So, you’ve managed to find and afford a ticket or two to “Hamilton,” the hottest theater ticket in Buffalo at least since Katharine Cornell’s “Cleopatra” in 1947.
Congratulations. You’re clearly a very impressive person.
But what now?
If you want to impress a date with your superior “Hamilton” knowledge, astound your friends with theatrical savvy or just try not to seem clueless when someone asks you about the show, here are a few pieces of trivia to file away for the right occasion:
- Alexander Hamilton is modeled, in part, on Tupac Shakur. As composer and lyricist Lin-Manuel Miranda told The News in 2010, while he was working on an early version of the show: "This is literally a guy who saved his own life on the strength of his writing and destroyed it on the same strength of his writing," he said. "While [Jefferson] was president, he had sort of an epic, Tupac-esque beef with Jefferson for the entire time, except the fight wasn't about who was the better rapper or who was the better clique, it was about, what is this country about? That's so much more interesting, to write battle-raps about that."
- In 1798, when Hamilton was serving as commanding general of the U.S. Army in a campaign against the French First Republic, Buffalo had a population of only 20 to 25 people living in about six houses, and was known as New Amsterdam.
- Hamilton founded the The New York Post in 1801, according to Richard Brookhiser’s biography “Hamilton, An American.” Hamilton founded the paper as a bulwark against Thomas Jefferson, recently elected to the presidency, and often wrote the editorials for the newspaper.
- “Hamilton” is the first truly contemporary major musical — a piece suffused with the musical language of its time rather than just inspired by it — in more than half a century. As Ben Brantley wrote in his perceptive review of the pre-Broadway production, “This confluence of what’s heard on the American musical stage and what’s heard on the airwaves and in the clubs hasn’t existed for at least six decades.” He continues: “Lo and behold, there are songs throughout 'Hamilton' that could be performed more or less as they are by Drake or Beyoncé or Kanye.”
- Owing to its hip-hop roots, the show was originally known as “The Hamilton Mixtape,” and was first publicly performed in front of Barack and Michelle Obama in 2009. The mix tape origin story came full-circle in 2016, when a popular compilation of covers was released with takes on Miranda’s music by the likes of Chance the Rapper, John Legend and Kelly Clarkson.
- “Hamilton” was one of only four original cast recordings to make the Billboard Top 10 in the past 50 years. The others are “Dear Evan Hansen” (coming to Shea’s in May), “The Book of Mormon,” “Rent” and “Hair.”