NYU Theatre Major Freshman Picks Favorite Hamilton Lyrics

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What a night for Lin-Manuel Miranda and the cast of Hamilton! The Tony Awards celebrated everything Hamilton. The evening was Hamilton’s, with 11 awards dominating the evening and coming in one shy of the record (12). But this seemingly ‘overnight success story’ actually began at an early age for Miranda.

He is passionate, he is humble, and he is an Artist.

He attended the elementary school at Hunter College for gifted students. It would become a formative experience for him: “You know, I went to a school where everyone was smarter than me. And I’m not blowin’ smoke, I was surrounded by genius kids”, said Lin-Manuel Miranda on 60 Minutes. “What’s interesting about growing up in a culture like that is you go, ‘All right, I gotta figure out what my thing is. Because I’m not smarter than these kids. I’m not funnier than half of them, so I better figure out what it is I wanna do and work really hard at that.’ Intellectually I’m treading water to be here…so I picked a lane and I started running ahead of everybody else. That’s the honest answer. It was like…’All right THIS”! added Miranda.

The son of immigrant parents from Puerto Rico, Lin-Manuel grew up in the Linwood neighborhood in south Manhattan. His father a political consultant and his mother a psychologist. Growing up his parents confessed they believed he was going to be something great, however, they didn’t know if it would be financially sustaining.

He would spend his childhood summers visiting his grand parents home in Puerto Rico. After attending Wesleyan University, he began writing his first musical, In the Heights. Heavily based on his upbringing, the musical focused on a tight-knit community in Washington Heights, a largely Dominican-American neighborhood.

Miranda continued to rewrite In the Heights for five years before it opened to acclaim Off-Broadway. It soon transferred to Broadway and was nominated in many categories of the prestigious Tony Awards. The music of the show featured many different styles, such as rap, salsa, and bodegas.

Miranda’s inspiration for Hamilton was on the heels of winning four Tony Awards 2008 including “Best Musical” “Best Score”, “Best Original Score”, and “Best Choreography” for In The Heights. After the success of his first show, Miranda picked up an autobiography on Alexander Hamilton and he was fascinated by the compelling story of a leader who came from nothing, which led him to develop the Hamilton project. Titled Hamilton, this phenomenon draws the founding fathers and their families in stark detail. Told through rap, jazz, and hip-hop, the beginnings of a nation are shown.

Working to ensure more work for people of color, Miranda wrote the characters, including Thomas Jefferson and George Washington, for non-white actors. With an incredibly diverse cast and crew, Hamilton opened Off-Broadway at the Public Theatre in 2015 and extended many times. A transfer to Broadway later that year was met with critical acclaim and box office records. The show is currently sold out into 2017 and won 11 of the record 16 Tony Awards for which it was nominated. To cap it off, Miranda won the Tony Award for Best Score and Best Book as author and composer.

Have you had the good fortune to experience Hamilton yet? In honor of HipLatina’s June focus on art and performance, here are my favorite exchanges of the performance:

If you stand for nothing, Burr, what’ll you fall for?

I’m past patiently waitin’.

I’m passionately smashin’ every expectation.

Every action’s an act of creation!

I’m laughin’ in the face of casualties and sorrow.

For the first time, I’m thinkin’ past tomorrow

We push away what we can never understand. We push away the unimaginable

You forfeit all rights to my heart, You forfeit the place in our bed. You sleep in your office instead, With only the memories of when you were mine, I hope that you burn

Legacy. What is a legacy? It’s planting seeds in a garden you never get to see

“I’ve been reading Common Sense by Thomas Paine

So men say that I’m intense or I’m insane

You want a revolution? I want a revelation

So listen to my declaration:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident

That all men are created equal”

And when I meet Thomas Jefferson

I’mma compel him to include women in the sequel”

Let me tell you what I wish I’d known

“When I was young and dreamed of glory

You have no control

Who lives, who dies, who tells your story”

“Let me tell you what I wish I’d known

When I was young and dreamed of glory

You have no control

Who lives, who dies, who tells your story”

– Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story

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