IMPORTANT NOTE: Submissions are now closed. However, the blog is featuring a “Song a Day” so you can suggest your favorite audiolicious sounds here.
Essential Goth/post punk/alternative bands
Hello weirdos! A lot of folks seem to be a little lost when first setting foot into the goth subculture and don’t know where to go for band recommendations. Here’s a list of important, influential bands that contributed to the goth subculture - along with several favs - I put together with Dean (angry punk pictured above).
In order to avoid classification issues, they’re categorized by sound rather than specific genre. Keep in mind that this list is personal, and most importantly, ever growing! If you would like to add a band, submit your recommendations to the list here. I would love to have your contributions. So, here we go:
Sounds dead or undead:
Bauhaus (1978-2008) “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” is a national anthem. Lead singer Peter Murphy has really pointy cheek bones.
Peter Murphy (1983-present) his solo work, not as angular as his facial features.
Love and Rockets (1985-present) Peter Murphy got stuck hanging upside down on stage and the Bauhaus members formed a band without him.
Joy Division (1976-1980) Ian Curtis was an energetic dancer, to say the least. “Love Will Tear Us Apart” and “Transmission” are famous songs.
The Sisters of Mercy (1980-present) Andrew Eldritch is not goth, he swears.
The Cure (1976-present) lead singer Robert Smith is a giant cat with red lipstick. He cries on stage and his tears cure cancer.
Cocteau Twins (1979-1997)
Sex Gang Children (1991-present)
Wire (1976-1980) seriously underrated. Would recommend the album “Pink Flag”.
Lydia Lunch amazing female singer. Try the album “13.13”.
Clan of Xymox (1983-present) are you kidding no one’s voice is this deep.
The Chameleons (1981-2003) has the ability to sound woeful yet jolly.
The Mission (1986-present) “Into the Blue” is a good start.
Depeche Mode (1980-present) dark and gloomy synths. Known for “Personal Jesus”, “Enjoy the Silence”, “Never let Me Down Again” and a billion others.
Fields of the Nephilim (1984-present) vocalist Carl McCoy is a desert cowboy.
The March Violets (1981-present) listen to “The Botanic Verses”.
The Bolshoi (1983-1988) start with the album “Friends”.
The Danse Society (1980-present) try the album “Heaven is Waiting”.
The Southern Death Cult (1981-1983) has a song called “Fatman”. Ian Astbury teamed up with Billy Duffy from Theatre of Hate to create Death Cult which later became The Cult, another band worth checking out.
Play Dead (1981-1985) doesn’t like being called goth. Musicians that don’t like being labeled? Unheard of.
Corpus Delicti (1993-1998) name means “body of crime”. Just saying.
Nosferatu (1988-present) actual vampires making music.
Big Electric Cat
Mephisto Walz (1985-present)
The Wake pretty sure Eldritch’s cousin is in the video “Christine”.
Echo & the Bunnymen (1978-present) known for “The Killing Moon” which you might remember from the movie Donnie Darko.
The Jesus & Mary Chain (1983-present) known for “Just Like Honey”.
Children on Stun (1991-present) would recommend the song “Whiskey a Go-Go”, you’ll be…*lowers sun glasses* stunned.
Dead Can Dance (1981-present)
And Also the Trees (1979-present) the dictionary definition of “dark and brooding”.
Red Lorry Yellow Lorry (1981-present)
Magazine (1977-2011) listen to the album “Real Life”.
Concrete Blonde (1986-present)
Gene Loves Jezebel (1980-present)
Tones on Tail (1982-1984) Daniel Ash’s (Bauhaus) illegitimate child side project.
Curve (1990-2005) Toni Haliday’s seductive alto voice against a backdrop of layered guitars and drum loops; fans of Curve generally regard Garbage as having stole their shtick and made it pop-friendly.
Bella Morte (1996-present)
Leæther Strip (1988-present) with forays into industrial/ebm; Highly Recommend “Serenade For The Dead” and “Self-Inflicted”.
Love Like Blood (1989-2011) the Sisters of Mercy and Type O Negative’s German child.
The Merry Thoughts (1983-1998) another German band that sounds like the Sisters of Mercy.
A Pale Horse Named Death (2011-present) another Type O Negative offshoot, this band has the original drummer on vocals and their drummer on drums. Very dark and devoid of Type O’s black humor, but still a great listen.
The Cruxshadows (1992-present) an alternative musical start for many. The important thing: spiky hair.
Deathrockers and undead punks:
Christian Death (1979-present) founded by Rozz Williams, but faced several line up issues (a second Christian Death featured Valor Kand rather than Rozz Williams). Known for “Romeo’s Distress”. Start with “Only Theatre of Pain” then “Catastrophe Ballet”.
Specimen (1980-present) features the cofounder of the Batcave. Best known for “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” and Johnny Slut being awesome.
Cinema Strange (1994-present) listen to the album of the same name. Known for their acts on stage.
The Deadfly Ensemble similar in feel to Cinema Strange with the same “story telling” aspect.
Voodoo Church (1982-present)
Misfits (1977-present) 1950s horror told by crazy guys with guitars and muscles. Personal favorite album: “Static Age”. Singer Glenn Danzig went on to create Danzig. Also make your day better by listening to the “Monster Mash” cover.
The Cramps (1976-2009) originators of “psychobilly”. Highly original and sleazy with class.
Alien Sex Fiend (1982-present) husband and wife that sound like legit extra-terrestrials. Proof that there is no such thing as taking yourself seriously.
The Damned (1976-present) lead singer, Dave Vanian, is a vampire.
Blood and Roses underrated. Listen to “Your Sin is Your Salvation”.
The Birthday Party (1977-1983) pretty jazzy. Nick Cave, vocalist, likes to wear suits and release bats from caves.
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds (1984-present) this guys is so interesting he is set apart from the Bad Seeds and he has a movie.
Virgin Prunes (1977-1986) known for “Baby Turns Blue”.
The Psychedelic Furs (1977-present) remember the movie “Pretty in Pink”? Well there. Try the album “Psychedelic Furs”!
Anorexic Dread (1983-1985) short lived but worth knowing.
Flesh for Lulu (1982-present)
UK Decay (1978-present)
Lene Lovich “I Think We’re Alone Now”
Skeletal Family (1982-present)
Klaus Nomi (1977-1983) the late artist sounded like he looked: surprised and hauntingly original.
The Morgans (mid 1990s-1996) try “Half Girl Half Jesus”.
Xmal Deutschland (1980-1990)
Angry about something:
Siouxsie and the Banshees (1976-2002) pronounced “Suzy”. I know you know, but I didn’t at first. “Spellbound, “Happy House”, “Cities in Dust”, plenty to listen to. And, Siouxsie Sioux rocks.
