Hamilton’s Washington Lifted from Speeches

By now, everyone knows about Lin-Manuel Miranda’s significant contribution to American musical theatre and to radically altering our perspective on the Founding Fathers in American History. His musical Hamilton is sold out; he just won a Grammy…and he got all NY Newspaper critics (Yes, even the NY Post) to give great reviews.

In one of the play’s many memorable moments, George Washington, skillfully played by the actor Christopher Jackson, dictates his Farewell Address to Alexander Hamilton, played by Lin-Manuel Miranda. The text of the duet they sing together at near the end is lifted almost entirely from Washington’s Farewell Address.

When the Genius website annotated these lyrics, they referenced the phrase “Under their vine and fig tree” as being quoted in the Hebrew Scriptures in three different places: Micah 4:4, 1 Kings 4:25, and Zechariah 3:10.1. They explain that this particular scripture quote is Micah 4:4.

In response to their annotation, is a Tweet from Miranda:

Screenshot 2016-02-16 14.21.30

Here below is an excerpt from One Last Time 

 

(lyrics below start at 1:55)
[HAMILTON]
Mr. President, they will say you’re weak

[WASHINGTON]
No, they will see we’re strong

[HAMILTON]
Your position is so unique

[WASHINGTON]
So I’ll use it to move them along

[HAMILTON]
Why do you have to say goodbye?

[WASHINGTON]
If I say goodbye, the nation learns to move on
It outlives me when I’m gone
Like the scripture says:
“Everyone shall sit under their own vine and fig tree
And no one shall make them afraid.”

They’ll be safe in the nation we’ve made
I wanna sit under my own vine and fig tree
A moment alone in the shade
At home in this nation we’ve made
One last time

[HAMILTON]
One last time

[HAMILTON-repeating the last paragraphs of Washington’s Farewell Address; sung as a duet with WASHINGTON]
Though, in reviewing the incidents of my administration, I am unconscious of intentional error, I am nevertheless too sensible of my defects not to think it probable that I may have committed many errors. I shall also carry with me the hope that my country will view them with indulgence; and that after forty-five years of my life dedicated to its service, with an upright zeal, the faults of incompetent abilities will be consigned to oblivion, as I myself must soon be to the mansions of rest. I anticipate with pleasing expectation that retreat, in which I promise myself to realize the sweet enjoyment of partaking, in the midst of my fellow-citizens, the benign influence of good laws under a free government, the ever-favorite object of my heart, and the happy reward, as I trust of our mutual cares, labors, and dangers.

The Closing Lines of Washington’s Farewell Address:

(lines in blue not in lyrics above)

…”Though in reviewing the incidents of my Administration, I am unconscious of intentional error–I am nevertheless too sensible of my defects not to think it probable that I may have committed many errors. Whatever they may be I fervently beseech the Almighty to avert or mitigate the evils to which they may tend. I shall also carry with me the hope that my Country will never cease to view them with indulgence; and that after forty five years of my life dedicated to its Service, with an upright zeal, the faults of incompetent abilities will be consigned to oblivion, as myself must soon be to the Mansions of rest.

Relying on its kindness in this as in other things, and actuated by that fervent love towards it, which is so natural to a Man, who views in it the native soil of himself and his progenitors for several Generations; I anticipate with pleasing expectation that retreat, in which I promise myself to realize, without alloy, the sweet enjoyment of partaking, in the midst of my fellow Citizens, the benign influence of good Laws under a free Government–the ever favourite object of my heart, and the happy reward, as I trust, of our mutual cares, labours and dangers.”

Thank you, George….no one shall make us afraid.

Yes, “Hamilton” Is That Good

“Yes, it really is that good.”

That is how NY Times drama critic Ben Brantley opened his second review of the play Hamilton  after it had moved from its birthplace in the Off-Broadway Joseph Papp  Public Theatre to the Richard Rogers Theatre on 46th Street.

We saw the show this past Sunday night overcoming a number of obstacles:

  1. Winter’s indecision about showing up at all this January was finally answered Sunday with a series of late afternoon /late night snow squalls;
  2. I sustained an injury in the theatre when a large gentleman, who tried to maneuver his way along the cramped aisle of the mezzanine, suddenly tumbled and fell down three rows landing on his back, turtle-like, and <CRACK!!>  onto the back of my head and neck;
  3. The  7 block= 21 minute stumbling sprint for the train after the play- hobbled with the aforementioned snow squalls and head injury.

Despite these obstacles, we loved every rap, hip-hop, and R&B ballad and every choreographed gyration of this opera-like testament to the men of the genius cluster we refer to as the Founding Fathers. This time, however, the genius is Lin-Manuel Miranda (American composer, lyricist, librettist, rapper, and actor) and his cluster of actors and dancers in the play.

Yes. I agree with Brantley….it really is that good.