Merry Christmas! Look, if you’re one of the high class tastemakers that visits BBP regularly, you’ve likely got friends and family who are fans of the single greatest musical to hit the stage since Webber decided to put dancers in cat suits. And by that, I mean Hamilton: an American Musical.
But once they’ve stepped across the threshold of artistic genius that is Lin-Manuel Miranda’s hip-hop musical about the founding father without a father, what the heck are you going to get them?
Hold onto your tricorn, friends, because after the jump, we delve into the perfect gift list for the Hamilhead in your life.
First off is the soundtrack to the show. It’s likely that your Hamilhead, like many of the fandom, experiences it via a streaming service of some kind. If they have, a physical copy of the show’s soundtrack lets them hold the music in their hands. Of course, if they’ve made the move away from physical media, a $25 iTunes gift card will fulfill the exact same function (and can be found at your local gas station or via Apple).
Once they’ve well and truly begun to absorb the narrative into their soul, they will want to know more about the show and how it came to be. There are two options in print that will do the job. On one hand, you can go to the source, Ron Chernow’s biography of Alexander Hamilton. Composer Lin-Manual Miranda picked up this book as beach reading and found himself enraptured by the rags to riches tale told in the shadow of the dawn of the United States.
They may also want to read Miranda’s own book on the creation of Hamilton, the Hamiltome, a.k.a. Hamilton The Revolution . This beautiful book, which borders on being an artifact, is packed with annotations of the music and essays on the creation of the play from conceptuatlization to composition to casting. And it looks great on your wall.
Now, what if your Hamilhead has gotten a step ahead of you and has already picked up these sweet little items? The first thing to do is to congratulate them on their initiative. Well done! But there are still things that they’ll enjoy.
Miranda’s original plan for Hamilton was to create it as a mixtape, with various artists contributing songs about the life of the eponymous founding father. Although he proceeded to turn it into a full show (the rest is history), the power of the show was enough to inspire a mixtape of songs featuring a potpourri of hip hop, soul, and pop performers. The Hamilton Mixtape is new enough that your Hamilhead may not have acquired themselves a copy yet. The hardcopy appears to only be available in an edited version. As with the main soundtrack, if they have eschewed physical media a gift card to their digital music service of choice will be a great substitute.
A wide variety of t-shirts have been inspired by the show, of various degrees of legitimacy. Teefury has a number under their Musical section. I, myself, would not say no to an XXL “Burr Shot First” shirt, but that’s just me.
Hamilton wasn’t Miranda’s first production, and he’s hardly stood still since then. Miranda burst onto Broadway with In the Heights, a musical telling the tale of two days in the life of his home neighbourhood of Washington Heights, including originating George Washington Chris Jackson. Following In The Heights but prior to Hamilton, he composed the music for a musical of the classic cheerleader film Bring it On. Since Hamilton, he’s produced music for Disney’s Moana. Keep an eye out for him as a chimney sweep in Disney’s upcoming Mary Poppins.
In the cynical 1970s American author Gore Vidal wrote a series of fictionalized historical novels entitled the Narratives of Empire where he took to task many of the icon
s of US history. First in that series is a book on Hamilton’s nemesis Aaron Burr.
Ron Chernow hasn’t sat on his historical laurels with Alexander Hamilton. He also wrote a biography of George Washington entitled Washington: a Life
for which he won a Pulitzer. Prior to engaging with the history of political life, he wrote several books on finance and the figures involved in that field.
If you think your gift recipients might be interested in seeing what else has arrived on Broadway in the past couple years, they’ll enjoy a copy of the soundtrack to Waitress. This musical, composed by pop singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles, is an adaptation of the quirky rom-com of the same name.
Gamers will enjoy a version of Looney Labs’ Chrononauts which focuses on the events of the beginning of the American Experiment. Early American Chrononauts focuses the original game on the events on the North American continent from the beginnings of the revolution to the early 20th century.
One of the most touching moments of the play is when Eliza reveals that she’s created an orphanage to help care for the parentless children of New York City. The organization still exists and is now called the Graham Windham Orphanage. If your giftee is charitably inclined, a gift in their name would doubtless be appreciated .
If you’d love to get them tickets to the show… Well, you’re on your own there. Let me know where you got them.