In 2003, the wildly popular musical Wicked was unleashed – which told the stories of The Wizard of Oz from the witches’ point of view. Wicked celebrated its tenth anniversary on Broadway on October 30, 2013. On July 12, 2018, with its 6,138th performance, it surpassed A Chorus Line to become Broadway’s sixth-longest running show behind Les Miserables, Cats, The Lion King, Chicago and The Phantom of the Opera. Remember these – they just might get asked about in a trivia game!
Nowadays, Hamilton: An American Musical is THE musical everyone’s talking about. The show is currently playing at Detroit’s Fisher Theater, and tickets are hot commodities! Quite a few of my friends on Facebook have already raved about it.
Some character from Hamilton: An American Musical
From the very cursory research I did (skimming through a Wikipedia article), Alexander Hamilton was a bastard (yes really) born on an undetermined date (sometime in 1755 or 1757) on the Caribbean island of Nevis (which is the “partner” of the island of St. Kitts – so the John Oates to Daryl Hall, if you will), taken in by a wealthy person who got him educated and eventually brought him to New York City. One of our “Founding Fathers,” Hamilton served in the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War and would eventually become involved in the competitive political scene aligning himself with the Federalist party – and co-authoring The Federalist Papers. He supported a strong federal government, a national bank (he was head of the U.S. Treasury under George Washington which is why he’s on the $10 bill and the Treasury building is on the obverse side), and a fierce political rival of (drum roll)…Aaron Burr. Hamilton didn’t think of Burr as a worthy adversary – and looked down his nose at him. Since this kind of pissed off Aaron Burr, he would challenge Hamilton to a duel, and Hamilton would [SPOILER ALERT] lose that duel.
The many faces of Alexander Hamilton
All of this kind of paints Aaron Burr as being akin to the Wicked Witch of the West – and Alexander Hamilton as the proverbial Dorothy, does it not? And what better way to seal your fate as a romantic hero than to die in a duel? The rest, as they say, is history – as interpreted by Hamilton: An American Musical.
Leslie Odom Jr. as Aaron Burr in Hamilton: The Musical. Many of the characters are portrayed by actors of races that differ from the actual persons. But why stop there? Maybe in my Aaron Burr: The Musical (more about that in a bit) we’ll use actors of different GENDERS than the actual people they are playing! How “today” of an idea is THAT? But really…is gender even supposed to matter in these days? I don’t care which bathrooms people use as long as they wash their hands afterwards (and that’s all I’ve gotta say about that)!
Or IS the rest of the story really history? What about what happened to Aaron Burr after this illegal duel (for which he was never tried)? Well, for one – his political career pretty much ended when he fired the fatal bullet at Alexander Hamilton. He would end up moving to Europe for a time – then return to the U.S. to practice law, but his life ended in debt – and relative obscurity.
I think we can elaborate a bit on all of this and make a “counter” musical about how things shook out from Aaron Burr’s point of view! This guy has never gotten a fair shake in the history books. But theater lovers also love a good tragic story! I’ll make sure that the duel challenge includes a good slapping with a white glove!