Hamilton's America (2016) Movie Script

-Next on "Great Performances,"
how did a musical
based on the life
of an overlooked founding father
become the hottest ticket
in town?
The ship
is in the harbor now
See if you can spot him
-Find out as composer
Lin-Manuel Miranda
takes us on his personal journey
from original inspiration
to Broadway sensation.
-I grabbed a biography off
the shelf of Alexander Hamilton,
and I found it deeply moving
and deeply personal
when I read it.
- I'm the damn fool
that shot him
-Something that really
sort of spoke to me
when I was, you know,
reading this story
and beginning
to research and write it
is that moment
when you trade away capital
in exchange for the debt plan.
We call it "The Room
Where It Happens."
- I've got to be
- The room where it happens
- I've got to be
- The room where it happens
- Oh, I've got to be in
- The room where it happens
I got to be, I got to be
-Be in the room
where it happens
when history steps off the page
and onto the stage
in "Hamilton's America,"
[ Indistinct conversations ]
[ Orchestra tuning ]
[ Up-tempo music plays ]
-We're on Broadway.
We're at the
Richard Rodgers Theatre.
But at the same time,
it feels exactly the same
as when I was
in "Pirates of Penzance"
in ninth grade.
It's such a kick
to get to play dress-up
and sing songs for an audience.
I know there are certain actors
who are like,
"Once I get the wig,
once I get the shoes,
I know who the character is."
I don't know that I'm like that.
I do know
that my posture
certainly changes
when I'm in the clothes,
but it really
doesn't start for me
until I see everybody else
in their costume.
And you get that
moment of community
where we're all agreeing
to just create this world
for people.
There's the part of my brain
that works really hard
on making "Hamilton"
historically accurate
and exciting and high-stakes.
And then there's the charge
and the adrenaline
that comes
from performing something
and hearing a response.
-Places, please.
All cast to places.
-Uh. Oops.
I'm still married.
Thank you.
-Mr. President.
-Oh, hey, man.
- In New York,
you can be a new man
- Just you wait
- In New York,
you can be a new man
- Just you wait
- In New York,
you can be a new man
- In New York
- New York
- Just you wait
- Alexander Hamilton
- Alexander Hamilton
- We are waiting
in the wings for you
- Waiting in the wings
for you
- You could never back down
- You never learned
to take your time
Oh, Alexander Hamilton
- Alexander Hamilton
- When America sings for you
- Will they know
what you overcame?
Will they know
you rewrote the game?
The world will
never be the same
- Oh-oh oh
- The ship
is in the harbor now
See if you can spot him
- Just you wait
- Another immigrant
coming up from the bottom
- Just you wait
- His enemies
destroyed his rep
America forgot him
- We fought with him
- Me? I died for him
- Me? I trusted him
- Me? I loved him
- And me?
I'm the damn fool
that shot him
-[ Echoing ] Shot him
- There's a million things
I haven't done
But just you wait
- What's your name, man?
- Alexander Hamilton
[ Final chord plays ]
[ Door unlocking ]
-Ta-da! [ Laughs ]
Everything in my life
is under construction.
My wife, Vanessa, and I
bought this place last year.
We've been working on it
almost a year.
There's a piano under here,
believe it or not.
[ Piano plays off-key ]
I'm in this crazy
holding pattern right now.
I'm just waiting for the next
chapter of my life to start.
There's a kid
coming in November.
Two weeks after the kid is born,
we start rehearsals
for "Hamilton."
And then that becomes
whatever it becomes.
And, um
-- And I'm just sort of --
This is like the --
This is the part
of the roller coaster
where we're just going up.
[ Piano plays off-key ]
That's one note I'm playing,
and it's a full chord.
[ Piano plays off-key ]
So there will be some tuning.
[ Piano plays off-key ]
We're in the heart
of Washington Heights.
It literally looks like
the set of "In the Heights"
when you look out the window.
I can't get away from my shows.
[ Orchestra plays
up-tempo Latin music ]
My first Broadway
show was "In the Heights."
It's about three days
in the life of a block
in Washington Heights, New York,
where I grew up.
Won some awards,
and it was pretty much
a dream come true.
[ Music ends ]
[ Cheers and applause ]
The idea for "Hamilton"
came to me totally by surprise
while I was on vacation
at "In the Heights."
-I grabbed a biography
off the shelf
of Alexander Hamilton
'cause I wanted a big,
fat book to read on vacation,
and I found it deeply moving
and deeply personal
when I read it.
It was just such
a compelling ride.
-Lin invited me to
"In the Heights."
And I went backstage,
and he said,
"Ron, I was reading the book,
and hip-hop songs
started rising off the page."
And I said to him, "Really?"
-I said, "This is Tupac.
This is Biggie.
This is a hip-hop story.
This is my next show."
So, who was Alexander Hamilton,
besides being the dude
on the $10,
the best-looking
founding father?
He was George Washington's
chief of staff
during the Revolutionary War,
and he was our first
treasury secretary.
But before that,
he was an immigrant.
He was born in the Caribbean.
But he came to our country
and, by sheer force
of will and intellect,
changed our country forever.
-I don't even really know
if I knew
who Alexander Hamilton was.
I knew was on a --
he was on our currency.
-Alexander Hamilton is one
of the unsung heroes
of our country.
-Yeah, well, that's
the way history works.
Sometimes it takes a while
for people to give you credit.
-Hamilton saw
the opportunity
when an -- an immigrant
could come to this country,
get a little education,
have some great ideas,
work hard, and build something.
Pretty amazing guy.
-Hamilton was born
on the island of Nevis.
Nevis is a very beautiful
and colorful volcanic island
in the Caribbean.
But the day-to-day reality
was very brutal and violent,
like most of the Caribbean
islands at that time.
It was dominated by
sugar and cotton plantations.
-Most people in America
think of the slave trade
as Africa to North America,
but most of them
went to the Caribbean.
And so Hamilton was
right in the middle
of this huge, huge market.
Even people who were not
terribly well-to-do
could have one or two
slaves in Nevis.
And his family did.
-Hamilton's mother, Rachel,
had just fled
an unhappy marriage
when she met his father,
James Hamilton.
But under the terms
of her divorce,
she wasn't able to remarry,
which meant that Hamilton
and his brother had to grow up
with the stigma of illegitimacy,
which was very real
in those days.
And so Hamilton goes
through some really rough...
between birth and getting
out of the island.
-When Hamilton was 11,
James Hamilton abandoned Rachel
and the two sons
on the island of Saint Croix.
Not long afterwards, Rachel
contracted a lethal fever,
which she then communicated
to Alexander.
- In the eye of a hurricane
There is quiet
for just a moment
A yellow sky
I was 12
when my mother died
She was holding me
We were sick,
and she was holding me
I couldn't seem to die
-Hamilton suddenly
found himself,
at the age of 13,
an illegitimate orphan
in poverty,
and so he immediately
had to go to work.
-He worked for a trading charter
as a kid,
so he's getting
firsthand economic education
because the people
who actually own it
are off on ships, trading.
And he's in charge of the books
back home.
- When I was 17,
a hurricane destroyed my town
I didn't drown
I couldn't seem to die
-A hurricane
destroys Saint Croix.
He writes a letter
about the destruction he saw,
and it's so beautifully written
that a newspaper publishes it.
-It was impressive enough
and eloquent enough
that people got together
a charitable fund
to send him to North America,
to the North American colonies,
so he could get
a real education.
-And that's how he
gets off the island.
He literally writes his way
out of his circumstances.
And it's so much the
quintessential immigrant story
of redefining yourself
when you come
to a new place.
And the sense I got,
really early
in Ron Chernow's
Hamilton biography,
was this sense of,
"I know this guy."
The fact that Hamilton
left the Caribbean
to come to New York
to get his education --
I always tell people, "I'm just
playing my dad in the show..."
-[ Laughs ]
-...down to the hair.
Tell me about coming
to New York for the first time.
What brought you here?
-I got a great opportunity
to come and study at NYU.
I left Puerto Rico
when I was 18.
I always thought,
"Puerto Rico is just too small.
I-I got to see more."
I graduated.
Then I was involved in advocacy,
but I realized that I wanted
to do something different,
so I joined
the Ed Koch administration,
mayor of New York City,
in '87.
You know, in my experience,
immigrants are never
the lazy ones.
They're not the stupid ones.
They're the smart, hard workers
'cause they have to work
so much harder
to make sense of their reality
and succeed in that reality.
I always saw my time here
as a temporary thing.
But then I realized
that this is where
I was gonna raise my children.
Then we stay here forever.
-"Bye, Puerto Rico."
And that was it.
And then you were a New Yorker.
-Alexander Hamilton is
in New York
just at the time
as the tremendous ferment
of the American Revolution
is starting.
