When Lin-Manuel Miranda left the cast of Hamilton in 2016, the production created an archival video of the original cast performance, saying that he had "no idea" what they'd do with the footage, "Throwing it in a vault at Gringotts for a bit probly."
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If you've seen Hamilton (and I haven't, not live anyway... I've only seen a bootleg on YouTube of it), you've probably marveled at its incredible stage and how they used it to propel the story. I was particularly impressed with the staging in the "Satisfied" scene when the floor's "turntables" started rotating -- in coordination with the actors and music -- to relay that the character's are "rewinding" to another place and time.
Well, in anticipation of the show's run at the Kennedy Center, The Washington Post talked with the Hamilton set designer David Korins to learn some secrets of its stage, including what inspired the circular, moving "turntables":
Built into the floor of the set is a spinning circle of wood, with another, independently spinning ring of wood around it. These “turntables” — which allow the actors to stand still and move at the same time — were inspired by the whirlwind of history that sweeps up Hamilton, as well as the literal hurricane that hits the Caribbean island where he was born. “There’s also this cyclical relationship between Aaron Burr and Hamilton, where they were basically spiraling around each other their entire careers and lives,” Korins says.
Head to the Post to learn more obscure facts about the Hamilton stage.
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Two years ago today @hamiltonmusical soundtrack was released. In honor of that here's Lin using our set's "two turntables & a microphone" for the first time. 🎤
photo by Peter Dutton
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Weird Al's "The Hamilton Polka" inspired Michael William Hunter to create a song about the accordion-playing musician's life. It's a Hamilton parody set to the tune of the musical's "Alexander Hamilton," called "Alfred Matthew Yankovic."
It's really great! Here's a taste of the lyrics:
Well, the word got around said, “this kid is so weird, man!” Soon he’s posing with an accordion in his mere hands.
Perfect yo skills with classes, get glasses with a thick frame! And the world will surely know your name! What’s your name man?
Alfred Matthew Yankovic.
My name is Alfred Matthew Yankovic.
I can’t find and rhyme for “Yankovic.”
But just you wait. Just you wait.
When he's not making a "Weird Al"-Hamilton parody, Hunter runs "Weird Al"Phabet, a podcast that discusses every "Weird Al" Yankovic song in alphabetical order.
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Hamilton has traveled to the city of my birth, Denver, Colorado. Read the rest
Fans of the Broadway musical Hamilton have been all in a tizzy because "Weird Al" Yankovic worked with Lin-Manuel Miranda on the latest "Hamildrop." It's a squeezebox ditty called "The Hamilton Polka" and it's described as "remixed medley of ‘Hamilton’ hits, featuring Weird Al’s twist on songs like ‘My Shot,’ ‘Wait For It,’ ‘The Schuyler Sisters,’ and more." Read the rest
Here's an F-bomb-filled anthem about Benjamin Franklin that never made it into Lin-Manuel Miranda's hit musical, Hamilton. It's a humorous tune called "Benjamin Franklin's Song" and it's sung by The Decemberists.
The band shares the song's story:
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HAMILTON, as you probably know, is an American musical theater production written by a guy named Lin-Manuel Miranda. Lots of people have seen it, lots of people are continuing to see it, lots of people have raved about it. We saw a production of it in New York last year and we can tell you: it’s very very good. And important. And transformative to our countrys current milieu. Etc.
Well, it happens that Mr. Miranda reached out to our own Colin Meloy to put music to a set of lyrics that had been written for HAMILTON but had never been used: a first-person introduction to one of the US’s founding fathers, Mr. Benjamin Franklin. Lin said that he’d wanted to include Franklin as a character in the show initially, but it just never quite worked something about not wanting to remove the audience more than once from the action taking place in our nascent United States. Funnily enough, he said he’d imagined Franklin singing in a sort of Decemberist-y way, whatever that means.
FAST FORWARD TO 2016: Lin passed on the lyrics to Colin, who was very much up to the task, and a new song was born: BEN FRANKLIN’S SONG, to be exact. We really like it. It’s very swear-y, but there’s a clean version too.
TangerineBlast's Alexander Hamilton: An Equestrian Musical is far from perfect, but there are inspired moments in the execution that speak of an encylopedic grasp of the entire corpus of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic canon. (Thanks, Alice!) Read the rest
On The Late Late Show with James Corden, Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda said that, while on a recent vacation, he digitized all the VHS home movies he made in his childhood. Read the rest
The 2016 Hamilton mixtape invited musicians to remix songs from the musical’s cast recording and now one of the tracks has its own music video. “Immigrants (We Get The Job Done)” is performed by K’naan, Residente, Riz MC (a.k.a. Rogue One’s Riz Ahmed), and Snow Tha Product. And the video blends the song’s powerful pro-immigrant message with equally evocative visuals.
