Musical (2015)

Musique: Lin-Manuel Miranda
Paroles: Lin-Manuel Miranda
Livret: Lin-Manuel Miranda

Act One
The musical begins with the company summarizing Alexander Hamilton’s early life as a bastard orphan in the Caribbean, including the destruction of his town by a hurricane when he was 17. He writes about the devastation, and his extraordinary ability earns him passage on a ship to the American colonies to pursue his education (“Alexander Hamilton”).

In the summer of 1776 in New York City, Hamilton seeks out Aaron Burr, anxious to discover how he finished college in two years, a feat Hamilton wishes to repeat. Burr is impressed but concerned by Hamilton's verbosity and passion, advising him to "talk less; smile more." Hamilton rebuffs Burr’s philosophy (“Aaron Burr, Sir”) and instead joins three revolutionaries he meets: abolitionist John Laurens, the flamboyant Marquis de Lafayette, and the tailor's apprentice Hercules Mulligan. Hamilton dazzles them with his oratory skills (“My Shot”) and they dream of laying down their lives for the cause ("The Story of Tonight"). Meanwhile, the wealthy Schuyler sisters — Angelica, Eliza, and Peggy — wander the streets of New York, excited by the spirit of revolution in the air. The oldest, Angelica, is searching for minds that will challenge her own ("The Schuyler Sisters").

A vocal British loyalist preaches against the revolution, and Hamilton refutes and ridicules his statements ("Farmer Refuted"). A message arrives from King George III, reminding the colonists that he is willing and able to fight for their love ("You'll Be Back").

The revolution is underway, and Hamilton, Burr, and their friends join the Continental Army. As the army retreats from New York City, General George Washington realizes he needs help to win the war. Burr offers his services, but Washington is more interested in Hamilton. Though Hamilton desires a command and to fight on the front lines, he recognizes the opportunity Washington offers him, and accepts a position as his “Right Hand Man.”

In the winter of 1780, the men attend “A Winter’s Ball” given by Philip Schuyler, and Hamilton sets his sights on the man’s daughters. Eliza is instantly smitten, and after being introduced by Angelica, she and Hamilton soon wed (“Helpless”). Meanwhile, Angelica is also intellectually and physically attracted to Hamilton, but swallows her feelings for the sake of her sister’s happiness (“Satisfied”). After Hamilton’s wedding, he and his friends celebrate. Burr arrives to offer congratulations, and privately admits to Hamilton that he is having an affair with the wife of a British officer. Hamilton advises him to take action (“The Story of Tonight (Reprise)”). Burr, however, prefers to wait and see what life has in store for him (“Wait For It”).

As the revolution continues, Hamilton repeatedly petitions Washington to give him command, but Washington refuses, instead promoting Charles Lee. This decision proves disastrous at the Battle of Monmouth, where Lee orders a retreat against Washington's orders, which prompts the commander to remove him from command in favor of Lafayette. Disgruntled, Lee spreads slanderous and vindictive rumors about Washington. Hamilton is offended, but Washington orders Hamilton to ignore the comments. Laurens volunteers to duel Lee so that Hamilton may avoid disobeying Washington's orders ("Stay Alive"). Laurens wins the duel by injuring Lee ("Ten Duel Commandments"). Washington is enraged at the duel and angrily reprimands Hamilton for participating, then orders him to return home to his wife ("Meet Me Inside"). When Hamilton returns home, Eliza tells him she is pregnant with a son. She reassures a hesitant Hamilton that he is enough for her as long as he allows her to be a part of his life ("That Would Be Enough").

Lafayette takes a larger leadership role in the revolution, convincing France to join the American cause. With France on their side, the balance shifts in favor of the Continental Army. Washington and Lafayette realize they can win the war by cutting off the British navy at Yorktown, but they will need Hamilton to do so, and the general reluctantly gives him his long-awaited command ("Guns and Ships"). On the eve of battle, Washington recalls his disastrous first command, and advises Hamilton that no man can control how he is remembered ("History Has Its Eyes on You"). After several days of fighting, the Continental Army is victorious. The British surrender in the last major battle of the war ("Yorktown (The World Turned Upside Down)"). His forces defeated, King George sarcastically asks the rebels how they expect to govern on their own without their people hating them ("What Comes Next?").

Soon after the revolution, Hamilton’s son Phillip is born, while Burr has a daughter, Theodosia. The two men reflect on how to build a nation their children can inherit ("Dear Theodosia"). Hamilton's moment of peace is shattered when news arrives that Laurens has been killed in a skirmish with retreating British soldiers after the war had already ended (“Tomorrow There’ll Be More of Us”).

Hamilton and Burr both return to New York to finish their studies and pursue careers as lawyers. Burr is in awe of Hamilton's “Non-Stop” work ethic and becomes increasingly irritated by his success. Hamilton is chosen as a delegate to the Constitutional Convention and asks Burr's help in publishing a series of articles in support of the new U.S. Constitution, but Burr refuses, still hesitant to take action lest he choose the losing side. Hamilton instead enlists James Madison and John Jay to write The Federalist Papers without Burr. Angelica marries and moves overseas, but still holds affections for Hamilton. Eliza struggles to understand why she is being slowly marginalized out of his life. The newly elected President Washington enlists Hamilton for the job of Treasury Secretary. Over Eliza's protests, he accepts.

Act Two

In 1789, Thomas Jefferson returns to the U.S. from France, where he spent most of the revolution as an ambassador. Washington has asked him to be Secretary of State, and James Madison asks for Jefferson’s help to stop Hamilton's financial plan, which Madison believes gives the government too much control ("What'd I Miss?"). Jefferson and Hamilton then engage in debate over the merits of Hamilton's financial plan during a Cabinet meeting. Washington orders a break as the debate gets heated, pulls Hamilton aside, and tells him to figure out a compromise to win over Congress ("Cabinet Battle #1").