On the Common,
what is today City Hall Park,
Alexander Hamilton
is delivering fiery speeches.
He also had established
his bona fides
as one of the most feared
polemical writers in New York.
-I really keyed into how much
of a New York story it was.
These blocks
that I've passed all my life
have all along been
these incredible sources
of rich American history.
I don't think a lot
of people know that.
When we think of
the founding fathers,
we think of them
in some room in Philadelphia,
you know, hashing it out.
It's like
a John Trumbull painting.
But they were here.
They were uptown,
like the Grange
in Hamilton Heights
on 141st Street,
which is where Hamilton
and his wife
lived for the last few years
of his life.
-This was Hamilton's study,
and --
-It's the right color.
-Right. [ Laughs ] Money green.
This is a reproduction
of Hamilton's laptop,
or his traveling desk.
He would write
everywhere and anywhere.
He wrote under trees.
He wrote on --
on horseback.
He wrote in carriages.
-I mean, the tonnage
of his writing, it's --
The sheer amount that he had,
he must have had something
with him all the time
to be writing on
because he never would have
produced the amount that he did.
Oh, my goodness.
All right.
Can I touch the desk?
I won't. That's cool.
This just makes me feel like
I have to go home and write.
[ Both laugh ]
I started writing
that first song
that's just about his childhood.
I wanted to sort of
encapsulate that
in two hip-hop verses.
-The strongest candidate
is the candidate
who wins the most elections.
Barack Obama
has won 29 contests.
Hillary Clinton
has won 13 contests.
-And I worked on it for about
a year at "In the Heights,"
while I'm still doing
eight shows a week.
-Lin didn't say,
"I was writing a show."
Lin said, "I'm writing a song."
So, he said,
"I read this book,
and I think
there's something there.
I think I might do
a series of songs."
And I said, "Great. Go. Write."
[ Applause ]
-I'd only written this one song
when the White House
called and said,
"We're doing an evening
of spoken word,
but if you have anything
on the American experience,
that would be great."
I said, "I got a hot 16
about Hamilton."
[ Piano plays up-tempo music ]
How does a bastard, orphan,
son of a whore and a Scotsman
Dropped in the middle
of a forgotten spot
In the Caribbean
by providence
Impoverished, in squalor
Grow up to be
a hero and a scholar?
-The first day Lin
brought the opening number
of the show to me,
I'm like, "It's about history,
but it's rap?
Uh, okay.
Is it serious?
Sure. Whatever."
I remember, it wasn't
till I actually heard it
all the way through,
I'm like, "Wow, this is real."
- There would've been
nothin' left to do
For someone less astute
He would've been
dead or destitute
a cent of restitution
Started workin', clerkin'
for his late mother's landlord
Tradin' sugar cane and rum
and other things
he can't afford
Scammin' for...
When they posted videos
of the evening,
my performance went viral,
and we were sort of
off to the races after that.
We realized,
"There's a show here."
I'm the damn genius
that shot him
[ Final chord plays ]
[ Cheers and applause ]
So, I started writing songs
at the amazing pace
of a song a year.
After two years of working,
I had two songs to show for it.
-"So, you've written two songs
in two and a half years.
We're gonna be very old
by the time
this is actually
gonna be complete,
so why don't we expedite it
a little bit?"
-And so, you know,
I'm writing as fast as I can.
But that's how it gets done.
You know, you set these
deadlines, and you meet them.
-I have more than once
compared Lin to Shakespeare,
and I do it
without blushing or apologizing.
Lin, in "Hamilton,"
is doing exactly
what Shakespeare did
in his history plays.
He's taking the voice
of the common people,
elevating it to poetry --
in Shakespeare's case,
iambic pentameter,
in Lin's case, rap, rhyme,
hip-hop, R&B --
and by elevating it to poetry,
ennobling the people themselves.
He is bringing out what is noble
about the common tongue.
And that is something
that nobody has done
as effectively as Lin
since Shakespeare.
Yeah, I said it.
- ...handle
our financial situation
Are we a nation of states?
What's the state
of our nation?
I'm past patiently waitin'
I'm passionately smashin'
every expectation
Every action's
an act of creation
I'm laughin' in the face
of casualties and sorrow
For the first time,
I'm thinkin' past tomorrow
And I am not
throwin' away my shot
I am not throwin' away
my shot
Hey, yo, I'm just like...
I write everywhere.
I write on trains.
I write --
I write wherever I can.
And sometimes, a couple of days,
I've written
in Aaron Burr's bedroom.
It's pretty amazing
to be in the space
where he was
in the later part of his life.
Talk about artist
in residence -- literally.
This is my "Hamilton"
writing desk.
I sit here.
I sit on the floor.
I don't sit
on the Colonial furniture.
You keep shootin' off
at the mouth
[ Chuckles ]
There's a song in the show
called "My Shot,"
and it's Hamilton's big
sort of "I want" song.
It's the second song
in the show.
We see him make
his group of friends --
the Marquis de Lafayette,
John Laurens,
Hercules Mulligan,
and Aaron Burr,
who is a colleague and a friend.
And I'm sort of putting him
into the song --
'cause these are guys
who are oil and water,
but they come up together.
revolutionaries together.
They're soldiers together.
They're lawyers together.
They're elected officials
And at some point,
one shoots the other.
-Yeah, I-I come out in the first
three minutes of the show,
and I say, "I'm the damn fool
that shot him."
And so what that tells me
as an actor is that,
that is not a secret
that we're keeping.
That's not a piece of the puzzle
that we are hiding
behind our back.
So, then what
it's about is about --
it's about the fracture.
It's about watching
where exactly the moment is
that it all changes.
-Whereas Alexander Hamilton
was an illegitimate
orphan kid from the Caribbean
who was born into shame
and misery,
Aaron Burr was really born
into American aristocracy.
It looks like he's going to
have this very luxurious life.
By the time Aaron Burr
is 2 years old,
his mother's died,
his father's died.
He's farmed out to relatives
who bring him up.
He then goes
to Princeton college,
graduates by the time he was 16,
so that Burr was as much
of a prodigy as Hamilton was.
And so it's the first
of many strange parallels
in the lives
of Alexander Hamilton
and Aaron Burr.
-A lot of the revising process
is continuing to check in
on that relationship.
It is the most important
relationship in the show.
So, right now,
I'm working on lyrics,
working Burr into
the second song in the show.
[ Singing indistinctly ]
There's a section
where they're doing shots
and saying what they would do
with their shot.
So, Lafayette,
whose command of English
is not so great, goes...
With my shot, I dream
of life without monarchy
The something stress
in France
will lead to "onarchy"
-"Onarchy?" How you say?
Oh, "anarchy."
When I fight, I make the
other side panicky with my
- Shot
-And then Hercules Mulligan,
who was a tailor's apprentice,
My shot
Yo, I'm
a tailor's apprentice
And I got
y'all knuckleheads
In loco parentis
- I'm joining the rebellion
'Cause I know it's my chance
to socially advance
Instead of sewin' some pants
I'm gonna take a
- Shot
-And then Laurens, who is
a fierce abolitionist, goes...
But we'll never
be truly free
Until those in bondage
Have the same rights
as you and me
- You and I, do or die
Wait till I sally in
on a stallion
With the first
black battalion
Have another
- Shot
-And so now
I'm working on Burr
sort of jumping in on this,
Geniuses, lower your voices
If you keep out of trouble,
then you double your choices
Shooting off at the mouth,
shooting from the hip
Shooting the...
Or, "Something, shooty, shooty,
shooty, shooty,
shooty, shooty, shot."
I haven't figured out
how it works yet.
- Geniuses, lower your voices
You keep out of trouble,
and you double your choices
I'm with you,
but the situation is fraught
You've got to be
carefully taught
If you talk,
you're gonna get shot
-And the Hamilton comes in
and, as was his genius,
synthesizes it all.
- Burr, check what we got
Mr. Lafayette,
hard rock like Lancelot
I think your pants
look hot
Laurens, I like you a lot,
let's hatch a plot
Blacker than the kettle
callin' the pot
What are the odds the gods
would put us all in one spot?
Poppin' a squat
on conventional wisdom
Like it or not
A bunch of revolutionary
manumission abolitionists
- Give me a position
Show me where
the ammunition is
And then I want him to sort of
stun his friends into silence.
- Oh, am I talkin' too loud?
Sometimes I get overexcited,
shoot off at the mouth
I never had
a group of friends before
I promise
that I'll make y'all proud
-Little beat of silence,
and Laurens goes,
"Let's get this guy
in front of a crowd."
And then we go
into the chorus.