Killing Joke (1978-present) where do I begin? Do I begin at all? You know what, it doesn’t matter if you skip this entire list and just listen to this one band. I’ll spare you the essay and recommend the album of the same name, “Laugh? I nearly bought one!”, “Democracy”, “Extremities, Dirt and Various Repressed Emotions” and “Pandemonium”. More than the sound are the lyrics, the members and the message.
1919 (1980-present) underrated to the extreme. Similar to Killing Joke in sound and vibe.
Nina Hagen (1971-present) she’s wicked cool, in sound and style. And also she’s German.
Type O Negative (1990-2010) American metal band with widely respected singer/bassist, the late Peter Steele.
45 Grave (1979-present)
The Stranglers (1974-present)
New Model Army (1980-present)
Public Image Limited aka PIL (1978-present) John Lydon’s [aka Jonny Rotten of Sex Pistols] post-punk band that created gems like “The Order of Death” and “Rise”.
Life of Agony (1989-present) Alternative metal band from Brooklyn. Had Type O Negative’s original drummer after he left. Slightly thrashy, but sludgy and dark as well.
Witchy, “psycho-delic” or heavily historical:
Switchblade Symphony (1989-1999) would recommend the album “Serpentine Gallery”.
Strawberry Switchblade (1981-1985) listen to earlier works.
Faith and the Muse (1993-present)
Soap & Skin (2008-present)
The Velvet Underground & Nico the album is known for the songs “Venus in Furs” and “All Tomorrow’s Parties”. Check out Nico, another wicked German artist.
Chelsea Wolf (2009-present)
Stevie Nicks (1981-present)
The Legendary Pink Dots (1980-present)
Black Tape for a Blue Girl (1986-present)
Sopor Aeternus & the Ensemble of Shadows (1989-present) taken straight from the Grim Reaper’s playlist.
Inkubus Sukkubus (1989-present) check out “Call Out My Name,” “Vampyra,” and “Belladonna And Aconite.”
Rasputina (1992-present) historical influences with a storytelling twist.
Emilie Autumn somewhat controversial with fans, but excellent violinist.
Discombobulated former construction workers:
Skinny Puppy (1982-present) très important industrial band.
OhGr by Nivek Ogre of Skinny Puppy. ReCcoMeNd tHe AlbUm “wELt”?
Einsturzende Neubauten (1980-present) post Throbbing Gristle -PS try them out as well- industrial.
Ministry (1981-present) famous for “Every Day is Halloween”. Recommend earlier work and the album “Twitch”. Their newer albums are more metal oriented.
KMFDM (1984-present) perverse, angry and awesome.
Front Line Assembly (1986-present)
Thrill Kill Kult (1987-present)
Nitzer Ebb (1982-present) English guy shouts over drum machines.
Front 242 (1981-present) Belgian guy kinda sings over drum machines.
Nine Inch Nails (1988-present) American guy screams over drum machines [early NIN], sings over distorted synths and guitars [later NIN].
Everything off of the Wax Trax! label circa 1990
Presumably angry punks:
Dead Kennedys (1978-1986) featured living people and some unforgettable tunes, notably from the album “Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables”.
Sex Pistols (1975-2008) So punk, much anarchy.
Bad Brains (1977-present) a mix of punk and reggae, a genre within itself that redefined the scene.
Black Flag (1976-present)
Minor Threat (1980-1983) accidentally slipped and gave birth to straight edgers.
Fugazi (1987-2002) with vocalist Ian MacKaye from Minor Threat.
Adolescents (1980-present) pfff, these guys are totally adults.
The Clash (1976-1985) “London Calling” is trying to reach you.
Joan Jett a fine lady that doesn’t give an inkling of care about her unfavorable reputation.
X-Ray Spex (1976-present) featuring the ever so awesome and PVC’s opposite, Poly Styrene.
Bad Religion (1979-present) - note: skip “Into The Unknown”, everything else is golden
Halloween Town escapees:
Voltaire evil top hat wearer that was featured in an episode of Billy and Mandy’s Grim Adventures.
Creature Feature did you know? Edward Gorey and Danny Elfman had kids.
Nox Arcana creepy soundtrack for your life…or afterlife.
More freaky people:
Tom Waits (1949-present) the essence of a Western.
David Bowie (1964-present) commonly referred to as “God”.
Leonard Cohen (1967-present) he’s Canadian.
John Cale (1965-present)
Culture Club (1982-1986) just, Boy George.
Nico former Velvet Underground member, German ex-model singing songs titled things like “Janitor of Lunacy” off-key.
The Smiths (1982-1987) Morrissey is like the Charlie Brown of British pop music: he’ll never win, and therefore is One Of Us.
POCs in Goth/post punk/alternative bands masterpost
Here’s a list of bands featuring members of color. Most are influential, others new discoveries or future freak gods. Thanks to research and helpful readers, here’s a bit of sick sound suitable for all taste buds:
Goth, dark or industrial:
Creature Feature - Erik X is an evil composer and organ player with a special gift for raising the dead.
Plastique Noir -the Brazilian band that made the song “Empty Streets” that’s just too dark to handle.
O. Children - contrary to popular belief, Tobi O’Kandi is not, in fact, a black reincarnation of Ian Curtis.
Thrill Kill Kult - sick industrial band with several poc members.
Android Lust - Shikhee is Bangladeshi, and she makes some of the best industrial music ever heard.
She Past Away
Malice Mizer and Moi Dix Mois
Corrupted - awesome japanese doom/sludge band that are considered super influential in the scene.
Light Asylum - heavy dark synth primarily. It’s really fun and the front singer HAS A MIGHTY POWER.
Punk, hardcore or post-hardcore:
Bad Brains - why most of the bands on this list even exist.
Death - not to be confused with the metal band of the same way. Not that you could confuse the members in any way.
Rough Francis - founded by the sons of David Hackney of Death.
Pure Hell - afropunk taken literally.
X-Ray Spex - Poly Styrene was the energy and feel of the band. Actually, she was just energy and feel period. Fun fact: she was also bipolar.
Radkey - Rad.
TMGE - Japanese band named “Thee Michelle Gun Elephant” or as they prefer: JAPANESE BAND NAMED “THEE MICHELLE GUN ELEPHANT”.
Tamar Kali - powerful musician, especially known for “Boot”.
The Objex - Feloney Melony’s got a wicked hawk and voice.
Stiffed - Santi White now performs solo as Santigold.
Midori - great jazz-punk fusion band.
Le Butcherettes - Mexican garage punk band.
Atari Teenage Riot
Dev Hynes - a British musician who started out in a punk band Test Icicles then went solo as a folk/indie musician as Lightspeed Champion and now is doing an electronic/R&B thing as Blood Orange.
L’Arc-en-Ciel - Okay, so these guys are Japan’s other most famous export. These guys got known outside of japan for doing some major anime theme songs (Fullmetal Alchemist, Gundam 00, NANA live action movie, etc) and were the first Japanese act to headline Madison Square Garden (Japanese rock bands really like New York for some reason). Their bassist tetsuya (formally known as tetsu) gets bonus points for being one of Japan’s only out LGBT celebrities (he’s Bi).
