The story has Lin-Manuel Miranda and Phillipa Soo as Alexander and Eliza Hamilton in the filmed version of the hit musical Hamilton.
I moved my family into mineObsession a few years ago – my teenage daughter went straight from memorizing the frozen soundtrack and wearing Elsa cloaks to knocking the 10 duel commandments and played Peggy Schuyler in the theater camp. On a trip to London that we searched hard for, I swallowed hard, tried not to think about my bank account, and snatched tickets to see it at the Victoria Palace Theater. ("All the way from London? Damn it!")
I saw the show live twice, pondered the 270-page book by creator Lin-Manuel Miranda about how the show came about, read (parts of) Ron Chernow's Hamilton biography that inspired it, and even the U.S. flag of Visited Marquis de Lafayette. draped grave in a small Parisian cemetery. ("Ev & ryone is up for America's favorite fighter French!")
And now the highly anticipated hip-hop musical is being streamed, with the original Broadway cast in 2016. Whether you're in the room where it happens for the first time or are practically an honorary sister of Schuyler, here are six surprising scenes to watch out for. (Spoiler ahead.)
1. Keep an eye on the ball
There is a semi-secret character in Hamilton. A dancer in every production – in the film Ariana DeBose – plays The Bullet. It has never been presented as such, but the measures it takes are those that mean death. It approaches the actors who are on the verge of death, gives Burr his pen when he challenges Hamilton to a deadly duel, and whips from Hamilton when his death is mentioned or suggested, and of course plays a special role in his last moments.
To find DeBose, look for a dancer with a strong curly treasure and pay attention to the texts and actions that take place on stage when she appears prominently. When Burr and Hamilton have their famous duel, their intentions become crystal clear. Read this interview with DeBose 2016 to find out how she always strives for the title character.
2. A scene is not in the cast
If you're like me, you've played the entire Hamilton Cast recording again and again before you ever dreamed of seeing the show. And no question, this way you can understand the show and fall in love with it. But when you see the film, you will be surprised to see a short scene where Eliza Hamilton reads a letter telling about the death of his dear friend John Laurens. In a Tumblr post, Miranda stated that he had deliberately excluded the scene from the cast. It's more of a scene than a song, he says, and more powerful when you see it.
As a Broadway fan, he also wanted to keep a revelation for those who see the show themselves and not just listen to the album. "Please understand that the reason I deleted this scene from the album is because I really appreciate it (and Laurens)," says Miranda.
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3. Look for Broadway and Rap homages
Miranda is a music fan who grew up in Broadway shows, rap, hip-hop and other genres. He peppered the show with musical references, much like Easter eggs in video games. In My Shot it contains "You have to be taught carefully", which many of us are familiar with from the South Pacific. In Right Hand, George Washington calls himself "the model of a modern major general", which of course is a famous line from Pirates of Penzance.
And in Story of Tonight, Hamilton and his friends drink their upcoming fight while drinking together and revisit the song later. Miranda writes in the book Hamilton: The Revolution that he was inspired by the group of friends in Stephen Sondheim's musical Merrily We Roll Along, who sing a recurring choir that touts their friendship.
There are many rap and hip hop references – a few are very easy to spot. The 10 Duel Commandments are a tribute to Biggie Smalls & # 39; The Ten Crack Commandments. In My Shot, Hamilton says he is "only 19, but my mind is older," and in Shook One's Part II of hip-hop duo Mobb Deep, a text reads, "I'm only 19, but my mind is old." And the rhythm Hamilton uses to spell his name is very similar to when Smalls spells N-O, T-O, R-I, O, U-S (for "Notorious B.I.G.") in Going Back to Cali.
4. Find the censorship
Indeed, the musical Hamilton deals with serious issues – death, infidelity, grief, violence of war and revolution. The filmed version was rated PG-13, but Miranda said on Twitter that the show uses the F-word three times, and to keep this PG-13 rating film, it can only be used once. So he had the censorship cut that word twice. Hamilton obsessives – why are you looking at me? – they will notice when they happen, but if you ask yourself, here they are:
- In Yorktown (The World Upside Down), the exuberant Hercules Mulligan screams that he will "get the hell up", but the film mutes it.
- And in an iconic moment during Washington On Your Side, Jefferson and Madison sing of themselves as "Southern Motherfuckin & # 39; Democratic Republicans!" In the film, the swearing part is flooded. (Miranda said it would be replaced by a plate scratch, and maybe it was, but I played it three times and heard only a blurry sound.) It's really not a big deal, and as Miranda himself said on Twitter, he literally did "gave two fucks so the kids could see it."
5. Changes between the United States and the United Kingdom
As you watch, you can look for three tiny cases where the lyrics you hear in the film have been changed for the London performances of the play. Neither is important, and if you only watch the film, you will never see the British changes, but it is fun for Hamiltonists to know what they are. (I've seen it in both countries and can confirm that the lines have been moved for London customers.) They all seem to be based on very specific US references that the British may not get.
- In Take a Break, "John Adams doesn't have a real job anyway" is changed to "Vice President isn't a real job anyway", perhaps assuming the British didn't know Adams' role. I bet a lot of Americans didn't know Adam was Vice President either.
- In Your Obedient Servant, Aaron Burr challenges Hamilton to a duel in Weehawken, New Jersey. Instead of the US lyrics "Weehawken. Dawn. Guns. Drawn" the British listen to "Jersey. Dawn. Guns. Drawn". The British might have assumed Weehawken was a place name out of context, but the change was made anyway.
- And a similar geographic change was made for British people in The Room Where It Happens when the location of the U.S. capital was discussed. The line "I propose the Potomac" read: "Well, leave it over, suggest it." It seems that the English mention of the Potomac River in Washington DC makes no sense.
6. Bounce around
It's so small, but so purring. In A Winter & # 39; s Ball, Aaron Burr claims that Hamilton was such a lady that "Martha Washington named her wild cat after him," and a high-spirited A. Ham intervenes: "That's right!"
It is probably not. (Hamilton plays quickly and easily with many facts, many of which are much larger than Angelica's love life.) In the book Hamilton: The Revolution, Miranda admits that the cat story "was probably a story that John Adams later spread life." And the official site of the Washington House in Virginia, Mount Vernon, admits that the first couple really were more dog people – even though they had barn cats, so who knows what Martha called the tomcattiest of them all?
Hamilton is. And if you want to enjoy the entire theater experience, Playbill has released a printable online version of the program from the week the show was shot, with cast biographies, headshots, the song list, and more.
Look at that:
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