- And I'm not
throwin' away my shot
I am not
throwin' away my shot
Hey, yo,
I'm just like my country
I'm young, scrappy,
and hungry
And I'm not
throwin' away my shot
We gonna rise up
- Not throwin' away my shot
- Time to take a shot
We gonna rise up
- Not throwin' away my shot
- Time to take a shot
- We gonna rise up, rise up
- It's time to take a shot
- Rise up, rise up
- It's time to take a shot
- Rise up
- It's time to take a shot
Rise up
It's time to take a shot
- Oh-oh, oh
- Take a shot, shot, shot
It's time to take a shot,
time to take a shot
And I am not
throwin' away my
- Not throwin' away my shot
[ Final chord plays ]
-Hamilton didn't really
meet Lafayette, Laurens,
and Mulligan all at once
in the same bar,
but we're gonna meet them all
at once because we got to go.
We've got
a lot of story to tell,
and we want to get you out
before "Les Mis"
gets out next door.
I'm a big fan of musicals
that attempt to wrestle
history to the stage,
and everyone writing
a musical about history
is standing
in the shadow of Sondheim,
standing in the shadow
of John Weidman.
Why do we go to history?
Why is real life more
interesting than whole cloth?
-It's interesting
because what happens is,
when you live through history,
you don't know it's history,
you know?
-And you so you
have to talk to John.
John's a historian.
I only write historical
shows with John
because I love going to school
and learning, but history --
I couldn't get into it,
as we say.
And I think maybe
John was the person
who got me interested
in history very late in life.
-In all the shows that Steve
and I have written together,
including "Assassins,"
you reach a point, I think,
where the research is over and
you then invent the character
who actually existed
in history and --
-But they're still partly
defined by what they did.
That's the event.
and that's what the audience
will bring into the theater
with them,
so you have to be aware of that.
But they live in a kind
of a penumbral area,
where they are who they were,
but they're also
who you want them to be.
-Well, that leads me
to a really good bit of advice
you gave me early
when I was writing "Hamilton."
I was drowning in research.
And what you told me was,
"Just write the parts
you think are a musical."
And that forms its own spine.
- You'll be back
Soon you'll see
You'll remember
you belong to me
You'll be back
Time will tell
You'll remember
that I served you well
-King George just
sort of showed up in my brain.
It doesn't make sense on paper
that he should be a character
in this musical.
He's all the way across
the ocean, far from the events.
He and Hamilton never met.
At the same time,
to give him these moments
throughout the show
robs the American Revolution
of its inevitability.
-Each piece of music is specific
to an emotion and a character.
Even though it's about history,
Lin has found a way
lyrically and musically
to connect it to now.
And so having the King George
be like a breakup song
from Britain to America,
I feel like, makes it
really relatable.
- When you're gone,
I'll go mad
So don't throw away
this thing we had
'Cause when
push comes to shove
I will kill
your friends and family
To remind you of my love
-None of the shows we're talking
about are documentaries.
None of them are book reports
with songs added.
I mean, ultimately,
they're artists' inventions.
-I got into the history
through the characters.
John got into the history
that surrounded the characters,
and then we met there.
He sparks me, and I spark him.
Or, as George Furth said,
"I collabor him,
and he collabors me."
[ Laughter ]
[ Piano plays ]
-One, two, three.
Ah, ah, ah
And then to...
"Raise a glass to freedom,"
maybe seven, "something
they can never take away,"
and then go through the chorus
and then go to Laurens --
I may not live
to see our glory
-Right, and Laurens was
the bringer of that.
The Cabinet meetings
are really my favorite part
of the process.
They are when I bring in a song
to my collaborators --
let's say,
"The Story of Tonight" --
and I go,
"Here's what I've written."
And then we pull it apart.
I don't want to lose the...
Duh-uh-uh uh uh
-Okay, okay.
-That's worth saving, to me.
-So, does that mean start it
and not --
-Not starting.
-Start it in the basement?
- Glass to freedom
- Raise a glass to freedom
Something they can
never take away
I wear a lot of hats
in "Hamilton."
I'm the music director.
I'm one of the arrangers
with Lin-Manuel.
I am the orchestrator.
I am the conductor.
I am the keyboard player.
I take on all those duties
just because I feel like
I have such a strong opinion
about how I think
something should sound,
but also because I feel like
I know what Lin is looking for.
I feel like I know how it is
that I can execute his vision.
I don't think it's about
tacking on another chorus
unless you think it
just needs that.
-No, I don't think we need it.
But I feel like Andy's
gonna have
a million things to weigh in on.
-Choreography, to me,
is the writing idea,
the lyric idea,
the emotional idea,
that then is exaggerated
into a heightened state,
and it becomes physicalized.
What's amazing
about our team is,
we're finishing each other's
sentences all the time.
What Lin writes
and Alex arranges
works for me, choreographically.
And my ideas meet
Tommy's sensibilities.
So, that's why our work
can be seamless.
That's why it seems like one
thing goes right into the next.
-Anything else with
the Hamilton-Washington
You guys good?
-I'm good.
-I'm good.
-All right, moving on.
As a very mediocre
American history major,
I was exposed to a lot
of these kinds
of stories
told in very different ways.
And what I wanted
to try to do was remove
any of the black-and-white
nostalgia, sepia tone,
and make this feel
vital and vibrant.
- Here comes the General
- Ladies and gentlemen
- Here comes the General
- The moment
you've been waiting for
- Here comes the General
- The pride of Mount Vernon
- Here comes the General
- George Washington
- We are outgunned
- What?
- Outmanned
- What?
- Outnumbered, outplanned
- Buck, buck, buck,
buck, buck
We got to
make an all-out stand
A-yo, I'm gonna need
a right-hand man
- Buck, buck, buck, buck,
-We're meeting Washington
at the crux
of the entire conflict.
Boston is over.
He's just lost New York.
His army is as close
to being annihilated
in that moment
as you could imagine.
-To meet him that way
suddenly takes us
out of the history books.
It takes us into the urgency of,
"Oh, we might not win."
-Initially, when the war begins,
there's a lot of retreating
on the part of Washington.
And what he's trying to do,
is just keep the war going.
-He's juggling how to get all of
these soldiers out of harm's way
and away from all of the ships
that are still
in New York Harbor.
He has no one to turn to.
Up pops Hamilton.
[ Mid-tempo music plays ]
- Have I done
something wrong, sir?
- On the contrary,
I called you here
Because our odds
are beyond scary
Your reputation precedes you,
but I have to laugh
- Sir?
- Hamilton, how come
No one can get you
on their staff?
- Sir
- Don't get me wrong
You're a young man,
of great renown
I know you stole
British cannons
When we were still downtown
Nathanael Greene
and Henry Knox
Wanted to hire you
- Yeah, to be their secretary
I don't think so
- Now, why are you upset?
- I'm not
- It's all right
You want to fight,
you've got a hunger
I was just like you
when I was younger
Head full of fantasies
of dyin' like a martyr?
- Yes
- Dying is easy, young man
Living is harder
-It's really fair to say
that, without Washington,
Hamilton would not have had
someone to enable him
to achieve the things
that he achieved.
Conversely, without Hamilton,
Washington wouldn't have had
someone there
to help him and advise him.
When you're in someone
like Washington's position,
you don't -- there aren't many
people that you can truly trust.
-Hamilton had distinguished
himself multiple times
as a warrior.
It was probably one reason
why he was frustrated
that he was not then
promoted as a warrior,
but then was promoted
as a secretary,
an aide-de-camp
to George Washington.
- Boom
- I'll write to Congress
And tell 'em
you need supplies
You rally the guys
the element of surprise
- Chicka-boom
- I'll rise above my station,
organize your information
Till we rise to the occasion
of our new nation, sir
- Here comes the general
- Rise up
- What?
Here comes the general
- Rise up
- What?
Here comes the general
- Rise up
- What?
Here comes the general
- What?
- And his right-hand man
- Boom
[ Cannon fires ]
[ Birds chirping ]
-It's rare that you do a show
where you have so many
literal touchstones,
places that support the research
that you've done.
It's helped keep
the fire burning,
you know, day after day,
doing the show,
eight shows a week,
and being able
to imagine yourself
in a very real way
in those same footsteps.
-That would have been
Mr. and Mrs. Washington's room.
You're looking at it just
as they would have seen it.
-I can't even imagine how much
stress he must have been under.
-I can't, either.
-All of them, all those guys,
like, how much stress.
They must have been constantly,
every day just...
-When you got 20,000 people
just right outside your door
who are constantly,
you know, trying not to die.
-Trying not to die,
trying to figure out
how to stay alive, like...
Literally trying not to die.
-The front parlor
would have been used
by General Washington's
along with John Laurens.
They were
the two prominent secretaries
that worked for Washington here.
All the paperwork it took to
administer the Continental Army
is being done in this room here.
-As Washington's aide-de-camp,
Hamilton is doing everything
from sorting
through intelligence
to carrying out
prisoner exchanges.