Gogol Bordello - self described as “gypsy punk”. Singer Eugene Hütz is Russian-Ukranian with Romani heritage and born with a ‘stache. Nearly crazier than Little Big and Korpiklaani combined.
The Bots - punk duo made of two brothers.
Bow Wow Wow - IIIIIII Waaaant Caaandy!!!
Love Equals Death
Ritualization - blackened death metal from Orléans, France
Martin Sorrondeguy - spoke out about US based Latino issues in many of his lyrics and was involved in bands Los Crudos, Limp Wrist and Needles.
Metal, funk/rap/reggae metal fusion or core:
Blasphemy - Black metal, the biggest irony on earth as Caller of the Storms remains one of the rare black musicians within the genre.
Babymetal - this Japanese trio is more metal than a viking woman on her period in the middle of a battlefield drinking the blood of her enemies to the sound of Immortal…for some at least.
Wicked Wisdom - Will Smith’s wife get a band?? Yes she Will.
Unlocking the Truth - these 13 year olds played in the streets of NYC before they opened for Living Colour.
Absolace - amazing metal from Dubai.
Living Colour - better than Dead Monochrome.
King’s X - more hard rock, but hey.
Bionic Jive - one of the better hip-hop/metal fusions.
Skindred - check out the album “Roots Rock Riot”.
Ego Fall - a Chinese folk metal band and also Corbac’s fave. Mixing tradition with heavier sounds.
Static X - Japanese guitarist Koichi Fukuda & Mexican-American bassist Tony Campos.
Sepultura - the founding members are all Brazilian, currently their lead singer (Derrick Green) is black. “Arise” is a massive album of pure metal awesomeness.
Straight Line Stitch
Blood Stain Child
Tenger Cavalry - a folk metal band based out of Bejing who describe their style as “Mongolian folk metal”. Like this and you’d probably enjoy Ego Fall.
Cthonic - Taiwanese metal band who’s lead singer is also the president for the Taiwanese branch of Amnesty International.Most of their music deals with their goal of an independent Taiwan and they’re really REALLY great.
Invasion - a stoner/psych-metal band fronted by a valkyrie space wizard out of London.
Vodun - like invasion, marries punk, psychedelic, and doom metal influenced instrumentals with soul influenced vocals to create a unique and original takes on doom metal.
Animals as Leaders - most suggested band on this list and for good reason.
Veil of Maya
Body Count - Ice T’s metal band rules. It would be a little tastier with ice cubes though.
Hirax - pioneering thrash/speed metal band (with hardcore influences). Katon De Pena is one of the most distinctive vocalists of the then-burgeoning California metal scene. Though they never achieved the success of some of their contemporaries like Metallica or Slayer, they have long been an insiders’ favorite and cited as an influence by bands ranging from Napalm Death to Cannibal Corpse to Darkthrone.
Melechesh - an Assyrian black metal band originating from Jerusalem whose lyrical themes include Mesopotamian mythology and occultism.
Iron Man - American doom metal band with PoC members.
Sex Machineguns - Japanese speed metal band.
Hibria - Brazilian power metal band.
Metallica - their first lead guitarist was Lloyd Grant. Here he is in their first recording.
Gevolt - Yiddish band from Israel.
The Tony Danza Tap Dance Extravaganza
X Japan - Probably Japan’s most famous metal export. These guys are the reason Visual Kei (basically Japan’s gothic metal scene) exists. All those flashy JRock bands wouldn’t exist without X Japan. They also recently just played a huge show at Madison Square Garden.
Maximum the Hormone - Also known as “the guys that did that weird opening and ending to death note”, MTH do a fantastic combination of metal, punk, and even pop. The best part about MTH is that their lyrics don’t make sense even when translated so you can just have mindless fun listening to them even if you understand Japanese.
Suffocation - one of the most influential death metal acts of all time. Terrance Hobbs’ incredible mastery of the guitar allowed the band to blend complex technicality into the genre without sacrificing raw brutality.
Versailles Philharmonic Quintet
The Crimson Armada
Heaven in Her Arms
Here comes the Kraken
System of a Down
Fear Nuttin Band
Year of the Dragon - founder was a member of Fishbone.
Dir En Grey
Flagitious Idiosyncrasy in Dilapidation (FID) - Formed in Tokyo. Rad ladies playing some super hard grindcore.
Sarcofago - Brazilian band
Acrassicauda - Iraqi heavy metal. There is a film called “Heavy Metal in Baghdad”, about the band. Another documentary called Global Metal, which is by the same director as Heavy Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey, is highly recommended.
Sigh - one of the first japanese black mack metal bands led by a fierce lady.
Sabbat - Japanese black/thrash.
Blood Stain Child - rather epic sounding Japanese metal band with contrasting vocals and instrumentals.
Gallhammer - female Japanese extreme metal band of doom. The wickedest chicks, definitely recommend.
Avulsed - Spanish death metal band.
Necramynth - Korean black metal.
Crossfaith - japanese metalcore.
As they Burn - deathcore band from Paris, France.
Wolves and Jackals - blackened thrash/death metal from Atlanta, GA.
Infernal Revulsion - brutal death metal from Tokyo, Japan
Orange Sky - from Trinidad and Tobago.
Monuments - it’s got saxophone and it’s awesome.
Peelander-Z - watch the videos, you’ll be happy you did.
For Today - if you’re into Christian metal.
Dream Theater - John Myung plays in the influential prog metal band with the aid of his majestic hair.
Alternative or too cool to label:
Bat for Lashes - Natasha Khan’s songs are ethereal.
Skunk Anansie - Skin is a fierce woman with a fierce voice. Also, her eyes will pierce through your soul.
Dub War - often likened to Skindred. Not because the singer has dreads or anything. Or because it’s the same guy.
The Slack Republic - fairly new (2005), looking forward to more.
Pierce the Veil - they’re really more “Punk Pop” than anything else. All members are Mexican.
Coheed and Cambria
Alice in Chains
Boris - japanese experimental metal band highly influential in the doom, stoner, noise rock scene.
Bleed the Pigs - great band with a singer who has an awesome colorful fro.
Jimi Hendrix - duh.
Asian Dub Foundation
BIS (Brand-New Idol Society) - considered “alternative Japanese idols”, and have done some amazing things including recruiting a new member who was rumored to be a high school girl and turned out to be Junko Koshino, a famous fashion designer who is 74 yrs old. Their song + video for MURA-MURA is excellent.
Go Betty Go - chicano rock, “pop punk”. Several of their songs are in Spanish.
Melt-Banana - Japanese noise rock band.
Rage Against the Machine
TV on the Radio
Bloc Party - singer is gay and black.
