Tips on how best to prepare for Hamilton?

ThirithThirith Registered User regular
I'm taking my wife to see Hamilton in London in 1 1/2 weeks, and I was wondering if people here had any tips on how best to prepare in order to enjoy the show. I'm thinking especially about the following issues: language isn't a problem for either of us, but my wife's hearing comprehension isn't always perfect for acoustic reasons and we always watch films with subtitles, as she gets frustrated if she misses even small things. Then there's the fact that neither of us really knows all that much about the historical background - and while my wife loves musicals, she doesn't really know the musical style of Hamilton's songs.

A friend's suggested that she read a synopsis of the first half or so, as she doesn't want to spoil the whole thing, and to listen to some of the songs.

Is there anything else people here would recommend? Anything along the lines of "I would've enjoyed the show more if I'd only done X or known Y beforehand..."?

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  • Casual EddyCasual Eddy The Astral PlaneRegistered User regular
    So the musical style is rap and it’s quite fast, so just prepare your wife to miss some of the lyrics

    I have a similar problem and need subtitles often, but the story is helped along by the actors and the set and costumes and so forth, so it’s easier to understand what’s going on even if you can’t get the lyrics

    The story is basically centered on the founding the United States through the revolutionary war and its difficult early years attempting to become a real country with a functioning government and economy. I don’t really consider spoilable for that reason (but no spoilers here), but it’s told through the perspective of Alexander Hamilton, an orphaned immigrant who was by all accounts a genius and was instrumental in developing a lot of economic concepts we take for granted. He was also a bit of an arrogant dick.

    That’s really all you need to know - also I would be surprised if the theater didn’t have some kind of hearing aid for hearing impaired people, I would ask about it if it’s a big concern

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  • ThirithThirith Registered User regular
    Thanks, that definitely helps!

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  • TarantioTarantio Registered User regular
    It also might be helpful to know that the show is essentially an opera, in that it's all music without lines in between.

    This means you can listen to the original cast recording on Spotify or the like, in order, and get the full story.

    The lyrics are also available online here: https://genius.com/artists/Original-broadway-cast-of-hamilton

    Including annotations, many of which were provided by Miranda himself. (I believe those are the ones highlighted in green?) They can provide the historical context or musical inspiration he used to write them.

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  • ThirithThirith Registered User regular
    Cool, that's very helpful, thanks!

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  • DevoutlyApatheticDevoutlyApathetic Registered User regular
    Oh yeah, I had dug around and the theater definitely offers audio enhancers but they appear to just amplify everything? Not sure that would be very helpful but it might be worth exploring.

  • ThirithThirith Registered User regular
    My wife isn't at a point where she'd consider a hearing aid (I think part of the problem is less that her hearing isn't all that good but more that she minds it more if there's the occasional word she doesn't hear properly, as she then feels she hasn't understood the whole sentence), so I'm hoping that having relatively good seats will help.

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  • TofystedethTofystedeth veni, veneri, vamoosi Registered User regular
    Tarantio wrote: »
    It also might be helpful to know that the show is essentially an opera, in that it's all music without lines in between.

    This means you can listen to the original cast recording on Spotify or the like, in order, and get the full story.

    The lyrics are also available online here: https://genius.com/artists/Original-broadway-cast-of-hamilton

    Including annotations, many of which were provided by Miranda himself. (I believe those are the ones highlighted in green?) They can provide the historical context or musical inspiration he used to write them.

    Yeah i think there's literally only 1 scene that isn't in the official cast recording, because they put no music in it for effect. I didn't even know I was missing it because it's a complete story even without it.

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  • amateurhouramateurhour One day I'll be professionalhour The woods somewhere in TennesseeRegistered User regular
    I saw it for the first time two weeks ago and I definitely missed a ton trying to understand all of the lyrics. If anything, it just makes you want to see it more. I think I came home and listened to the songs on youtube for two days just to get all the stuff I missed, which means I enjoyed the hell out of it.

    Go in expecting not to catch every little sentence. You'll enjoy it more.


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  • tinwhiskerstinwhiskers Registered User regular
    So normally I'd say just listen to the stuff on spotify ahead of time, just to get a better grasp of the songs. But if you actually are going in with out it being 'spoiled' for you. I'd say only listen to the first half.

    Most of the quicker rapping numbers are in the first half, and there isn't a lot there to spoil.
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  • ThirithThirith Registered User regular
    By the way, we've now been to London and have seen Hamilton, and we both enjoyed it greatly. My wife listened to the whole thing beforehand and I listened to about a third of it. We had good seats, but obviously the sound was a bit less crisp and clear than on the official recording. I think we both enjoyed the show more because we'd done a bit of prep work.

    Thanks a lot to everyone for their replies!

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  • ElvenshaeElvenshae Registered User regular
    So what was your favorite song?
    There are only two right choices. :)

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  • ThirithThirith Registered User regular
    Oh, that's a difficult one! I'd say that the two most *fun* songs are "You'll Be Back" and "The Room Where It Happens", but I very much like "Alexander Hamilton" for its build-up, "My Shot" for the energy, "Satisfied" for its combination of wit and feeling, "Wait for It" because of how it gives Burr more depth and "Right Hand Man" for its fantastic energy.

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  • EncEnc A Fool with Compassion The Land of Flowers (and Dragons)Registered User regular
    Something about Election of 1800 just feels fun. Burr changing this leitmotif to be a rally cry is pretty epic.

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  • ElvenshaeElvenshae Registered User regular
    "You'll Be Back" was one of the correct choices (and my personal fave). The other one is "All of them." :D

    What a great show.

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