He's writing essays.
He's writing letters.
He's teaching himself
about foreign currencies.
So, he was really using
the American Revolution
as a kind of crash course
in history and politics.
-Just being in Valley Forge,
you realize how much
ground they had to cover.
When he was like,
"Retreat, attack, retreat,
we're moving our men back,"
it's like --
that's, like, miles.
That's like crossing state lines
without a car
or horse and carriage.
Those are soldiers
that are, like, foot soldiers.
The scope of it was just so
much bigger and far more real.
-Y'all be having
reenactments out there?
-Yeah, we do it
every now and then.
We'll do cannon firing
and that kind of thing.
-Will they let us fire a cannon?
-We'll get you on a musket.
How's that?
-You know?
-There. See?
-Hell, that's --
that's nothing --
that's good.
-I'll fire the...
out of a musket.
[ Laughter ]
-Hamilton, by all accounts,
was girl-crazy.
And so throughout
the Revolutionary War,
he's not only searching
for military glory,
but he's searching
for the woman of his dreams.
-Where are you taking me?
-I'm about
to change your life.
-Then by all means,
lead the way.
-Elizabeth Schuyler.
It's a pleasure to meet you.
-My sister.
-Thank you for all your service.
-If it takes fighting a war
for us to meet,
it will have been worth it.
-I'll leave you to it.
-Eliza and Alexander
essentially met during a war.
Hamilton was camped
a couple miles away
from the house
that Eliza was staying in.
-This is the house
where Elizabeth Schuyler
came to visit
with her uncle and aunt.
Her aunt realized
that, you know,
it's hard to find a boy
during wartime.
They've all gone to the front.
-Go visit Auntie
and meet some men.
[ Laughter ]
-And she met the guy
who was staying next door --
Alexander Hamilton.
- Helpless
- I am so into you
- Look into your eyes
- I am so into you
- And the sky's the limit
- I'm helpless
- I know I'm
- Down for the count
And I'm
- Drownin' in 'em
-Everyone immediately noticed
that Hamilton
and his future sister-in-law,
Angelica, were very
enamored of each other.
-Hamilton met Angelica first,
and, oh, their connection
is actually really strong
and intense
and is intellectual.
-Lin actually credits Angelica
with being the smartest
person in the show.
What she could do with her pen,
what she could probably do
with a look [Chuckles]
was very, very potent
and probably had to be.
- I've been reading
"Common Sense" by Thomas Paine
So men say that I'm intense
or I'm insane
You want a revolution?
I want a revelation
So listen to my declaration
We hold these truths
to be self-evident
That all men
are created equal
And when I meet
Thomas Jefferson
- Oh
- I'm-a compel him
To include women
in the sequel
-In this period,
women were still
very much assumed
to have a certain role,
but that said,
it's also important to note
that the Revolution
politicized women.
It politicized enslaved people.
It politicized people
who were there at the time,
living the Revolution.
It's important to remember
that it's not just men
who assumed that.
-The wives of the
founding fathers
also really had
a place in history.
They worked as hard
as the men did.
And Abigail Adams
asked her husband
not to forget the ladies.
- Look around, look around
At how lucky we are
to be alive right now
- History is happening
in Manhattan
And we just happen to be
In the greatest city
in the world
In the greatest city
in the world
- Work, work
- Angelica
- Work, work
- Eliza
- And Peggy
- Work, work
- The Schuyler sisters
- Work, work
- We're looking
for a mind at work
- Work
- Hey
- Work, work
- Hey, whoa-ah
- Work
- In the greatest city
- In the greatest city
- In the wo-o-o-rld
- In the greatest city
in the world
-I'm gonna fix myself
a gin and tonic
because the only thing
in my fridge
is tonic water and some ketchup.
There are three major projects
happening right now.
It was our first day
of rehearsal.
There's my infant child,
who turned two weeks old today.
And then there's the apartment,
which is finally ready,
but now doesn't have people
to help unpack it.
We worked really hard
all weekend,
[Laughing] and this is
as far as we got.
We start staging next week,
so we have the week
to learn all the music,
52 songs,
not including the ones
I haven't written yet.
Today, the second song
we taught was "Yorktown,"
and Hamilton's line,
"Then again, my Eliza's
expecting me,
not to mention
my Eliza's expecting,
so, you know, we got to go,
got to get the job done,
got to start a new nation,
got to meet my son!"
Like, Hamilton
in that moment
is actually where
I'm at in my life.
It's like he's got
one more battle to fight
before the war is over,
but he's also got
a kid on the way,
and his status depends
on how he does.
[ Laughing ] I'm
in exactly the same place,
which is nuts.
But I'm -- Yeah, I'm basically
near the end of act one.
[ Piano plays soft music ]
-[ Rapping ]
The battle of Yorktown
- Monsieur Hamilton
- Monsieur Lafayette
- In command
where you belong
- How you say, no sweat
We're finally
on the field
We've had quite a run
- Immigrants
- We get the job done
[ Light laughter ]
keeps badgering Washington
until Washington gives him
his first field command
at Yorktown,
and Hamilton does not
waste the opportunity.
He led a bayonet charge.
Hamilton's men rose
out of the trench,
under the glare of shells
exploding in the sky above them.
They charged to the parapet
of this fortification,
and within 10 minutes,
he had taken
this fortification.
So, Hamilton, who had dreamed
of battlefield glory
from the time that he was
in his early teens,
suddenly has it
big-time at Yorktown.
There were still
skirmishes going on,
but for all intents
and purposes,
the war ends with Yorktown.
It's clear at that point
who will be the victor.
-We booked a slot to open
the show at the Public Theater,
home of "Hair"
and "Chorus Line," "Runaways,"
"Passing Strange," countless
other landmark musicals.
-This is one of those nights
where you feel the earth shake
a little bit,
you feel the world
start to change.
This is opening night
of "Hamilton."
Congratulations to all of you.
[ Crowd cheers ]
-We've been working on this
for 5 1/2 years,
and here we are,
pushing it off into the world.
And to see people react to it
and respond to it
and be moved by it is --
it's all you could ever
hope for, so we're thrilled.
-My parents saw "Runaways"
on their wedding night.
This...is in my blood.
[ Laughter ]
-I have never in my life
a musical that has penetrated
the American culture
faster than "Hamilton."
-It's called "Hamilton."
It's about Alexander Hamilton.
I know it's at
the Public Theater.
Tarik, you saw it, too, right?
Quest, you saw it?
-Yeah. Yeah.
-What --
How amazing is this play?
-It's life-changing.
-After the first two songs,
you --
I looked at my wife,
and we were like,
"This might be
the greatest thing,
like, we've ever seen ever."
And you kind of look around
at the other people
sitting there,
like, "Are we right?"
Like, "This is the best thing
that's -- Right?
We're all on the same --"
But you can't say that
'cause people are acting
and performing,
but you're almost in tears.
-We sell out our extensions
as quickly as they go on sale,
and the decision
is made pretty quickly --
we're going to Broadway.
-On Sunday, tickets
go on sale for Broadway,
Richard Rodgers Theatre.
Be there.
Thank you for coming
this afternoon.
[ Crowd cheers ]
-Our show opened on Tuesday,
and the world blew up.
This is crazy.
I don't know
what the future holds.
I know that our show opened
and everyone freaked out.
And that's where we're at.
- The world
turned upside down
Down, down, down, down
- Freedom for America,
freedom for France
- Down, down, down
- Got to start a new nation,
got to meet my son
- Down, down, down
- We won
- We won
- We won
- We won
- The world
turned upside down
[ Indistinct shouting ]
[ Up-tempo music plays ]
-[ Rapping indistinctly ]
Six years of labor,
these are the fruits
I'm onstage
with The...Roots
[ Crowd cheers ]
This is the act upon...
And so
we're crackin' the pod
This party's gonna
go till like half past 7:00
I swear to...God,
I died and went to heaven
It's The Roots
-Give it up,
ladies and gentlemen
for "L" double "M"!
-I've been a fan of The Roots as
long as The Roots have existed.
Maybe the most nerve-racking
I've ever done was when I knew
Ahmir and Tarik were
in the audience.
-What immediately drew me in
to "Hamilton"
was this was someone
who, you know, was an emcee
in his own right.
Sometimes in hip-hop, we say,
"Real recognize real."
So, I could recognize
immediately that Lin
was a real one
and that this was a real story.
-There's double and triple
meanings and layers upon layers.
I mean, I've had to see
"Hamilton" eight or nine times
to get references
that I didn't get
the first eight times
that I saw it.
-What Lin was able to do
is create different styles
for each character.
So, George Washington raps
in this very
sort of metronomic way
because that is similar
to how he thinks.
It's all right on beat.