Hamilton begins working at home, and on Phillip's ninth birthday, he amazes his father by performing a short rap. Eliza asks Hamilton to accompany her on vacation upstate at her father's home, but Hamilton refuses, saying that he has to work on his plan for Congress. In England, Angelica trades correspondence with Hamilton, advising him to convince Jefferson of his plan in order for Congress to accept it. She travels to the U.S. to join the Hamiltons on their vacation, and though she is excited to see Eliza, she is saddened that Alexander won't be joining them. In the end, the Schuyler sisters go without him ("Take a Break").

While alone, Hamilton is visited by Maria Reynolds, who claims her husband is mistreating her. When Hamilton offers to help her, she seduces him and they begin an affair. Maria's husband James Reynolds blackmails Hamilton into paying him money. Hamilton is furious with Maria, but pays Reynolds and continues the affair ("Say No To This").

Hamilton tells Burr that he'll be yielding Burr's old advice to "talk less, smile more" to get his plan approved. Hamilton leaves to discuss his plan with Jefferson and Madison over a private dinner, which results in the Compromise of 1790, giving support to Hamilton's financial plan in exchange for moving the United States capital from New York to Virginia. Burr is envious of Hamilton's sway in the government and wishes he had similar power ("The Room Where It Happens").

Burr defeats Eliza’s father, Philip Schuyler, in a race for his seat in the Senate. Hamilton accuses Burr of switching to Jefferson’s party, the Democratic-Republicans, solely to run against Hamilton’s father-in-law. Burr says he was simply seizing the opportunity, but Hamilton doesn't believe him, driving a wedge between the two friends ("Schuyler Defeated").

In another cabinet meeting, Jefferson and Hamilton argue over whether the United States should assist France in their revolution. Washington ultimately agrees with Hamilton’s argument for remaining neutral ("Cabinet Battle #2"). After the meeting, Burr, Jefferson, and Madison bemoan how nice it must be for Hamilton to always have Washington's support, and they seek a way to damage Hamilton's image ("Washington on Your Side").

Washington tells Hamilton that Jefferson has resigned from his position in government in order to run for president, and that Washington himself is stepping down. Hamilton is shocked, but Washington convinces him that it is the right thing to do, and they write a farewell address ("One Last Time"). In England, King George III receives news about Washington's step down from leadership and the election of John Adams. The king exits merrily, ready for the United States to fall under Adams' leadership ("I Know Him").

Adams and Hamilton have a huge altercation and effectively destroy the Federalist Party ("The Adams Administration"). Thinking they have discovered a scandal capable of destroying Hamilton, Jefferson, Madison and Burr accuse him of embezzling government money and committing treason. In reality, however, they found the transactions from his affair with Maria Reynolds. Hamilton, knowing that the truth is the only way out, tells them about his affair and begs them not to tell anyone ("We Know"). Still worried that they will tell, Hamilton thinks about how writing openly and honestly has saved him in the past ("Hurricane"), and publicly writes “The Reynolds Pamphlets” to come clean about the affair, hoping to save his political legacy. His personal reputation, however, is ruined. In despondence, Eliza burns their correspondence, destroying Hamilton’s chance at being redeemed by “future historians” and keeping the world from knowing how she reacted ("Burn").

Years pass, and Hamilton’s son Phillip, now nineteen, is praised for having the same intelligence, charm, and good looks as his father. Phillip challenges a man named George Eacker to a duel for his slander of Hamilton’s reputation. Hamilton orders Phillip to aim his gun to the sky instead of at Eacker, saying that if Eacker is a man of honor he will follow suit. Phillip aims for the sky from the beginning of the duel, but at the count of seven, Eacker shoots him ("Blow Us All Away"). Phillip is taken to a doctor, and Hamilton and Eliza rush to his side, but it is too late ("Stay Alive (Reprise)"). In the aftermath of Phillip’s death, the Hamiltons move uptown and become reclusive while “going through the unimaginable.” Hamilton asks for and receives Eliza’s forgiveness (“It’s Quiet Uptown”).

“The Election of 1800” results in President John Adams being defeated, with Jefferson and Burr deadlocked in a tie. Burr visits Hamilton to lobby for support, and tells him that he's doing everything he can to be president. Hamilton is upset that Burr has once again changed his ideals for personal gain, and instead throws his support behind Jefferson, who ends up winning by a landslide. Burr, enraged, exchanges letters with Hamilton and challenges him to a duel (“Your Obedient Servant”). Before sunrise on the morning of the duel, Eliza asks Hamilton to come back to bed, but he says he has to leave, not telling her why ("Best of Wives and Best of Women").

Burr and Hamilton travel to New Jersey for the duel. Burr points out that Hamilton is wearing his glasses, which he concludes must mean Hamilton intends to take deadly aim. The men raise their guns to shoot, and as a shot sounds, Hamilton soliloquizes on death, his relationships, and his legacy. He aims his pistol at the sky and is struck by Burr’s shot, dying soon after. Burr laments that even though he survived, he's cursed to be the villain in history, remembered only as the man who killed Alexander Hamilton ("The World Was Wide Enough").

The company congregates to close the story. Washington enters and reminds the audience that they have no control “Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story.” Eliza explains how she tells her husband’s story over the next fifty years, fighting to save his legacy, but still frets that she has not done enough. After her death, she joins Hamilton in the afterlife, and the company asks the audience who will tell their story.[5]

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