First Listen: Hamilton Cast Recording

NPR has a bunch of tracks up. As the accompanying article/review (which is excellent) says:

Hamilton was only a matter of time. If we’re truthful, it’s late.

Yup.

Favorite songs that have stuck with me: “The Room Where It Happens.” (Listen to that song! That’s Aaron Burr. Goosebumps.)

“Alexander Hamilton.”, the opener.

“My Shot.” (very Eminem-ish, i.e. “If you had … just one shot … or one opportunity … would you capture it? Or just let it slip.”) “Yorktown.” “What’d I Miss?” (That’s the song Thomas Jefferson sings when he comes back to America, post-Revolution. It’s a big Prince-ish dance number and the entire audience was ROLLING in the aisles.)

I mean, to a Hamilton fan, knowing that there is now a song called “Farmer Refuted“? Is this world real? I am happy to live in such a world.

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18 Responses to First Listen: Hamilton Cast Recording

  1. sheila says:

    Just to say, I’ve listened to many of the tracks, and they sound fantastic. The mix is really good – and it captures some of the excitement of the production and its music. The Roots and Questlove!! So happy they were so heavily involved with this. The show is Miranda’s brain-child but so many excellent people helped make it happen.

  2. Helena says:

    Hahaha! I caught a bit of this yesterday – sounds great!

  3. charlene says:

    OMG. This is AMAZING. I don’t even know anything about Alexander Hamilton (but now I’m gonna have to read the Chernow book). HOW did they even make this?? (I mean… hip-hop about Alexander Hamilton?? I know the article says it was only a matter of time, but even so it seems to me like the kind of thing people would just shoot down at every opportunity!) The fact that this exists in the world is SO COOL. I can’t stop smiling about it. Thank you for all your posts about it and linking the recording!

    • sheila says:

      // The fact that this exists in the world is SO COOL. //

      I totally agree! The Chernow book is excellent – and it’s amazing just how much information Miranda was able to get into his show. Even Chernow was impressed.

      I mean, there is now a song that exists in the world called “A Farmer Refuted.” (This was a pamphlet Hamilton wrote when he was only 19, 20 years old – that helped make him a leading figure in the Revolution.) It’s more obscure than the Declaration of Independence, or some of Jefferson’s early writing – but it’s SUPER important in the Hamilton story – and that there is now … a song about it? Playing on Broadway?

      THRILLING.

      It makes me happy, too, that people are becoming interested in Hamilton, a man I really admire.

      I am going to try like hell to see the show again. There are some re-sale tickets that aren’t bad (although some are insanely priced).

      • charlene says:

        Oh wow, thanks for the background on “Farmer Refuted,” I obviously listened to it and loved it, but it didn’t have the same resonance that it would to a Hamilton fan :) (I haven’t gotten there yet in the Chernow — which I am LOVING, by the way! But it’s really long!)

        I just adore that even I (who know nothing about Hamilton) can tell that Miranda had ALL THE FEELINGS about him and Burr and Washington and Jefferson and also history in general, and politics! And so I can trust him to get things right.

        I want to see this show so badly! Maybe if/when it tours to the West Coast…

  4. lindah15 says:

    Aaarrrrggghhhh!

    Since you posted this, I’ve listened to the entire thing at least three times. Adding it up, that’s over 7 hours. I repeat: aaaarrrggghhh!

    It’s so good! At the moment, the song that’s wedged in my brain is “Non Stop.”
    Why do you write like you’re running out of time?
    Writing at night like you’re running out of time…

    I also love the cabinet battles. And Leslie Odom Jr.’s Salieri A dot Burr. And Daveed Digg’s Jefferson. And Jonathan Groff’s King George snippets. And “Washington on Your Side.”

    Musically, the songs featuring Christopher Jackson’s Washington aren’t the most memorable, but I found them very touching for the emotion and respect they are made to convey.

    And everything and everyone else in the cast recording. Aaarrrggghh!

    Bravo to Lin-Manuel Miranda and all involved.

    BTW, as of today (9/25/15) it’s streaming on Amazon Prime, if anyone wants the explicit versions of some of the songs. (The missing words often impact the rhyme schemes.)

    I hope you’re in good health. I haven’t been commenting lately because I haven’t had the chance to try out the books and movies you’ve been posting about. Except here, where I innocently believed it would only take a few minutes to check out the songs and the NPR link and … that’s all she wrote.