You know, Lafayette
has to figure it out.
Lafayette is -- is rapping
in a real, like, simple,
sort of like early-'80s
rap cadence at first
and then, by the end, is doing
these crazy
double- and triple-time things.
- Lafayette
- I'm takin' this horse
by the reins
Makin' Redcoats redder
with bloodstains
- Lafayette
- And I'm never gonna stop
Until I make 'em drop
and burn 'em up
And scatter their remains,
- Lafayette
- Watch me engagin' em,
escapin' em, enragin' em
- Lafayette
- I go to France
for more funds
- Lafayette
- I come back with more guns
-In just two to four
hip-hop bars,
you know, sometimes
there are more lyrics
than a whole,
you know, classical song.
-[ Beatboxing ]
[ Light laughter ]
- That's the crunchiest sound
You'll ever hear
on the beatbox
And both those lips
are in detox
Yeah, slappin' the bass
right now
Freestylin' up in your face
right now
Oh, yeah, because
I'm gaspin', son
Because I'm right next
to the ass of Jasperson
[ Laughter ]
I grew up in the '90s,
and I think that's a golden age
for hip-hop.
The lyrical dexterity of artists
like Mobb Deep and Biggie
and Nas was just incredible.
When I was writing "Hamilton,"
I listened to "Takeover"
and "Ether" on a loop,
on a loop, on a loop.
-Hip-hop storytelling --
like, where do you start?
Do you start with the story?
Do you do start with a lyric?
Does it sort of
unlock something else?
-Really, I saw, like,
a hole in the rap game.
You know, all the rappers
I looked up to were mega stars.
And so if I wanted
to put my little two cents
in the rap game,
then it would be
from a different perspective.
I thought that I would represent
for my neighborhood...
-...and tell their story,
be their voice in a way
that nobody has done it.
-And I love the idea
of telling the stories
that you haven't
heard told before
and suddenly
making that fair game,
because I think
that's such an important part
of expanding
sort of the real estate
that hip-hop can cover.
You know, when it was my time,
it was like,
the phrase "keep it real"
became the thing.
-So, it was like,
"Tell the real story."
These things are my thoughts,
and let me express them.
It gives you freedom.
In hip-hop, no one can
tell you you're wrong
unless the rhymes are wack,
but --
[ Both laugh ]
But no one can tell you you're
wrong because it's your truth.
-The hip-hop in the musical
has gotten the most attention
'cause it's the most novel
and because Hamilton sings
in hip-hop,
but there's jazz,
soul, R&B,
and just plain
Broadway show tunes, as well.
- Hamilton doesn't hesitate
He exhibits no restraint
He takes and he takes
and he takes
And he keeps winning anyway
Changes the game, plays,
and he raises the stakes
And if there's a reason
he seems to thrive
when so few survive
Then God damn it,
I'm willing to wait for it
- Wait for it
- I'm willing to wait for it
-"Wait For It" speaks to Burr
and how he sees the world --
a world in which
he's seeing contemporaries
who started further back
than him lapping him.
-This is a man who lost
his entire family, really,
and then lost even
extended family.
I mean, he had one sister.
He even lost her.
-If Hamilton's response to loss
is to go as fast as he can,
Burr's response to loss is,
"I'm not gonna do anything until
I know it's the right move.
I'm alive.
Other people I love are dead.
There's a reason for that."
- Life doesn't discriminate
Between the sinners
and the saints
- It takes and it takes
and it takes
- It takes
- And we keep living anyway
- We rise
- We rise
And we fall and we break
- And we fall
- And we make our mistakes
- And if there's a reason
I'm still alive
When so many have died,
then I'm willing' to
[ Instrumental music plays ]
Wait for it
- Wait for it
-After the war,
Hamilton and Burr qualify
to be lawyers at almost
exactly the same time.
They then move
to opposite ends of Wall Street,
and they are the two
rising young men
in the New York
legal establishment.
And it was Alexander Hamilton
who personally issued the call
for a Constitutional Convention
in Philadelphia
in May 1787
and gave a six-hour speech
in which he proposed
his own form of government,
in which he says that there
would be a president
who would serve for life
on good behavior.
-For Hamilton to
stand up and say,
"Hey, let's get this guy in
and sort of make him
look pseudo-king-like,"
you know, having just
finished the Revolution --
that was really
It's really after
the Constitutional Convention
that Hamilton has his
major impact on this debate,
and that is with
what becomes known
as "The Federalist Essays."
It's going to confront
people's biggest fears
about this new Constitution.
It's a commercial advertisement
for the Constitution.
-I've read "The Federalist
Papers" many times over.
As an elected official,
as a person who takes office,
by swearing oath
to the Constitution,
I pretty much want to know
what that means, right?
And so it's important
not only to understand
what the Constitution is,
but to understand what
the principles are behind it.
And that's why you look
at "Hamilton."
That's why you look at
"The Federalist Papers."
That is the cornerstone
of this beautiful idea
we call the American experiment.
-Here we are, back at the scene.
-It's been a long way
since 2009.
-Yeah, it's nuts.
The First Lady tweeted
last week, "Alexander Hamilton,
we are waiting
in the East Wing for you."
-It's incredible.
It's incredible.
-It's crazy.
It's very weird to have FLOTUS
quote your lyrics.
[ Cheers and applause ]
-Are you all excited?
-I am -- I'm so excited!
Well, let me start by thanking
the extraordinary performers
from "Hamilton."
[ Cheers and applause ]
I saw the Off-Broadway version
of "Hamilton,"
and it was simply,
as I tell everybody,
the best piece of art
in any form
that I have ever seen
in my life.
So, thank you
for taking the time out
to spend an entire day here
and to bless us
with another performance.
Today they've come here to
spend the day with all of you.
I want you to take
advantage of this time.
-I'm not a really bright student
in the history department.
I've learned so much
from this musical
that I wouldn't have normally
learned in a history class.
And for you guys
to convey history
in the manner that you did --
was that your initial goal,
to inspire kids like me?
-In my high school, we
didn't have a theater program.
History was my drama program.
I saw each and every moment
in history
as the most
dramatic moment ever,
which it was to the people
who were taking part in it.
You might just take a second and
look at from the perspective
of, "Who's the protagonist?
Who's the antagonist?
What's at stake?"
You might find a world
there to unlock.
[ Orchestra tuning ]
-Here we are, performing
not just the opening number,
but an hour worth of material
with our full company
and our full band.
It feels like
this sort of homecoming,
a full-circle closing.
-Hey, man.
-Mr. President.
-Good to see you.
-Thank you for making
time for us.
This is so much fun.
-The first time you had me here
was in 2009.
-I was just supposed to sing
something from "In the Heights."
I sang "Hamilton" instead.
-When you told us,
"Well, I'm gonna do a rap
about Alexander Hamilton,"
we said, "Well, good luck
with that," right?
-[ Laughs ] Yeah.
That's the typical reaction.
-And after the performance,
I think all of us understood
not only
how much potential it had,
but what it did was capture
the fact that, you know,
the founding fathers were,
to some degree,
flying by the seats
of their pants...
-...and making it up
as they went along.
-And the fact
that the experiment worked
was a testimony to their genius.
And you can draw
a direct connection
between what
the founders were doing
and what we do today.
-Even today, we really do follow
the model of the executive
from what Washington
you know, so many years ago --
the two-term presidency,
establishing a Cabinet,
Washington sitting at the head.
Allowing for everyone
to have their own influence
in policy is --
is pretty significant.
-He's got kind of
a very small Cabinet,
and it'll turn out
to be Alexander Hamilton
as secretary of treasury,
Henry Knox as secretary of war,
Edmund Randolph as
the first attorney general,
and then Thomas Jefferson
as secretary of state.
-I think of Jefferson
as Bugs Bunny, man.
You know, I think of him
as this indefatigable winner,
who kind of comes in
with incredible confidence,
gets home.
He's already
secretary of state.
And he's like,
"All right, well, let's go."
- France is following us
to revolution
There is no more status quo
But the sun comes up
and the world still spins
- Ah-ooo
-Thomas Jefferson
has a lot to catch up on.
So, when we meet Jefferson,
he's still singing jazz songs,
and the rest of
the United States
has moved on to rap music.
And he doesn't --
he doesn't know that.
[ Chuckling ] Nobody told him.
[ Piano plays jazz ]
- So, what did I miss?
What did I miss, huh?
Virginia, my home sweet home,
I wanna give you a kiss
I've been in Paris meeting
lots of different ladies
I guess I basically missed
the late '80s
I traveled the wide, wide
world and came back to this
He misses the whole war
in France
and comes back and
is made secretary of state.
-He was the perfect person
to do this,
having come back
from this diplomatic mission.
So, it was his job to try
to represent the United States
and to let Washington know
about what he knew.