The Go! Team
The English Beat
One Ok Rock
ELLEGARDEN - JAPAN’S BEST 90s/EARLY 2000s POP PUNK ROCK EXPORT I’M NOT EVEN KIDDING. Part of what contributes to this is Takeshi Hosomi (singer/rhythm guitarist) writing ¾ of the band’s discography in perfect english. Unfortunately they went on hiatus in 2006, but that spawned two more fantastic bands: Takeshi does experimental progressive indie in the HIATUS (its the same guy I swear), and guitarist Shinichi Ubukata formedNothing’s Carved In Stone which is basically a Japanese alt. rock supergroup.
Nothing’s Carved in Stone
Shonen Knife - you can’t talk about japanese girl rock without the literal originators of the movement/popularity. Because Kurt Cobain said he listened them, a HUGE surge of all girl bands started popping up over Japan.
The Pillows - alt rock band from Hokkaido.
Set it Off
Shiva En Exil
Guns N’ Roses - Slash.
(Hed) PE - (or Planet Earth) original sound described as “G-Punk”, a fusion of punk rock and gangsta rap.
She Wants Revenge
Skip the Use - with influence from various genres and a black lead.
Elsiane - Formed in Montreal. Fronted by Elsieanne Caplette. Trip-hop/downtempo.
Fall Out Boy’s bassist Pete Wentz English/German and Afro-Jamaican.
Sonic Boom Six
Cibo Matto - real cool duo.
Wormrot - grindcore from Singapour.
Toe - post rock from Japan.
Guitar Wolf - “Jet Rock n’ roll”.
The Coup - Yesssss.
Street Sweeper Social Club
Merchant Ships - post hardcore.
The Skints - reggae/dub/punk fusion.
White Town - bzangy deserves WAY more recognition! You’ve probably already heard “I Could Never be Your Woman.”
The Mars Volta
Drill Queen - Born Depressed is just the greatest song.
Death Grips - experimental rap.
Remember that submissions are closed but you can still submit to Song a Day here (on diningwithdana.net/submit) to have your favorite sounds featured on the blog!
I was lucky enough to go see @hamiltonthemusical at the end of December. I don’t normally recommend selling body parts for cash in order to see a Broadway show, but in this case, hey……..you technically only need one kidney to survive. Seeing this show live is indescribable; it truly is a religious experience.
I, like most people at this point, have listened to the OBCR on repeat for months. I tend to be a very visual person and went into the show having mentally pictured how things would play out before my eyes as much as I could. I wanted to write down the specifics of what stood out to me, of what my mind now recalls when listening despite having well-left the theatre, little details included. Mostly so that I don’t forget, but also in case anyone else was interested as well.(Apologies for the length & gifs taken from all over; none are mine, I’m merely using to demonstrate what I’m talking about.)
1. “Alexander Hamilton”
The show starts and you can immediately see the brilliance of the set.
Look at that: that’s it; that’s your scenery for the whole show. No set changes, just the addition of props like tables or chairs or candles. And it works beautifully. The staircases allow for movement and the balcony allows for split-level action. The framework has intricacies and alcoves all over that the ensemble can easily slide into/against, letting them sing harmonies from the sidelines while not being a part of the action until needed. Plus, the “viewers of history” can literally look down upon it as it plays out. Also, the brick and woodwork really lend to the period visual. It is unbelievably effective in its seeming simplicity.
2. “Aaron Burr, Sir”
The guys literally carry the table in. Like, Laurens starts shouting, “Showtime! Showtime!” AS they’re carrying it in; it’s cute.
Oak’s the one drumming the
beat on the table when the trio starts their self-intros. And Lafayette
stands up from the table to do his and it’s fucking ADORABLE.
3. “My Shot”
Lin being Lin; Lin just doing what Lin was BORN to do: cause your soul to soar and take your breath away.
When Alex starts his, “oh, am I talking to loud?”
bit, everything stops, the color of the light on him changes, as if a
frozen aside, but really just a reflection of the last smidge of
reserved doubt he exhibits; everything resumes as soon as Laurens’
“let’s get this guy in front of a crowd!”
And the dancing! As if the beat wasn’t infectious enough, the dancing somehow makes it more so.
ensemble singing the last few verses together is just so powerful that
the energy sweeps the room. Especially when Alex steps off his (actual
soap) box and takes a few steps forward with the rest of the ensemble to
Lin…I don’t have words to describe Lin so I’m not even going to try. He’s just chock-full of such infectious energy and raw brilliance that’s it’s BLINDING to witness.
4. “The Story Of Tonight”
I’m gonna be the merciless asshole to point out that Laurens is the very 1st to “raise a glass to freedom”…and the only one to give his life for it of the four. HAHAHA, BYE, GUYS; IT’S BEEN REAL.
5. “The Schuyler Sisters”
Burr sidles into Eliza with his “I’m a trust fund, baby,”
absolutely violating her space as he hits on her. She doesn’t back
down when she fires back at him, instead stepping right into his space
and shoving against his chest.
6. “Farmer Refuted”
I love, love, love Lafayette during this. Mulligan wraps an arm around Alex’s shoulder, “tear this dude apart;” Lafayette says nothing, just silently pushes Alex forward a bit towards Seabury to spur him on. Burr then stops him, “let him be,”
and Alex listens. So Lafayette, still seemingly innocent and quiet as a mouse,
comes up behind Alex against and just gently pushes him forward by, like,
the small of his back. SUCH AN INSTIGATOR. (God, I love Lafayette.)
Seabury is giving his speech off a paper from atop a box. With, “if you repeat yourself again,” Alex has stepped ONTO the box with him and is behind his shoulder saying this IN HIS EAR.
7. “You’ll Be Back”
Yes, that walk is everything they
say it is. You know WHY it’s so funny? It’s not intrinsically in the
walk itself; it’s because the walk is so damn slow. The King enters from the
back wall of the stage and walks all the way across it to the front. His
pace never hastens, never changes, never wavers. You initially laugh
from the absurdity and then the laughter grows and grows the longer it
takes. The song doesn’t start until he’s in place and you bet your ASS
that bastard makes you wait for it. It’s hilarious.
“Why so sad?” *VISIBLE EXAGGERATED BOTTOM LIP POUT*
8. “Right Hand Man”
I know I read somewhere Daveed saying that it’s amazing, he no longer
pictures Washington as the ‘normal’ image of Washington: an older man
in that damn white wig. That Chris Jackson now IS his Washington and
Godddddd, do those words ring true. Common pictures of Washington now
just throw me off because I EXPECT Chris!Jackson!Washington.
It’s funny because I think the recording comes off easier on Burr
during this song. Just listening to voices, I took it as Washington was
eager and grateful for Burr’s possible advice. Yet seeing it play out,
it’s not that way at all. Burr just lets himself in to Washington’s
quarters and starts yammering. Washington seems far more irritated and
disinterested than anything else. It was clear that his “close the door on your way out” was purposely cutting Burr off and kicking him out.