    Anyway, thanks for posting about Hamilton. (Aaaarrrggghh!)

    • Jessie says:

      whoa wait lindah, Leslie Odom Jr is in this? Ak(to me)a one of my favourite one-shot characters in Supernatural, slinky Guy, Becky’s tempter in the wedding episode? He is so excellent, he gave Guy a huge and layered personality with only a few scenes. Good for him! I have been harbouring a secret hope that one day he might return to us but it looks like he’s pretty busy at the moment!

      • lindah15 says:

        Yep. I agree with you about his SPN appearance. His smile seemed to light up the room, until you started to wonder what the hell he was really up to. And “slinky” is a great description. The guy has moves.

        Confession: I actually watched the NBC series Smash, which was all about mounting a Broadway show. (Digression: I love sci fi and fantasy genre stuff, so you know my suspension-of-disbelief powers are mighty, but dayum. The show went waaaaaay beyond my suspension capabilities. Too wide a difference between casting and writing. If only Katherine McPhee had the tiniest spark of the It!ness the writers kept telling us about…)

        Anyway, Leslie Odom Jr. had a supporting part for a few episodes. His character was consistenly underserved, but the show was overstuffed even before he appeared. And then he got to sing and dance. Ooo weee oooooh. I loved his voice, but I wished he had more room to dance. And IMO, the fancy camera moves just made things more awkward.

        But Leslie Odom Jr.’s talent and charisma still came through loud and clear to me. He radiated Broadway joy and clarified to me why people on the show (and in RL) kept reaching for the joy a musical could bring despite everything.

        The guy belongs in a runaway hit Broadway musical.

        • sheila says:

          // so you know my suspension-of-disbelief powers are mighty, //

          hahahahaha

          I am loving the love-fest for this actor – whom I haven’t been paying attention to – and whom I now can’t stop thinking about ever since I saw him EXPLODE that Broadway theatre with his performance. Burr was a dandy, and Odom wore black velvet tight suits with big white ruffles at the chest – he is phenomenal looking and an incredible performer – we were in the 4th to last row – and his performance reached us as though he were touching us.

          I never watched Smash but thank you for the link – I will watch it immediately.

          • lindah15 says:

            Er, don’t thank me yet. Smash was a curious failure. I think the link is a good illustration on what happens when you try to shove a Broadway musical into a Glee-sized box, with all the scheduling, structural and financial constraints that come with it. Leslie Odom Jr. shines despite it, rather than because of it.

            Digression: It was a travesty that Christian Borle only got one decent song and dance number per season of Smash. I couldn’t find a working clip of his season 1 number: “Don’t Say Yes Until I Finish Talking”, but it’s in season 1’s episode 8 (“Understudy”). Christian Borle was the only one of the main cast who seemed to be having any fun — and who was capable of conveying the joy of Broadway to me.

            The above-referenced number has the added bonus of Leslie Odom Jr. as one of the background dancers, but you only get glimpses of him.

        • Jessie says:

          I was so pleased to see that clip lindah thanks for sharing! I wish the sound were live because the recording is kinda hollow but you can definitely tell that he’s got all sorts of chops! So nice to see him dance.

          He has so much charisma and he is so darn handsome — black velvet tights, hel-LO!

    • sheila says:

      Lindah – I love how you keep screaming “Aaarrrggghh!” hahahaha Yes!!!

      Burr is TOTALLY Salieri! Love your strike-out! He was so BRILLIANT in performance – and I can’t stop thinking about “In the Room Where It Happens” – the build of it, the catharsis “I wish I was in the room where it happens.” Brilliant. He brought the house down.

      I had no idea he was Becky’s tempter in Supernatural!!!! I LOVE how Supernatural is everywhere! I should look at his Bio in the program – I hope it’s listed!

      // I found them very touching for the emotion and respect they are made to convey. //

      Yes. They are more ballad in nature – and filled with emotion, especially his Farewell. Alexander Hamilton wrote Washington’s farewell address and it is a brilliant document. It’s hard to remember that it was the first time a President would step down – would anarchy ensue? In the history of the world, no person in power had ever VOLUNTARILY stepped down. It was that revolutionary. Bonaparte, looking on from France, commented, “If Washington steps down, he will be the greatest man in history.”