- Mr. Jefferson,
welcome home, sir
You've been off in Paris
for so long
- So, what did I miss?
-In Jefferson's absence,
Alexander Hamilton
has soared from obscurity
to one of the top posts
in government.
-Alexander Hamilton,
as treasury secretary,
was deputy president
in many ways.
-Hamilton has to create
much of the federal government
from scratch -- first
budget systems,
first tax systems,
first customs service,
first Coast Guard,
first monetary policy,
first central bank,
which was the direct forerunner
of the Federal Reserve.
-Hamilton had the core idea
about an aggressive role
for government
to help build an economy.
-Hamilton created
financial instruments
that enabled people to trade
and, therefore, facilitate
the movement of capital.
[ Bell clanging ]
-While Hamilton was
treasury secretary,
there were only five securities
traded on Wall Street.
Three of them
were treasury securities
created by Alexander Hamilton.
The fourth was the stock
of the Bank of New York,
created by Alexander Hamilton.
The fifth was the stock
of our first central bank
created by -- you know who --
Alexander Hamilton.
-I look at Alexander Hamilton
as the patron saint
of Wall Street.
-We're on the floor. This is --
-Yeah, it was --
-We're living
in Hamilton's world here.
-It's true.
And, you know, as I was coming
down to meet you this morning...
-...I got the chills.
When you're actually here
and you just visualize
what was taking place
200 years ago,
it's quite extraordinary.
-The problem was, Hamilton
was the ultimate elitist.
He came from
a very humble background,
but he built an institution
that concentrated wealth.
-If you've lived through
a period
where the financial system
has caused a lot of damage
to the economy,
there's this fear --
fear over concentrated
power and wealth
and fear of the unfairness
that might bring.
And Hamilton's defining strength
was to try to figure out
what was the pragmatic solution
in the interest
of the most people.
-What happens here has a direct
impact on all of our lives.
We're all connected.
And the fact is,
is if you want that bridge
built around the block
from that school
in your neighborhood,
you've got to raise money
to do it.
More often than not,
it's gonna be raised right here.
-Hamilton is picturing
this robust,
strong central government
that is the engine of finance
and engine of democracy
and unites our states.
Jefferson is picturing
this agrarian paradise,
where farmers are left alone
and do their thing.
-One could say
that Jefferson was --
could represent the populist
interests at the time,
the small farmer,
the people living
out in the country.
But were they forecasting
a philosophical divide
that runs through
our political system?
-It becomes really clear --
and Washington realizes this
finally in 1792 --
things are not going so well
between the two members
of his Cabinet.
-So, we're in
the mansion's dining room,
and it's set
for the 1790 dinner party
of George Washington
and his Cabinet.
-It's set for that now?
-It is set for that.
If they walked in right now,
they would be ready.
-A lot of people don't know that
the fight over the debt plan
and establishing
a national bank...
-... happened here.
- The issue on the table
Secretary Hamilton's plan
to assume state debt
And establish
a national bank
Uh, Secretary Jefferson,
you have the floor, sir
-The states had borrowed
heavily from the French,
from the Spanish,
from domestic lenders
to fund the cost of the war,
and there were
these big debts.
-There was $50 million
in outstanding federal debt,
$25 million in state debt,
and Hamilton wanted
the federal government
to assume the responsibility
for the state debt.
- Oww
- But Hamilton forgets,
his plan would have
The government assume
states' debts
Now, place your bets
as to who that benefits
The very seat of government
where Hamilton sits
- Not true
- Ew
If the shoe fits, wear it
If New York's in debt,
why should Virginia bear it?
Uh, our debts are paid,
I'm afraid
Don't tax the South 'cause
we got it made in the shade
-Jefferson's position is,
"The Southern states
have ways of making income.
It doesn't make sense for us
to bail you guys out."
Hamilton's point being that,
"Well, a lot of the reason
you're okay is
because you don't pay
for labor where you are,
and you've got slaves
working your farms."
-Hamilton insisted,
as a matter of national honor
and to establish America's,
you know, future greatness,
that it was imperative
to pay off that debt in full.
- If you assume the debts,
the union gets
A new line of credit,
a financial diuretic
How do you not get it?
If we're aggressive
and competitive
The union gets a boost
You'd rather give it
a sedative?
-The fights between
Jefferson and Hamilton
that they had across
this table are --
are the fights
we're still having.
Well, I can't imagine
what dinner around that table
would have been like that night.
Washington, I'm sure,
is sitting there stone-faced,
trying to placate everyone
at the same time.
- Hey, turn around, bend over
I'll show you
where my shoe fits
- I'm...
- Madison, Jefferson,
take a walk
Hamilton, take a walk
-Hip-hop is the way
for young men
and young people to still --
-Test each other.
-Yeah, to test each other
without anyone being hurt,
and everyone, you know,
can go back home
at the end of the day.
-But the stakes are not,
"Who's the best rapper?"
The stakes are,
"What direction are we going
to go in as a country?"
Every rap battle sets
the historical precedent.
That is the highest stakes
you could have for a rap battle,
higher, even, than "8 Mile."
Something that really
sort of spoke to me
when I was, you know,
reading this story
and beginning to research
and write it
is that moment
when we trade away the capital
in exchange for the debt plan.
-Right, right.
-And we call it "The Room
Where it Happens."
-And what have you learned
being in that room?
I mean, we're in that room.
We're in the room
where the sausage gets made.
-I'm in most of the rooms.
There's no doubt about it.
And you know,
what you learn is
that everybody who comes
to a room to make decisions,
they're bringing the constraints
that have been placed on them
by their constituencies.
-And the only way
anything gets done
is if people recognize the truth
of the person across the table.
- Two Virginians
and an immigrant
Walk into a room
- Diametrically opposed, foes
-You have to be able
to get in their heads
and see through their eyes
in order for things to happen.
-"Here's the problem,
Mr. President."
How are we gonna solve it?"
I mean, it's pretty simple.
- They emerge
with a compromise
Having opened doors
that were previously closed
- Bros
-Check this out.
This is the room
where it happened.
Hamilton says, "You got to
help me pass my financial plan."
Jefferson goes, "Oh, well, okay.
Come over for dinner.
I'll invite Madison.
We'll work it out."
And now it's
an office building,
and this is where the smokers
hang out from this building.
The room where it happened
- The room where it happened
- No one else was in the room
where it happened
The room where it happened,
the room where it happened
No one really knows
how the game is played
The art of the trade,
how the sausage gets made
We just assume
that it happens
But no one else was in
the room where it happened
-A lot of that debate
was not really
a debate
about central banking.
It was a debate about power.
-The federal government came in
and bailed out the states.
And so I guess, in that sense,
it was the first bailout.
- Alexander Hamilton
- What did they say to you
To get you to sell
New York City down the river?
- Alexander Hamilton
- Did Washington know
about the dinner?
Was there presidential
pressure to deliver?
-On paper, what looks like
a very dry history lesson,
Hamilton traded away New York
as the capital
in exchange for
the passage of his debt plan.
[ Pretends to snore ]
Um, but if you tell it from
the perspective of Aaron Burr,
who is watching all these people
leapfrog past him into power,
it's a thrilling
dramatic moment,
and it's also
the turning point for Burr
to stop hanging back
on his heels
and lean forward and say,
"I want in on this life."
- I -- I wanna be in the room
where it happens
The room where it happens
-He's a super-fan of the arena.
He's watching Hamilton
in there making things happen.
And this is the moment
where he decides,
"Oh, my God,
I got to get in there."
- I've got to be
- In the room
where it happens
- I've got to be
- In the room
where it happens
- I've got to be
- In the room
where it happens
I got to be I got to be,
I wanna be
In the ro-o-o-o-m
- The room
where it happens
- Click, boom
[ Music stops ]
[ Birds chirping ]
[ Piano plays
mid-tempo music ]
-It's picturesque in a way
that words
can hardly describe it.
Every corner of this place
has another essence of calm.
It's beautiful.
Washington had been serving
for 45 years of his life,
and he wanted to return home
and actually enjoy
the fruits of the labor
that he had invested in --
in the building
and the establishing
of the government itself.
Washington is revered as
the father of our country,
but our understanding
of history goes awry
when we only seek
or care to listen
to one part of a story.
From the moment I knew I was
gonna be playing Washington,
it was the first thing
that came into my mind --
the slave question --
the reality of the fact
that he owned people.
I'll never make peace with it.
I tried to, till I stood
in the slave quarters,
and there's no way
to reconcile that.
If anything, it brings
to bear the entire truth
of who this man was.
And some parts are ugly.
Some parts are abhorrent.
But there's nothing that
I can do to change those things.
And there's nothing
in my portrayal
that would suggest
that we forgive any of that.
-You can't pretend that
they didn't do things, right?
