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Hamilton Details You Probably Missed the FIRST Time
Madeline Matsumoto-Duyan
2021-07-06T09:46:43
Broadway smash Hamilton has been available to stream on Disney+ since the beginning of the month, introducing it to a wider audience than ever before. The pro-shot musical captures the stellar performances of the original Broadway cast along with its revolutionary staging, choreography, lighting, and other amazing elements of the show. Moreover, fans can now watch the show as many times as they want.
Hamilton is a complex, layered show. Because of this, one can watch and listen to it over and over and still find something new that they'd never noticed before. Here are some details to look for the next time you watch Hamilton!

The Double Meanings in "Alexander Hamilton"

The first time that viewers watch Hamilton, many are surprised to see that some actors play multiple roles in the show. Because of this, they don't realize that certain parts of the opening number hold a double meaning. At the end of the song, each of the main actors describes their connection to Hamilton in a single line.
For instance, Daveed Diggs and Okierete Onaodowan begin this section with the statement "We fought with him." In Act I, the two play Marquis de Lafayette and Hercules Mulligan respectively, and they fight alongside Hamilton during the Revolutionary War. In Act II, however, they portray Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, Hamilton's political rivals who fight against him.
This is followed by Anthony Ramos's line "Me, I died for him." Indeed, the actor dies twice, first as John Laurens, then again as Philip Hamilton. Finally, each of the main women says "Me, I loved him." While Phillipa Soo and Renée Elise Goldsberry play the same characters in both acts, Jasmine Cephas Jones portrays both Peggy Schuyler, Hamilton's sister-in-law, and Maria Reynolds, his mistress, who both love Hamilton in different ways.

The Bullet

Leslie Odom Jr as Aaron Burr and Ariana DeBose as The Bullet in Hamilton
Leslie Odom Jr as Aaron Burr and Ariana DeBose as The Bullet in Hamilton
The ensemble of Hamilton is incredibly talented, but there's one dancer who has an especially important role known as the Bullet. In the pro-shot, the Bullet is played by Ariana DeBose. Excluding Hamilton's mother and cousin in the opening number, she is the first to die when the British discover that she's a spy after "You'll Be Back." For the rest of the performance, she acts as the harbinger of death. Fans have spotted her next to Hamilton at various points throughout the show.
At the beginning of "Stay Alive," a British soldier fires a shot which, as the Bullet shows us, narrowly misses Hamilton's head. During "Yorktown," she helps Laurens take down a redcoat. A few songs later, the audience finds out about Laurens' death. In Act II, she tells Philip where to find George Eacker, the man that will shoot and kill him in a duel. Later, when Burr begins his correspondence with Hamilton leading up to their duel, she hands him the quill. Finally, in the duel itself, she is the bullet that kills Hamilton.

The Significance of the Turntable

The centerpiece of the set is a large turntable that can turn in both directions. The piece nods to the show's use of hip hop music, but it also holds a deeper meaning. The turntable tends to turn counterclockwise to show the passage of time, while it usually turns clockwise to represent resistance. This can be seen in numbers such as "Helpless" and "Nonstop," which condense longer periods of time into single songs. During these songs, the table turns counterclockwise. In contrast, the direction reverses for each of the duels, "Satisfied," and "Say No to This." Each of these numbers focuses on moments of conflict, both internal and external.

The Recreation of "Helpless" in "Satisfied"

Any given song in Hamilton is well-written, beautifully performed, and perfectly staged. But, the "Helpess"/"Satisfied" sequence is still a stand-out. First-time viewers have no idea what's in store when Angelica begins her toast at Eliza and Alexander's wedding, and sometimes miss the intricate details that go into the staging of "Satisfied."
In fact, the flashback recreates the choreography from "Helpless" -- but this time, Angelica is at the center of the action. This idea is simple in theory, but extremely challenging in practice, given the different styles, lengths, and tempos of the two songs. The choreography actually slows down during the flashback as Angelica raps rapidly over the scene, demonstrating her ability to think on her feet. Once she finishes explaining her thought process, the staging fast-forwards through the rest of Eliza and Alexander's courtship and ends up back at Angelica's toast, where the song started. The attention to detail is what makes this one of the best sequences in the show.

Madison's Coughing

James Madison and Thomas Jefferson in Hamilton
James Madison and Thomas Jefferson in Hamilton
From his first entrance in Act II, James Madison is constantly coughing into a handkerchief. While it is only briefly alluded to in the lyrics, this is a reference to his real-life health problems. Throughout his life, Madison suffered from various illnesses. He suffered from depression, started having seizures after a close friend's death, and later contracted malaria. It's a small detail, but one that's grounded in history and helps flesh out Madison's character.

Eliza in Mourning

Viewers may have noticed that when Eliza comes to see her dying son in "Stay Alive (Reprise)," she's already wearing black. Although this may be because Soo doesn't have time for a costume change, some fans have speculated that there could be another explanation. Eliza may have already been in mourning for her younger sister, Peggy, who died the same year as Philip. While this hasn't been officially confirmed by the creators, it does add an extra emotional gut punch to the story.

Alex Lacamoire's Participation

The Reynolds Pamphlet Hamilton
The Reynolds Pamphlet Hamilton
During the chaos of "The Reynolds Pamphlet," some may have missed the participation of Hamilton's music director, orchestrator, and conductor, Alex Lacamoire. As the rest of the cast throw pamphlets around the stage, Lacamoire's hand pops out of the orchestra pit and Jefferson happily hands him a pamphlet. He is also seen applauding Christopher Jackson at the end of "One Last Time."
Directed by Thomas Kail, Hamilton stars Lin Manuel-Miranda, Daveed Diggs, Renée Elise Goldsberry, Leslie Odom, Jr., Christopher Jackson, Jonathan Groff, Phillipa Soo, Jasmine Cephas Jones, Anthony Ramos, Okieriete Onaodowan and more. The recorded performance is currently streaming on Disney+.
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