“I need someone like you to lighten the load. So?”
Washington just holds out a quill to Alex; the ensemble starts the “My
Shot” refrain as Alex just stares at it before making his choice. I
really like that because as much as he wanted to fight, that writing
implement really WAS his weapon of choice…and that was when he chose it
above all else.
9. “A Winter’s Ball”
Just as amazing as one would hope. Ridiculous frat-boy dancing while talking about women. Lol.
“Martha Washington named her feral tomcat after him.”
Now, you gotta imagine that Narrator!Burr is at the front of the stage,
singing to the audience. Alex comes running up behind him, half leans
over Burr’s side, with his pointer finger out, to go, “that’s true!”
The sidestep-crabwalk-playa’ walk they do to “hey, hey, hey, hey” is absolutely amazing.
Really cool to watch the staging of
this because they have to pretend to go from the dance, to the Schuyler
house, to their wedding; it’s all done seamlessly. Don’t forget, there are no set changes, merely additions to set dressings. All the lit candles
for the wedding were beautiful. And yes, Hercules still comes out and
throws his THREE flower petals and it’s fantastic.
Also, PIPPA. Sweetness and light personified. I cannot express how perfectly cast she is. What a voice, what a talent.
I’m the type of person that has to imagine everything out whenever
reading or listening to something, so I already had most of the show
mapped out in my head, as I said above; obviously, sometimes I was right & sometimes I
was wrong and pleasantly surprised. But there were some moments that I sincerely
had no idea how they were going to stage, and the “rewind” portion of this song is one of them.
It was sincerely, unbelievably incredible. They, quite literally, rewind.
The second that beat starts, they all move backwards slowly, then with
increasing speed, from the wedding reception, through the wedding, to
their positions at the start of the dance. The show LITERALLY hitting a
rewind button. Spectacular.
Alex, in his first words to
Angelica, is EXTREMELY flirtatious. It was very clear that he had
definitely set out to win over the elder sister.
Angelica’s last verse before her wedding reception speech starts up again (“To the groom!”) is set up so beautifully.
She’s singing from the middle of the stage, Alex is in the
background, Eliza in the foreground, cornered into a diagonal. I can’t
remember if both are looking away from her, but I believe Alex has his
back towards as she sings (”at least I’ll keep his eyes in my life”). It’s haunting.
From there, they “fast-forward” back to their original positions at the
wedding reception at the start of the song. After Angelica’s speech,
the bride & groom walk off and she’s left there all alone singing
that she’ll never be satisfied. *SNIFF*
Also, Renee’s PIPES in this song, good GOD. She’s just SO fantastic: she can break your heart with the pain and longing gripping her face, yet belt your soul into Heaven.
12. “The Story of Tonight (Reprise)”
FRAT BOY DANCING; GOD BLESS THE FRAT BOY DANCING.
“You are the worst, Burr” is just as wonderful, even more so, in person, and remains one of the greatest things of all time.
When Laurens starts ribbing Burr, he flings an arm around Burr’s shoulder as he’s taunting him. LOL.
13. “Wait For It”
Just Leslie being Leslie, aka
psychotically brilliant. The calm, the slow build, the crescendos, the
fade out… Amazing. The ensemble hangs out in the shadows of the set and
sing the background harmonies; it’s fantastic.
14. “Stay Alive”
Lee flaps his wings like an over-excited bird when he sings “wee!” LOL. Like…Good LORD, Lee.
15. “Ten Duel Commandments”
Guuuuuh, you can really
see why they use a turntable on stage for the duels. It’s just amazing,
the stage easily revolving them around each other and keeping the song’s
Laurens DOES physically hand Alex a letter during “leave a note for your next of kin” and it makes the line very real.
Leslie changed his intonation on “ok, so we’re doing this” from the recording; his voice went up a little on the “doing.”
You could practically hear his eyes widen just in his tone of voice and
the crazy-eyed, exasperated stare he’d be giving the camera if this
were The Office instead of a stage musical. I loved it SO much.
16. “Meet Me Inside”
I had expected, for whatever
reason, Washington to be behind his desk and Alex to be pitching a very
gestural fit in front of him; I was pleasantly surprised to find that I
was wrong. Instead, Alex stands straight at attention, giving his
General the respect he deserves, as Washington circles Alex and berates
him. Alex answers, eyes ahead the entire time, never moving until “call me son ONE MORE TIME,” which is when he finally loses his cool, breaks his stance and gets in Washington’s face.
17. “That Would Be Enough”
I was curious, since Eliza never specifically states she’s pregnant
until after it’s clear Alex knows in the song, how they were going to
show it. When he walks in, she’s holding her stomach and I want you to
know, it’s STILL bothering me that I can’t figure out if they stuck
something under her dress to pad her belly or if it’s just the bustle of
the dress. LOL. WHY this is weighing on my mind, I have no idea.
It’s all very sweetly done though; they sit together on a bench as Eliza sings to him. *more sniffling*
18. “Guns and Ships”
Or as I generally refer to it,
“Daveed Makes Me Want To Shoot Myself In The Face
Because He’s Just So Fucking GOOD, GOD, WHY is he so GOOD?!”
Full disclosure: I
couldn’t even tell you anything about Leslie’s intro even if I wanted to
because I was too busy trying to figure out where the hell Lafayette
was on stage. Spoiler: he’s hunched over the table with all the
soldiers, who are also hunched over around him (as if going over battle
strategies on a map). He then jumps on top of table at the start of his
part and then, yes, leaps from the table during “watch me engagin’ them,” just like in that damn picture that kills me.
In which I am Laurens in the background. Jaw meet floor. It’s so good. It’s all just so good I could cry.
19. “History Has Its Eyes On You”
It’s been too long that I can’t remember anything of note; go me.
20. “Yorktown (The World Turned Upside Down)”
Hands down the line that gets the biggest reaction; audience went NUTS. And I can’t tell you how much I love that little floppy high-five that they do.
LOOK at that entrance! And Herc comes out BOUNCING. This whole song is SO energetic that it SURGES through the entire theatre, especially right here at Mulligan’s reemergence. And then the interlude after that with the dancing? GOD, SO infectious; it’s insane. I can’t even begin to describe it.
And then at the end, half the company standing on boxes or chairs declaring they won. GUH.
What’s funny is that this song is just as dramatically sung and staged as you would expect; it truly comes across as if it’s the closing of Act I. I was with 3 friends when I saw it and one had purposely stayed away from the music so that she could experience it for the first time live; even she expressed that she was surprised when Act I continued on past this. I love that it does though. We are subject to SO many giant and dramatic songs in this show; why stop now? ;)
21. “What Comes Next”
“I’m so blue.” *DRAMATIC FOOT STOMP*
And hearing the inflection on “awesome; wow” is just as fantastic live. My best friend next to me happy-clapped in her seat.
