For Fuse's 2016 Breakout Week, we're spending each day commemorating one undeniable act that shook things up in the mainstream this year. Today we're honoring the cast of Lin-Manuel Miranda's Hamilton, the 11-time Tony Award–winning Broadway show that fuses showtunes with hip-hop, R&B and pop to tell the story of America's least-remembered Founding Father (until the last 18 months or so), embodied by a cast nearly entirely comprised of people of color.
The excellent original cast recording album is available everywhere, and the two-and-a-half-hour show is entirely sung-through, meaning the imagination can come up with an HD picture of the story without ever setting foot on Broadway. There are also so many songs that function wonderfully as standalone beauts, and we've compiled 11 of the best for you here. Welcome, or welcome back, to Hamilton.
Who's it for? Anyone who wants their mind blown at how badass a song with the word "pamphlet" in the title can be; anyone who needs their life blown apart by Renée Elise Goldsberry in 20 seconds.
A little context, please? Alexander Hamilton's political nemeses are pumped to find he's published an incriminating admission. LIKE I SAID: BADASS. (Seriously though. This was the real song of the summer.)
Who's it for? You, your mentor and your mentee, your elderly neighbor and her best friend, your ninth grade history teacher and third grade math teacher, all your family members and pets, anyone else I missed.
A little context, please? After two introductory songs, we get a chance to see what A-Dot-Ham is capable of in the rap/ambition departments.
Bonus: A few times a week, some combination of Hamiltonians would hit the steps of the Richard Rodgers Theatre to perform for fans hoping to win a ticket via lottery, an institution called #Ham4Ham (because lottery winners only pay $10, a.k.a. a Hamilton, for their front row seats). In this one, the women of the show slaughter a gender-flipped "My Shot" (preceded by the end of "Aaron Burr, Sir"):
Ah, screw it, watch 'em do it at the White House, too:
Who's it for? People who want to see if all those Destiny's Child comparisons in Hamilton reviews are accurate.
A little context, please? The show's three female leads, Phillipa Soo, Renée Elise Goldsberry and Jasmine Cephas Jones make their debuts as Eliza, Angelica and Peggy Schuyler, daughters of the Revolutionary War general Philip Schuyler.
Who's it for? Fans of Jonathan Groff (Glee, Looking, Frozen) and people looking for Hamilton's version of a Beatles ditty.
A little context, please? The first time we meet King George III, who's singing a ballad/warning to his estranged colonies.
Who's it for? Hip-hop heads, folks looking for a quick entry point to Daveed Diggs' immense talent.
A little context, please? Marquis de Lafayette gets his big spotlight in a late-in-the-war moment that ends up with George Washington begging Alexander Hamilton to return to the fray.
Who's it for? Anyone who's finally ready to devote their life to worshipping Renée Elise Goldsberry.
A little context, please? Angelica Schuyler sings through her conflicted feelings about being attracted to Alexander Hamilton but encouraging a relationship between him and her sister, Eliza.
Who's it for? Fans of beauty and harmony; anyone open to falling immediately, irreparably in love with Leslie Odom Jr.
A little context, please? Aaron Burr, Hamilton's frenemy and murderer, pushes pause on the war to sing about his lover, who's married to a British officer ("oh, shit," sayeth Alexander).
Bonus: The cast busting out "Wait for It" onstage in an interactive 360-view video:
Who's it for? Folks who want to hear yet another Hamilton banger.
A little context, please? It's the first time we meet General George Washington, a.k.a. "the model of a modern major general, the venerated Virginian veteran."
Bonus: Weird Al throws down some accordion for a backstage #Ham4Ham rendition:
Who's it for? People who want to start at the beginning.
A little context, please? It's the first song of the play.
Bonus: Watch the cast perform "Alexander Hamilton" at the White House in 2016...and watch Lin-Manuel Miranda do it at the White House in 2009, six years before the show opened on Broadway:
Stream and/or subscribe to Fuse's Hamilton playlist on Spotify: