of this book? Of course you do.
Being the helpless romantic that I am, I am captivated by the relationship between Eliza and Alexander. The character development portrayed in this musical is so exquisite, mostly because of these characters are real historical figures with real lives (Miranda did his research well), and they were just that incredible and flawed.
Things like this, a testimony to their devotion for one another, but something that couldn’t have been included in the show. A poem written by Alexander for Eliza, something she wore on a necklace till the day she died (note: she lived another 50 years after losing him). His sincerity in loving her and wanting to provide her with a good life were obvious, but he had flaws, because he was a normal person. Phrases like “I know who I married” and “Isn’t this enough?” are repeated and returned throughout their musical numbers. As a couple, they are broken down and torn apart time and time again, but because Eliza sincerely loves him and sees the potential in him and the good he can do, she loves him with a passion and fidelity that I so admire and respect.
I accepted long ago that I probably wouldn’t be seeing the show on stage any time soon. While that did break my heart a little, this book was like a pink Hello Kitty band aid for that gaping wound; not exactly what I need, but it will be enough. It is quite a long read, but one I’m glad I got through because of all the insight it provided on the behind the scenes of the show, not to mention all the lovely historical notes (did I mention I’m a huge history nerd?), and it just made my love for everything Hamilton skyrocket. I’ll be cuddling this book over the next 500+ days until I find myself in a position to see the show that will hopefully be running for many years to come. It will be worth the wait, right? RIGHT?!
Till next time, book enthusiasts <3
Have you read the book? Are you anxiously awaiting your copy from Amazon’s sold out shelves? HAVE YOU SEEN THE SHOW?! Let me know in the comments below!