22. “Dear Theodosia”
I LOVE the staging for this song. Burr comes out all alone on stage with a single high-backed chair. He places is off-center stage right and instead of sitting down, stands behind it. Spotlight on him, he begins singing, forearms leaning against the top of the chair-back. Nearing the end of his verse, he circles the chair & sits down.
That’s when Alex comes out, carrying his own chair, setting it down off-center stage left just in the nick of time to start his own verse. Single spotlight now on each, Alex continues to sing in the same position Burr did. And exactly the same, near the end of his solo verse, he circles his chair & sits down.
They then join their voices and sing together about their respective children, sitting side-by-side, but just far enough apart, both in his own spotlight, facing the audience. It’s just…it’s a lovely metaphor. Their stories so similar, yet so different; so close, yet just far enough off that they wind up becoming adversaries. And the simple staging also makes you focus on the emotion behind their words.
22 ½. “Tomorrow There’ll Be More Of Us”
Oh HEY. Here’s the only full song not included on the recording, so therefore, I was not prepared for it: letter Alex gets from John’s father saying that he was killed in battle. Alex is at the front of the stage with Eliza when he reads it and you can also see Lafayette and Mulligan on the second tier getting a similar letter at the same time. Laurens comes out and just STANDS at the front of the stage in the spotlight as it’s read. No one takes it well; I still remember Lafayette needing to sit down while reading it as the shock knocks him off his feet. But when Eliza tries to comfort Alex, he walks away and says he needs to get back to work, refusing to deal with it, and it jumps right into “Non-Stop.”
So thanks for ONE last emotional gut-punch I wasn’t expecting, Lin! *shakes fist*
“I was chosen for the Constitutional Convention!” Alex literally side-skips to the front of the stage, giddy like a school-girl.
“Who’s your client?” “The new U.S. Constitution…” The latter said with a sheepish flourish of the hand in the air, like mapping out the words on a banner. LOL.
“I am sailing off to London…” Angelica comes walking down center-stage, arm hooked in Alex’s as she sings. When she leaves (”don’t forget to write”), she & Alex continue to hold hands as she walks away, their arms stretching out across the stage.
They utilize every aspect of the stage during this song and it’s great. Hamilton is generally center-stage for most of it, with people singing to him from various corners: Washington questions him from the upper right parapet, Eliza sings down to him from the farther left, the ensemble with Burr circle Alex in the middle as he writes & they question him, etc. It ends with Alex finally ascending the middle stairs, spotlight on him. (”I am not throwing away my shot!”)
1. “What’d I Miss”
Funny thing about the beginning of the second Act is that, like some other shows, there is no curtain and no Overture. They start the second the break is over; your only warning is the first beat before they break into song. So you’d best be in your SEAT cause they’ll just perform over you.
Daveed makes his second entrance with a flourish; he comes out at the top of the stairs on the second level, to thunderous applause, I might add. He immediately motions for people to hold their applause; the second it starts to die down, he makes a face, takes back his request, and starts motioning for more and people just go WILD. It’s fucking fantastic.
It’s ok, TJ; the slaves will just handle those stairs for your Purple Rain’ed behind. ;) Also, I will never be over the dance he does in this. Ever. It’s just not possible; I love it.
Let me just say, everyone in this show is phenomenal, but I’ll never get over how much pure, unadulterated talent Daveed brings to the stage. Whether Lafayette or Jefferson, the man is an undeniable force; he has an unequivocal presence that draws your eye, a gravitas that you can’t possibly deny. You immediately know you’re getting to witness something extremely special and very rare when watching him perform; it’s like magic.
“Mr. Jefferson, welcome home.” “Mr. Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton.” THIS. When Washington sings his line, he steps forward with a smile on his face to embrace Jefferson. Alex DARTS in front of him, singing his line, and shoves his hand out to Jefferson first, who, of course, just looks him up and down like, “who the actual fuck are you?” Oh, Alex….
2. “Cabinet Battle #1”
Chris trades his general uniform for his suave black Presidential duds and they’re just PERFECT for him to MC this song; I can’t express that enough.
Yes, Jefferson has as much conceited swagger on stage as he does in his voice. Lol. At the end of his bit, he LITERALLY mic drops. Holds his arm out dramatically and lets the mic fall; Madison catches it so it doesn’t land on the stage. It’s just SO over-dramatic, it’s FANTASTIC.
I know people are used to the clips we got of Alex doing the below line, but that was not the “dance”(ish) move I saw. He pretended to fluff his hair up real big like Jefferson’s. It makes me wonder if Lin does something different every night a la Rent’s “to every passing fad.” Anyone?
At the end of Alex’s bit (”I’ll show you where my shoe fits”), Jefferson is so pissed off and riled up that he angrily rushes towards Alex like he’s going to start a physical Cabinet brawl. It’s Washington who jumps up from his chair and separates the two.
3. “Take A Break”
It’s funny cause I wondered how they were going to make Philip a child. Do they have Anthony on his knees? No, they just doofy-up his clothes so that he “looks” dressed like a kid. Lol. It’s great because he’s practically the same height as Phillipa. But again, as Hamilton loves to prove to us, it just doesn’t. frickin. matter. People WILL suspend reality and use their imaginations.
Angelica starts her part on the second tier and descends the stairs slowly as she sings her letter back to him.
When the sisters start begging him to join them Upstate, they each take a hold of one of his hands while singing to him. At “I have to get my plan through Congress,” I forcefully shakes one off, then “I can’t stop til I get my plan through Congress,” he shakes the other off and walks away. I think, I THINK, he shakes Eliza off first.
4. “Say No To This”
Another song that I was really curious of the staging. I sincerely expected a bed to appear at some point, but no. Very minimal stage dressing; they keep Alex on the move instead. That is, until the end of the song, where he sits on a chair and she sits on his lap, facing the audience and he sings into her neck. It’s actually rather intimate.
Also, the song REALLY showcases Jasmine’s talent and that makes me so happy. She’s especially wonderful in this. Her voice is naturally just so silky and sultry and it lends to this song perfectly. But not just the temptress, she’s emits a vulnerability that makes you empathize with her. Sidenote: I’ll never be over how phenomenally gorgeous she looks in that red dress.
5. “The Room Where It Happens”
The deal silently plays out at the table behind Burr as he sings. Which is great because it allows the audience to see, it allows Jefferson, Madison, and Hamilton to get up and sing at their respective parts, and it allows Burr “into” the room afterwards.
At the start of “what did they say you to get you to sell New York City down the river,” the three at still at the table and Burr comes running up around Hamilton to sing to him. Hamilton gets up those and is standing at the front of stage right by “and we got the banks; we’re in the same spot.” It’s truly amazing to me how much they utilize movement to push the story forward.