I mean, there was a country
that was founded,
and we're sitting here.
There were great things
that were done,
but there were terrible things
that were done.
And for me, the best thing to do
is to see both of them.
-Look at Jefferson.
You know, Jefferson wants to --
this myth around
the yeoman farmer.
Wow. Easy
for a slaveholder to say.
-The interesting thing about him
is that he is the author,
the principal drafter
of this document that says,
"All men are created equal,"
and that is a paradox.
-You don't have to separate
these things with Jefferson.
He can have written
this incredible document,
and several incredible documents
that we all sort of --
with things that
we all believe in.
And he sucks.
You know, I think
those are both true,
and those have to be both true.
I think we really have
to stop separating them,
because that's where
you get into trouble.
That's when you stop
letting people be whole people.
I disagree politically
with a lot of rappers
that I listen to.
You know what I'm saying?
There's sort of rampant
misogyny and homophobia
in a lot of rap music.
That doesn't make them
less brilliant rappers.
They're both true.
-These are not perfect people.
These are deeply flawed people.
But they made contributions,
and I think what this means
is we have to acknowledge,
right now in the 21st century,
how much of what we have today
is built on the backs
of people whose contribution
never gets acknowledged.
-What we're trying to do
with the cast
and the larger gesture
of this show is say,
"Here's a group of people that
you think you can't relate to.
Maybe we can take down
some of those barriers
and allow a reflection
to be truer."
-What I think is that
there's something
incredibly pure and fun
about the casting,
that our imaginations really
will let us take these leaps
and that we don't have to be
so closed-minded,
especially in the theater,
that it can be about --
It can be whatever
we want it to be.
- I anticipate
with pleasing expectation
That retreat in which
I promised myself to realize
The sweet enjoyment
of partaking
In the midst
of my fellow citizens
-Washington had
an extraordinary American life.
I think the most
extraordinary thing he did
was step down
from the presidency,
ensuring that
this American experiment
would continue without him.
By modeling
a peaceful transition
from president to president,
he puts us eons ahead
of every other
fledgling democracy on earth.
- George Washington's
going home
- Teach 'em
how to say goodbye
- George Washington's
going home
- You and I
- George Washington's
going home
- Home
- Going home
- George Washington's
going home
- History has its eyes on you
- George Washington's
going home
- Yeah
We're gonna teach 'em
how to say goodbye
- Teach 'em
how to say goodbye
- Teach 'em
how to say goodbye
- Teach 'em
how to say goodbye
- To say goodbye
- To say goodbye
- To say goodbye
one last ti-i-i-i-me
- One last time
- Ti-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-me
[ Crowd cheers ]
-I think it's so important
to take George Washington
off the pedestal.
These were real people
who lived and died.
I think one of the things
we really tried to do
with the show
is show them all as flawed.
There's no one who's --
There's no saints
in this show, not a one.
-It's really logical
to ask the question,
given all of the ways
in which he's extreme,
"What kind of a guy
was Hamilton?"
I would say to a lot of people
a lot of the time,
he was an arrogant,
irritating, ass...
-His big flaw --
his inability to shut up,
his tenacity, his drive --
they're all great
things in the war.
It's great when we see him
writing to Congress
and saying,
"We need more stuff."
But in the absence
of a common enemy,
that virtue goes inward.
They go from assets to flaws.
And that explains things,
like the Reynolds scandal.
This young woman,
Maria Reynolds,
shows up at
Hamilton's door one night.
She gives him
this sob story
about her husband
who abandoned her.
She asks him for money.
She needs his help.
-And he felt bad for her,
so he ended up
giving her some money,
but that turned
into an affair.
Her husband ended up
finding out about the affair
and decided to make
some money out of it.
-Hamilton forks over
the blackmail money
and continues the relationship
for about a year.
-The story leaks but
with fuzzy details,
and Hamilton gets accused
of speculating
in treasury securities
with James Reynolds.
-So he decides
he's gonna write a pamphlet
in which he argues --
and in his mind,
this is the truth --
that, no, no, no, he's a
perfectly correct public figure.
He's never done anything
bad as a public figure.
But as a private figure,
he just committed adultery
and paid blackmail for it.
-It really reads like a cross
between a dissertation
and a "Dear Penthouse" letter.
He's not bragging,
but the language is complicated.
-Eliza was so traumatized
by the publication
of the Reynolds Pamphlet
that she never publicly
commented on what had happened.
-What we have is a letter
from Angelica to Eliza
saying, "You married an Icarus,
and he flew too close
to the sun."
- I'm erasing myself
from the narrative
Let future historians
wonder how Eliza reacted
When you broke her heart
You have torn it all apart
I'm watching it bu-u-u-u-rn
-I love the notion,
which is true,
that Eliza burned a lot
of their correspondence.
She wanted Hamilton to be known
for his political acts.
So I re-cast that burning
of the letters
as an act of anger
and acknowledgement of betrayal.
-She didn't really have options.
She couldn't just leave him.
She had eight children.
On top of that,
there were a lot of hardships.
-The second act
of Hamilton's life
centers around
the loss of his child.
His eldest son, Philip,
is gunned down
in a duel about Hamilton.
The duel began
over a disagreement
because George Eacker
had said unkind things
about Philip's father.
-As ridiculous as it seems
that Philip
would go and duel
for his father,
or that people would duel anyway
back then, you know,
it's the same
as people going out
and fighting somebody
or, you know,
because they said
something about their mother
or they said something
about their family
or their sister
or their brother or their dad.
was absolutely unhinged
by the death of his son.
And when you see
paintings of Hamilton
from those later years,
he suddenly has aged
There definitely is a somber
note to his final years.
-Can we get back to politics?
- Yo, every action has
its equal, opposite reaction
John Adams...the bed
I love the guy,
but he's in traction
Poor Alexander Hamilton,
he is missing in action
So now I'm facing Aaron Burr
- Aaron Burr
- With his own faction
-It could be argued that Burr
was not a very good politician.
In that election of 1800,
when it's Burr
and Thomas Jefferson,
when Burr comes really close
to becoming the President
of the United States,
he's backed in that race
by two different parties.
That is how malleable
his beliefs were.
[ Chuckles ]
-People will say,
"Boy, Burr's a handy guy
to have with you
in an election,
because he doesn't have
really strict principles."
Hamilton writes a letter saying,
"He has no principles!"
Like, "Why is that good?!
This cannot be good!"
It ends up that there's a tie
between Burr and Jefferson,
gets thrown into the House
to be decided.
And so there's Hamilton
facing the future
of one or the other
of these men,
who he really doesn't like,
are gonna be president.
- Oh
- The people are asking
to hear my voice
- Oh
- The country is facing
a difficult choice
- Oh
- And if you were to ask me
who I'd promote
- Oh
- Jefferson has my vote
-Thomas Jefferson
becomes president.
Aaron Burr becomes
the vice president.
When Jefferson ran
for re-election,
Burr goes back
to New York State
and runs for governor,
only to find
that he is again thwarted
in his ambition
by Alexander Hamilton,
and Burr loses
for governor.
You know, at this point,
Burr flies into a rage.
It seems like at
every stage of his career,
the man blocking
his path of advancement
is the same Alexander Hamilton.
-Alexander Hamilton is
the patron saint of our museum.
-And so, yes,
you're in Hamiltonian
country, Leslie,
but we'll do our best to try
and give a little bit
of a balance for you here
as we go forward.
-[ Laughs ]
-All around you are
original Hamilton artifacts
and some others
we've brought up.
But why don't we take a look
at some of the treasures
that we have here?
-Lin, Leslie,
this is a book published
in 1804 --
"A Collection
of the Facts and Documents
Related to the Death
of Major-General
Alexander Hamilton."
You want to read
some of those?
-"Political opposition
can never absolve gentlemen
from the necessity of
a rigid adherence
to the laws of honor
and the rules of decorum.
I neither claim such privilege
nor indulge it in others."
-Burr, one day, reads
in an Albany newspaper
that Alexander Hamilton,
at a dinner party,
has uttered a despicable
opinion about him.
Burr challenges Hamilton
to a duel.
-Hmm. A reply.
[ Laughter ]
It's several pages.
"Sir, I have maturely reflected
on the subject of your letter
of the 18th last,
and the more I have reflected,
the more I have become convinced
that I could not,
without manifest impropriety,
make the avowal or disavowal
which you seem
to think necessary."
-Hamilton could have ended
the whole affair
just by apologizing
if he had inadvertently
given Burr offense.
-"'Tis evident that the phrase,
'still more despicable,'
emits of infinite shades
from very light to very dark.
How am I to judge
of the degree intended,
or how shall I annex
any precise idea
to language so indefinite?"
-If you and I were getting into
something, I would send you --
You know, I might
piss you off on Twitter
and then you send me a text
and I send you a text back,
and then it's on.
