Today’s Random Weekend selection comes from the Hamilton soundtrack. ‘Hurricane’ comes after Alexander Hamilton has been exposed as an adulterer, and (even worse, in his eyes) accused of money laundering.
He decides to write his way out of the situation, as he had so many other difficult times in his life, from childhood through his political career.
Today’s Random Weekend selection is a short transitional track from the Hamilton soundtrack. ‘Schuyler Defeated’ lasts only a minute but, like every song in the Pulitzer and Tony-winning musical, it has plenty to say.
Musically a reprise of show-stopper ‘The Schuyler Sisters,’ this song sees Alexander Hamilton’s father-in-law defeated in the Senate by Aaron Burr, who to this point has been Hamilton’s friend.
After the sex scandal, Hamilton’s political career is on the rocks but it’s on a personal level that he is truly rocked when his son dies in a duel. The musical takes a somber turn as he and Eliza deal with the loss and eventually reconcile.
Then it’s back to politics, and Hamilton’s fateful decision to support Thomas Jefferson over Aaron Burr in the 1800 election. Jefferson wins, Burr is consumed with jealous rage and pins all of his failures on Hamilton, whom he challenges to a duel. You all know how that turns out.
In addition to his influence on America’s financial system and the whole killed-in-a-duel thing, Alexander Hamilton is noteworthy for being in the center of one of the nation’s first sex scandals.
Hamilton had an affair with a younger, married woman named Maria Reynolds, and paid off her husband in exchange for his silence about the matter. Eventually the details were leaked and to clear his name of charges of political corruption, Hamilton detailed the affair publicly.
That didn’t go over so well with his wife, Eliza.
Alexander Hamilton was George Washington’s right hand man , a status that advanced him and his causes, much to the chagrin of his political enemies. Once Washington voluntarily stepped down from office, Hamilton’s fortunes took a turn for the worse.
In Hamilton, that fateful turn of events is captured in the moving ‘One Last Time,’ a track that lets Washington portrayer (and my wife’s Broadway crush) Christopher Jackson shine.
I mentioned last week that Lin-Manuel Miranda jokingly regrets giving two of the best songs he’s ever written to Leslie Odom Jr.’s Aaron Burr. Here’s the second one.
In ‘The Room Where It Happens,’ Burr watches from the sidelines while Hamilton, Jefferson and Madison make a deal behind closed doors. Known as the “Dinner Table Bargain,” the agreement moved the nation’s capital to Virginia in exchange for the federal government assuming state debts.
Act Two of Hamilton introduces Thomas Jefferson, who (aside from Aaron Burr) serves as Hamilton’s principal antagonist. Their contentious debates are handled through a pair of cabinet battles performed in the style of rap battles.
These cabinet battles capture the essence of what makes Hamilton so special. The subject matter is important American history but the narrative vehicle is as modern as it gets. Lin-Manuel Miranda’s central premise is that the Founding Fathers were the original gangsters and telling their story in that style will make it accessible to modern audiences.