The video is part of the #Ham4All challenge, which sprung up around a Prizeo competition Lin-Manuel Miranda is running to raise money for the Immigrants: We Get the Job Done Coalition. For a $10 donation, fans can be entered to win VIP tickets to the opening night of Hamilton in Los Angeles. And Miranda is also encouraging entrants to upload a video of themselves singing a portion of the Hamilton cast recording and then challenge their friends to do the same.
Since then a whole bunch of celebrities have gotten in on the action too. For instance, young Beguiled actors Emma Howard, Oona Laurence, Angourie Rice, and Addison Riecke uploaded an adorable “Schuyler Sisters” music video featuring cameos from Nicole Kidman, Colin Farrell, Kirsten Dunst, and Elle Fanning.
To see more videos from celebrities and non-celebrities alike, just search the #Ham4All hashtag on Twitter. You can enter the contest/make a donation via Prizeo.
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Hamilton's Lin-Manuel Miranda has released a powerful music video for "Immigrants (We Get The Job Done)" from his late 2016 album, The Hamilton Mixtape. The track features a worldly mix of recording artists: Somali-Canadian K'naan, Mexican-American Snow Tha Product, British-Pakistani Riz MC and Puerto Rican Residente.
Snow Tha Product raps some of the song's most evocative lyrics:
You claim I’m stealing jobs though
Peter Piper claimed he picked them, he just underpaid Pablo
But there ain't a paper trail when you living in the shadows
We're America's ghost writers, the credit's only borrowed
It’s a matter of time before the checks all come
Previously: When Mike Pence came to Hamilton, the cast added a special afterword, just for him Read the rest
I stumbled upon this strange but delightful YouTube channel that uses two Lin-Manuel Miranda face cutouts to reimagine the Hamilton cast recording in a whole new light. Though at first it seems like just a so-dumb-its-fun gimmick, it’s remarkable how much emotion the two creators are able to call forth from just one Miranda expression. And their choreography, costuming, and use of location (not to mention random bananas) is pitch perfect weirdo comedy. You can check out some highlights below and the full collection of the Spamilton YouTube page.
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Hamildemos is a an eight-track Soundcloud set posted this week by Lin-Manuel Miranda, with the rough tracks for some of the best tunes from Hamilton; as Kottke points out, these are a lot more hip hop and less showtunes than the finished tracks. I'm especially fond of The Story of Tonight. Read the rest
The hit musical Hamilton performed a concert version of the show at the White House in March. While the first few numbers were live streamed, the rest of the performance was limited just to those in attendance. But now in honor of Obama’s last few days in office, the musical just released the White House performance of “One Last Time,” in which George Washington (Christopher Jackson) delivers his farewell address with a little help from Alexander Hamilton (Lin-Manuel Miranda). It’s one of my favorite songs from the show, and you can watch the moving performance above as well as some more excerpts from the concert right here:
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Lin-Manuel Miranda's smash Broadway musical Hamilton -- which recounts the events of 240 years ago -- keeps looming large in our very current political discourse, from Hamilton's role in the establishment of the Electoral College to Mike Pence's night at the theater and the ensuing Trumpian call for a safe-space for vulnerable politicians who have only their status as the second-most powerful man on the planet to defend themselves from the terrifyingly mild petitions delivered by actual, globe-striding singing fellows. Read the rest
Yesterday, Donald Trump's news cycle was dominated by two stories: first, that the president-elect of the United States of America had a well-developed sense of the sanctity of the theatre, such that any on-stage politicking shocked his conscience to the core; second, that he had settled a lawsuit over Trump University, handing $25,000,000 to people whom he had defrauded. Read the rest
Vice President-elect Mike Pence went to see Hamilton last night; he was booed on the way to his seat, but afterward, the cast acknowledged him with a brief set of remarks written by the show's creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda: "We, sir — we — are the diverse America who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us, our planet, our children, our parents, or defend us and uphold our inalienable rights. We truly hope that this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and to work on behalf all of us." Read the rest
A unicorn chaser for an American week of purgatory (don't think about The Postman, don't think about The Postman, don't think about The Postman). Read the rest