By Sophie Novak
To all “Hamilton” skeptics, I understand if you’re wondering how the story of the ten-dollar founding father become a hit Broadway musical? How did a bastard, orphan, son of a whore go on and on, grow into more of a phenomenon?
Before seeing the show, I admit, I doubted it, too. But after witnessing the first five minutes of “Hamilton,” I knew that history had its eyes on this show, and the world would never be the same. Since then, I’ve made it my mission to show Lin-Manuel Miranda’s elegance and eloquence to as many people as possible. “The World Was Wide Enough” for more superfans. So all of you out there who want to solidify your “Hamilton” legacy, listen up:
- Know the score. Any diehard “Hamilton” fan knows that the real genius lies in Lin’s lyrics, which tell the story of our founding fathers and the birth of our nation through rap, hip-hop and R&B ballads, with dozens of rhythms, rhymes and lines that reference famous songs. If you really want to rise up as a “Hamilton” expert, learn every word of the score that won 11 Tony Awards. When you can finally rap along to the music without a hitch, go over the words “One Last Time.” Just you wait, your memorization will pay off eventually. “Say No To This” fundamental step, and you could be throwing away your shot at the title of No. 1 fan.
- Find your people. A good obsession can only be fostered with the help of a support group of equally obsessed fans. Don’t simply be “Satisfied” with a subpar group of superfans; look around, look around and take your time. You’re looking for a mind at work, so you have to be willing to “Wait For It.” Remember, you’re not “Helpless” in this process of recruitment; unless your new friends can get through Lafayette’s entire rap in “Guns and Ships,” you should consider rethinking your options. The only catch is that you can never “Take a Break” from your “Hamilton” studies, lest your “Right Hand Man” surpass you as the No. 1 “Hamilton” expert.
- Worship Miranda. You better know every award he’s won (including the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and a MacArthur Genius grant), every last tweet of his, every single Tony acceptance speech, like your life depends on it. Believe me, you won’t regret being able to say “I Know Him,” and you will never find anyone as trusting or as kind as Lin-Manuel Miranda. You don’t want to “Take a Break” and go to bed thinking, “What Did I Miss?”
While you’re at it, get to know the rest of the original cast, too. You know you’re on the right track when you picture Christopher Jackson instead of George Washington when someone mentions the historical figure.
- Talk the talk. Do this by slipping phrases from the show into casual conversation. It’ll help make “Hamilton” an essential part of your identity. Summon all the courage you require, and start by experimenting a bit. Maybe begin all of your texts with “Dear Sir, I hope this letter finds you in good health” for a month. Honestly, if you’re not at the point where everyday surprises cause you to sing “the world turned upside down” in your head, you’re doing something horribly wrong. (I’m also sorely disappointed in all of you who’ve been reading every reference in this guide, rather than singing each one.)
Eventually you won’t be blowing us all away with your endless knowledge, but that’s OK. You’ll be “Hamilton’s” No. 1 superfan. “That Would Be Enough.”
- Save your cash. More than anything else, all superfans want to be in “The Room Where It Happens” (to the point where, if you’re honest with yourself, it’s a bit concerning). My final piece of advice for you “Hamilton” junkies is to start saving up for 2020 — when you’ll finally be able to get a ticket.
About the author: Sophie Novak is a senior who has seen Hamilton three times, is an avid listener to the soundtrack, and is well on her way to memorizing the entire show. Her piece mimics Miranda’s own genius of referencing iconic lines and artists in his lyrics by weaving lines and song titles from “Hamilton” throughout. There are 32. Did you find them all? (Hint: lyrics are in italics and song titles are in quotes.)