Alex imitates Burr’s dramatic hand-flail during, “you get nothing if you *wait for it; wait for it*.”
That part in the above gif? It is PERFECTLY timed. I sincerely didn’t think he was going to make it to the table in time to have his feet up as he sung that line, but that’s EXACTLY how it plays out. It’s timed down to the MILLISECOND.
I love this. Burr leaps up and they rip the tablecloth out from under him. From the mezzanine, it looked like the actual tabletop was a reflective surface which caught the light. Therefore, *illuminating* Burr at “but we dream in the dark for the most part.” I’m honestly not sure if that is the case or not, cause it certainly doesn’t look like it in this gif, but if it is, it works well: this is HIS lightbulb moment.
The crescendo of the music and the build of the dancing just…you want to FLY from your seat and dance in the aisle; everything is SO electric that you can practically feel the air buzzing with it. The audience is soaring WITH Burr.
At that final “Click! Boom!,” Burr is back-lit in spotlight, except now, they don’t let the light fade. They keep his lighted silhouette on the stage because they’re prepared for it now. The audience LOSES it. Everyone means it when they say this song is a showstopper; it quite literally STOPS the entire show. People start screaming and cheering and clapping and just won’t STOP. So now, they just run with it; they let the show stop, they keep Burr lit in his moment, and allow the audience to deafeningly scream their support for at least a good 30 seconds before they forcefully move on. It’s a phenomenal feeling to be a part of.
6. “Schuyler Defeated”
“I’m sure he already knows” will never fail to make me laugh but sadly, Hamilton is not in the background shattering things in anger. Lol.
7. “Cabinet Battle #2”
“Uh, who provided those funds?” Jefferson literally holds the mic out to Madison who’s behind him so that he can haughtily answer “France.” HA.
“Daddy’s calling.” Never over it.
8. “Washington On Your Side”
Burr literally comes out of NOWHERE. Just comes STROLLING across the stage to stare at Hamilton as he walks away before he starts the song. It was HILARIOUS. Like, busy-body Burr is so obsessed with Alex that he’s just ALWAYS there ready to DRAG him to whoever’s around.
“I’m in the Cabinet”… That whole bit? Still fucking amazing. That is all.
I wanna mention Oak at this point, because people don’t talk about him enough. I think he tends to get a little overshadowed because of everyone else and he doesn’t get his own solo song but guh, he’s so good. His voice is just this low, gorgeous rumble. There’s a post going around that describes his voice as “a gentle earthquake feeding you chocolate.” Which is actually really descriptive and sincerely perfect. And he’s such a strong figure in both roles, even just in presence, and it’s fantastic cause he even brings a different ENERGY to each. I just really love everyone in this cast, ok?
Ah, now’s a good time to mention the letters. I LOVE what they do with the staging any time there’s a letter in the show. Think about it; it’d be hard to show how those letters are always being written and then delivered and THEN read. So everything happens quickly and almost simultaneously. The action never stops, the singing never stops; someone will lift a quill quickly, then hand a letter off to an ensemble member, never stopping, and the ensemble will literally *dance* it over to the recipient. The letter generally passes through multiple hands first before arriving at its intended destination, perfectly showcasing the passage of geography and time, while never taking you out of the moment.
I mention this hear because near the end of the song, Jefferson “writes” his resignation letter, which is then handed off and subsequently delivered to Washington. Washington has just opened and is reading it in semi-surprise as the trio sings their last line. It’s a great detail you obviously don’t get when just listening and leads perfectly into the next song, showing the audience how Washington knows before calling Alex in.
9. “One Last Time”
“I don’t know about God, but I believe in Chris Jackson.” - LMM’s
Tony speech for In The Heights. 7 years later and you can see why it
still rings true. Chris MURDERS this song; he just SLAYS it. GOD.
I just really, really love how they do the end, with Alex “writing” Washington’s words as George slowly and softly begins to sing along, then overtake Alex as he steps forward for his last spotlight moment.
After the show, the friend I was with that went into the show blind perfectly encompassed this song by wailing that she was not expecting this to be so emotional. “I’m crying because Washington is stepping down; WHAT’S WRONG WITH ME?!” It’s part of Lin’s gift: he makes us CARE about these people; he makes us identify with figureheads we learned about years ago with disinterest; he makes us LOVE them.
10. “I Know Him”
Groff does the EXACT condescending, dismissive hand wave at “little guy who spoke to me” that I was imagining and for that, I BLESS HIM.
Now, the King walks to the edge of stage right as he finishes this song. What I did NOT expect was for him to FORGO leaving, instead taking a seat at the edge of the stage to watch Burr sing his monologue at the beginning of the next song. He’s simply there to gleefully watch shit go down in America.
11. “The Adams Administration”
The King fucking happily WAVES at Burr at some point during the beginning and I almost peed my pants laughing.
Hamilton drops a giant book (probably the entirety of his writings dragging Adams) from the second tier with a giant slam on “motherfucker.” I believe that’s when the King leaves the stage.
12. “We Know”
I also wondered how this was done considering Hamilton addresses them all slowly by name. The way it’s staged is as if they’re gradually walking into Alex’s house/study one by one to confront him. This also makes sense for later on when Alex takes out the letter to show them; he pulls it out from a drawer behind his desk.
Once again, gorgeous lighting. The different colored, shadow-detailed spotlight makes it look like Alex is sincerely standing in the eye of a proverbial hurricane.
14. “The Reynolds Pamphlet”
I swear to God, they must have so much fun during this song. It’s literally the Let’s-Throw-Shit-At-Lin song. LOL. And yet another song where I’ll NEVER be over Daveed’s dancing.
What I was NOT expecting? When they’re singing the contents of the pamphlet at the beginning, they’re huddled around Philip, that poor kid, who’s reading it. Singing it pretty much TO him as he’s reading, just rubbing it in that poor child’s face. It’s watching Alex’s son read about his father’s affair that hurts the most.
And yes, King George is just there to dance across the stage, enjoying the shitshow that’s going down over there in the States. Lol. Also, the ensemble dancing in this is, as usual, phenomenal.
Once again, my brain was preoccupied with silly things, like the burning of the letters. Clearly real fire. Definitely actually burning. Still burning when dropped into the bucket below.
Continues to burn for a bit, then, at least from my seat in the mezz, looked like it just randomly faded out. Is there water in the bucket? Does it have a false bottom? Is it put out from below the stage? Is there perhaps a mist-er that sprays the flame out? I NEED TO KNOW.
16. “Blow Us All Away”
I gotta say, Anthony is really, really good; there’s definitely distinct differences, not only between his two separate characters, but between Kid!Philip and Teen!Philip. He gives off a completely different aura; there’s confidence there, a swagger to his step in the beginning. Then when it comes time to duel, his trepidation and fear are blatant, written all over his body language; he’s scared and it reduces him to a child again. It’s played beautifully.