      Incredible! And Hamilton’s farewell address helped make that possible – it was inclusive, valedictory, but it also warned against certain things that were important to Washington. He wanted the union to stay together.

      Extraordinary relationship between these two men.

      // Except here, where I innocently believed it would only take a few minutes to check out the songs and the NPR link and … that’s all she wrote. //

      Hooray!

      • lindah15 says:

        //Alexander Hamilton wrote Washington’s farewell address and it is a brilliant document.//

        Washington’s Farewell Address in “One Last Time” was when I got History-shivers as well as Broadway-shivers. Just a great moment from both angles.

  5. sheila says:

    And come to think of it, about his “slinkiness”: Burr was slinky too. He never ever wanted to be pinned down, he played the game carefully, waiting to see which way popular opinion went and then going that way. He was ambitious but cautious. He wanted to be in power but he wasn’t willing to stick his neck out – instead he tried to align himself to the winning side (whatever the winning side was – so he switched a lot.)

    Hamilton was ambitious too. But Hamilton SET the agenda – unafraid to state the terms. Hamilton had many enemies, made enemies of everyone (except Washington). But that was because he was willing to put himself and his ideas out there in strong strong words. Burr was jealous of that ability – he didn’t have that. He had other gifts, but not that one. Hamilton’s writing runs to 80 volumes or something like that. His output was extraordinary. Other people leave behind 80 volumes of writing when they die in their 80s (and even then – 80 volumes is hard to reach). He wrote about government, politics, social issues – he realized 7 years before it happened that the new union needed a Constitution – almost eerily prophetic and against the mood of the time – He set out to convince the populace of the need for a Constitution, teaming up with John Jay and James Madison to write a “series of articles” – these of course are now known as The Federalist Papers. John Jay wrote 5 of the articles. James Madison wrote 26. Hamilton wrote 51. I mean … The guy was tireless. He realized America needed a banking system (and that was REALLY against the mood of the time) – Hamilton created the first bank in America. He was an abolitionist and created schools in New York for freed slaves, writing about how freed “Negroes” only needed the opportunities that whites had – there was no reason that they could not catch up – again, very against the mood of the time. he created the New York Historical Society – and on and on and on – each project resulting in REAMS of powerful writing. He created the “law book” for New York State – something that didn’t exist before him, judges and lawyers struggling through un-organized piles of statues and precedents – he was the one who collated it all. Hamilton died in his 40s. Burr left nothing of value behind in terms of writing – just two volumes of gossipy irrelevant letters. Really really telling.

    • sheila says:

      Obviously – with all his flaws and self-destructive impulses – he’s a hero to me. Very human: manic highs and depressive lows. Cynicism mixed with high-flying optimism. A practical man, NOT an idealist at all. He was a problem-solver.

      I can’t even believe Hamilton is happening, actually.

      Imagine your most esoteric and/or obscure “crush” suddenly becoming someone everyone wants to know more about. The subject of THE show on Broadway, a HIT, something that President Obama made it a point to see. It would be like being obsessed with Madame Curie or something and suddenly there’s a hit show on Broadway celebrating her. (Come to think of it, that’s a good idea.)

      I’m just so happy that this is happening!

  6. Jessie says:

    I’ve had the first few stanzas of the opener stuck in my head since you first posted the video. It’s so awesome. I haven’t had a chance to listen to the whole thing on Spotify yet but I also keep coming back to The Room Where It Happens. I find the way it slides back and forth between personal ambition and what you could call the problem of government — the yearning, the oblivion of being in the dark, the interchange between Burr and the chorus — kinda breathtaking. Some crazy shit has gone down in Aus politics over the last five years and I keep thinking of a night a couple of weeks ago when party members walked past throngs of the media, down a long white hall and entered a room. And fifteen minutes later two men, two very ordinary-looking men, walked out and told us we had a new Prime Minister.

    It’s incredible. The institution is a vast arachnid. The mechanism is impersonal. The legislation and rules are bits of paper. To think that it always comes down to people in rooms. Cheering and terrifying. Who wants to be in there? Thanks again for posting!

    • sheila says:

      // when party members walked past throngs of the media, down a long white hall and entered a room. And fifteen minutes later two men, two very ordinary-looking men, walked out and told us we had a new Prime Minister. //

      Woah. I just got goosebumps.

      People in rooms.

      POWER.

      Aaron Burr wanted that power, but he never got to be “in the room where it happens.”

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