I mean, these guys had to --
They wrote long letters,
you know,
in impeccable penmanship.
There was so much time
for it to cool off,
for it to not get to
where it got to.
-And it goes on and on.
-Can you imagine getting
a letter like this back then?
Like, "Wait, I sent you
a paragraph."
Do you know what I mean?
-"I have the honor to be
A. Ham."
-I think, from a modern outlook,
the practice of dueling makes
absolutely no sense -- right? --
because it means two guys go out
onto a field in early morning
and shoot at each other because
they're angry at each other.
What does that accomplish,
right? Seemingly nothing.
But people didn't duel
to kill each other,
which is a really hard thing
to get your brain around.
They went to a dueling
ground to prove
that they were brave enough
to be there,
and thus were men of merit.
-"Your letter has furnished me
with new reasons
for requiring a definite reply.
I have the honor to be, sir,
your obedient A. Burr."
-That's great.
-That's fantastic.
It's Burr lookin
at his life and saying,
"Wow, at every point along
the way, my barrier was you.
What do you have to say
for yourself?"
Hamilton, smart-ass
as he is, is saying,
"You're gonna have to be
more specific than that.
I say a lot of... about you."
-These are 18th-century
dueling pistols.
The first thing to do is,
you would pick up your weapon
and keep it vertical,
and you would put
some powder in.
And then you would
take out the rammer.
You invert it
and ram the powder down.
-Okay, and you would --
-There's so much time
to apologize.
[ Laughter ]
-At dawn on a July morning
in 1804,
traveling in separate boats,
Hamilton and Burr travel
up the Hudson River
to Weehawken,
across the Hudson River
from where West 42nd Street
in Manhattan is.
-Hamilton had a lot of
insecurities and vulnerabilities
about his reputation
because of his origins.
Over the course of his life,
10 times he almost got
involved in a duel.
All of those times,
he negotiated his way out.
And in most affairs of honor,
that's what happened.
with Burr in 1804,
they don't manage to do that.
- 1, 2, 3, 4,
5, 6, 7, 8, 9
Number 10 paces,
[ Gunshot ]
-And we get
to his final moments.
There's just him,
this bullet coming at him,
and all the thoughts
that can ping through his brain
between that bullet
leaving the gun and hitting him.
-I imagine death so much,
it feels more like a memory.
Is this where it gets me --
on my feet,
several feet ahead of me?
I see it coming.
Do I run or fire my gun
or let it be?
There is no beat, no melody.
He does a tally sheet.
This is -- This is Hamilton.
He thinks about the things
he's done in his life.
He thinks about
the country he's leaving behind
that didn't exist
when he got there.
He thinks about the people he's
gonna see on the other side.
-Laurens leads a soldiers'
chorus on the other side.
My son is on the other side.
He's with my mother
on the other side.
Washington is watching
from the other side.
Teach me how to say goodbye.
Rise up, rise up
Rise up
-And in the last moment,
the snag that keeps him
from going there is Eliza,
because he leaves her behind
with a lot.
And then he does it anyway.
He points his gun up at the sky
in that final moment.
-My love, take your time.
[ Sobs ]
I'll see you on the other side.
[ Sobs ]
Raise a glass to freedom
- He aims his pistol
at the sky
[ Gunshot ]
[ Mid-tempo
dramatic music plays ]
-There's a lot more
he could have done.
The fact that it went down
the way that it did is a tragedy
for both of them
and for all of us.
You know, he was a fighter
and a survivor for a long time.
He had risen
to a certain station in life
by the time him
and Hamilton ended up
on the grounds in Weehawken.
He wasn't friendless.
He wasn't jobless.
I mean, he had risen to that
station based on relationships
and based on accomplishments.
I think that our show
is doing a really good job
of reminding us
that all of us
are more than one thing.
- Now I'm the villain
in your history
I was too young and blind
to see
I should've known
I should've known the world
was wide enough
For both Hamilton and me
-If that's all
you're looking at,
is our worst act
on our worst day,
any one of us could be
painted as a villain.
It's really about
the totality of someone.
-How much time do we get
on this Earth?
We don't know.
They don't tell us at the outset
how much time we get.
It's something I've been
sort of grappling with
and terrified with.
I think we all grapple with it.
I think we all grapple
with the paradox of knowing
tomorrow's not promised,
but making plans anyway.
You know?
walked into that duel.
He had a lunch date
with a client
on the books that same day.
You don't plan
for your life to end.
- Let me tell you
what I wish I'd known
When I was young
and dreamed of glory
You have no control
Who lives, who dies,
who tells your story
-President Jefferson.
-I give him this --
his financial system
was a work of genius.
I couldn't undo it if I tried.
And I tried.
-Hamilton built
our modern economy.
And once we built it here
in the United States,
the rest of the world
looked around and said,
"Pretty good idea."
-Alexander Hamilton, I think,
is one of the more
uniquely American founders
because this man
came from nothing
and rose to the highest levels
of serving this country.
He proved, the condition
of your birth
should not determine
the outcome of your life.
-Alexander Hamilton is
somewhere going, "Thank you.
Finally, someone
has given me the respect.
I created this whole fin--
I created what money is
and the bank systems.
I created all of that.
I got no thanks for that?"
-It wasn't easy to get
to where we are today.
But it was dictated by
and led by a vision.
We're a blessed nation
to have had our founders --
such remarkable men.
-I think when faced
with the incredible
three lifetimes Hamilton lived
while he was on this Earth,
it forces you to reckon with,
"Well, what am I doing
with my life?"
That's the thing
you're always up against
when you're writing
something that's big.
It's, "God, can I be proud
of this at the end of the day?
If this show opens
and closes in a day,
will I regret
the six years I put into it?"
-The Tony goes to "Hamilton."
[ Cheers and applause ]
-I'm well aware that
the outside part of my life,
the whole zeitgeist-y moment
that is happening --
if this were a movie,
there would be newspapers
spinning and flash bulbs.
That's what this section
of the movie would be.
-And the Tony goes to...
-And the Tony goes to...
-And the Tony goes to...
[ Cheers and applause ]
-Alexander Hamilton
was a dreamer.
I stand on this stage tonight
surrounded by dreamers.
[ Cheers and applause ]
[ Birds chirping ]
-I keep waiting for life
to go back to normal.
We've finished unpacking
our apartment.
My piano's still out of tune.
I haven't gotten around
to that yet.
I knew that "Hamilton"
was gonna change my life.
But I didn't anticipate
how much we'd help
Hamilton's legacy in turn.
Not just Hamilton
but also Eliza,
for whom Hamilton's legacy
was so important.
[ Soft music plays ]
- Eliza
- I put myself
back in the narrative
- Eliza
- I stop wasting time
on tears
I live another 50 years
It's not enough
- Eliza
-"Hamilton" captures the spirit
of American entrepreneurship
and making it and hustle.
I think if Hamilton
were alive today,
he would look back and say
America succeeded
beyond his wildest dreams.
- You could have done
so much more
If you only had time
And when my time is up,
have I done enough?
Will they tell your story?
-I feel like Hamilton chose me.
He reached out
of the Chernow book
and grabbed me
and wouldn't let me go
until I told his story.
You can't manufacture
another "Hamilton."
I'll never write
another "Hamilton."
"Hamilton" is singular --
the man and the creation
of the show.
I feel like my responsibility
is just to sort of
keep my eyes open
and live it
as slowly as possible,
because I am aware
musical theater
does not get off
the arts page often.
And here we are.
- I can't wait
to see you again
It's only a matter of
- Ti-i-i-me
- Will they tell your story?
- Time
- Who lives? Who dies?
Who tells your story?
- Ti-i-i-me
- Will they tell your story?
- Ti-i-i-me
- Who lives? Who dies?
Who tells your story-y-y?
-All right, drop the beat.
-[ Beatboxing ]
- Folks on the next train
Ah, yeah, and he's comin'
from downtown and uptown
Yeah, Rene's
always a-breakin' it down
Oh, man, throw me
in the gar-bage
'Cause I can't compete
with her decolletage
Ah, bien
Yes, I'm rappin' in French
I am the hench-man
I'm a mensch
Really, I'm a mensch, man
Yeah, don't
put me on the bench
I'm the next man
To get into
this freestyle cipher
I'm a 25-to-lifer,
I like ya
This is freestyle
for the doc
I don't stop, I'm hip-hop
Yeah, I got
that chips and guac
Oh, 'cause
I'm spicy as hell
Ah, yeah,
so you go run and tell that
Tell them
I'm good at it, too
Rene's a beast backstage
She wouldn't show you
[ Applause ]
-That was good.
-[ Laughs ]
-Every day!
Every day, he knows what to say.
[ Laughter ]