When Philip interrupts Eacker at the play, I assumed he kind of sneaks up into his box to challenge him. But no, no; he interrupts the entire play, stands where the orchestra seating would be located, and starts shouting up towards Eacker’s box. HE IS NOTHING IF NOT HIS FATHER’S SON.
“Everything is legal in New Jersey” is the second biggest laugh of the show.
Sam, the friend that went in blind…the poor girl literally wailed, “NOOOoo!” when Philip was shot (in the pin-drop silence of the theatre, lol).
17. “Stay Alive (Reprise)”
Sam then proceeded to sob noisily on my other friend’s shoulder all through this song and the next. It made everything hit just as hard as the first time listening, getting her 1st time reactions in real time.
Worst part…worst DAMN part about this song? The fact that Pippa lets out a horrible, grief-wracked WAIL after Philip dies in their arms. I…I have had the unfortunate experience of hearing that first awful scream of undiluted pain and shock upon losing a loved one, a child, no less. It’s something that unfortunately etches itself upon your consciousness, a chill you can never get rid of. Pippa…hit it remarkably well; it hurt real bad and the sobbing was instant. Phillipa Soo: ripping your soul out one song at a time.
18. “It’s Quiet Uptown”
As much as Renee slaaaaaaaays “Satisfied,” it’s this song that kills me. She appears in a black dress and sings this song with such quiet, pent-up emotion. It’s beautiful and heartbreaking all at once; I’ll never be over how perfect everyone in this cast is.
The song is staged and lit so that Eliza grabbing Alex’s hand cannot be missed, even though you’re blearily attempting to peer at the stage through a DELUGE OF TEARS. They stand side by side, grieving and staring silently out at the audience, just far enough apart that they can throw a spotlight on their hands when clasped between them. (It just makes you cry harder.)
19. “Election of 1800”
BLESS Madison for walking out wiping his eyes; WE ARE ALL JAMES MADISON.
The cute part of this song is that as the voters are gabbing about the candidates, Burr is peeking his head around each of them as they talk, gleefully listening in and looking pretty darn happy with what he hears.
The NOT-cute part of this song? The part ripped me in two? Is when Hamilton chooses. Alex is up on the second tier, speaking to the voters down on the stage as they look up at him; Burr is on one side of the stage, Jefferson on the other, both looking out at the audience so that you can see their reactions.
Considering Burr’s reaction, I expected anger. I expected rage. I expected him to fume or throw a fit or look like his head was going to explode off his body from sheer frustration. But no.
Instead, Alex names Jefferson and you see Burr’s entire world come crashing down written upon his face. One moment, he’s standing there, utterly cheerful, his chest puffed out in confidence, 100% believing that Alex is going to side with him. It’s not the smug contentedness of a cat that’s eaten a canary: it’s pure happiness that he’s finally witnessing his moment. When Hamilton throws his hat into the ring in Jefferson’s favor, Burr looks like he got hit by a freight train. Pure shock, utter betrayal, and unadulterated PAIN grip his face.
In my opinion, THIS is what’s going to win Leslie that Tony. This moment. I could see that from the MEZZANINE. Even far away, that expression hit me like a ton of bricks and has stayed with me since then. It HURT and it STILL hurts. You feel Burr’s heartache in a way that I never quite expected. It’s unbelievably powerful and suddenly you know damn well why Burr’s led to his next action. It’s not him being petty: it’s a necessary reaction to that heartache. Leslie…is just astounding.
20. “Your Obedient Servant”
I still really frickin’ love what sounds like a door closing at the top of the song. The proverbial slamming shut on their futures: no way out, no escape; they’ve chosen their paths in this one action.
This is where the show really shows off the genius of the letter delivery choreography. It’s phenomenal; the back and forth writing, receiving, and reading just works so so well.
“Here’s an itemized list of 30 years of disagreements / Sweet Jesus.” One ensemble member after another after another come up to Burr and hand him letter after letter after letter, piling I’d say probably 8 pages or so into his hands. It’s hilarious.
21. “Best of Wives and Best of Women”
Again, for some reason I expected a bed. I’m glad there wasn’t because it allowed for Eliza to wander up to Alexander in his chair, writing, to plead for him to come back to bed. When he says “hey” before his last line, he grabs her hand as she turns around to walk away and lovingly pulls her back towards him: “best of wives and best of women.” (And then your heart breaks. [And then you realize what he was writing was his death letter to her…and your heart breaks more.])
22. “The World Was Wide Enough”
Philip comes back out on stage next to Alex just to sing that one line in the spotlight, then leaves. Thanks, Lin; thanks for all the pain. *salutes*
Hamilton’s soliloquy in the middle of this song is a phenomenal work of art. Once again, lit in that different colored, detailed spotlight. Everyone around Alex freezes and then the ensemble begins to move in slow motion in what may be the most ingenious use of blocking that I’ve ever seen.
One ensemble member is the designated bullet that is shot from Burr’s gun; the rest are used as vehicles to support her movement. She makes her way slowly across the stage: tip-toeing, being lifted and passed over others, etc, in a perfectly timed choreographed dance that give Lin just enough time to deliver the monologue. He even moves around the stage, sometimes putting himself dangerously close to the moving “bullet” as if dancing with death; it’s absolutely memorizing and utterly astonishing.
Eliza comes out onto the stage when he says her name during it. *sigh*
When Alex is shot, Lin bends at the waist, folding his upper half over in front of him. They move him like this into the “boat” as two people pretend to row him back, then he leaves the stage for the rest of it. Angelica & Eliza come out at the back in spotlight when Burr sings their names.
And then you just sob as Leslie pours his heart out.
23. “Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story”
To sum up: weep, weep, weep, weepity weep weep, gurgling choked sob. Did I miss anything?
In all sincerity though, regardless of the fact that I knew Eliza’s gasp was coming, it still positively ruined me. As if I wasn’t crying my face off before that… Alex leads her to the very front of the stage and, for the first time in his life, steps OUT of the spotlight. Eliza finally gets her own moment to shine as she looks out and sees the fruit of her life’s efforts for the first time. And it DESTROYED me.
Pippa. I just… Eliza’s the glue that holds Alex together. When she sings that she carried Alexander’s legacy for the next 50 years, there’s no doubt in your mind that this is the one woman, the only woman, that could’ve possibly pulled that off. Pippa’s Eliza perfectly blends kindness and caring with strength and resolve. She’s magnificent.
Also, I love love love that they decided to go with an ensemble bow. No one person gets singled out for their performance; they bow as a unit. This show is a brilliant work of art due to every single one of them; they all take the credit together.
Whew. That’s a lot of words. And yet still, only the small things that caught my attention. There are not enough words in the English language to describe the insane genius of this entire show. We’re just truly blessed to be seeing this within our lifetime. Thank you, @linmanuel; thank you from the bottom of my heart for everything you continue to give us.