Stand Up For The Fans In Green: How Ireland Won Euro 2016

We’re a few weeks away from the end of the Euro, but I’m ready to declare a winner: the high-spirited, fun-loving fans of the Boys in Green. In a sport where hooliganism runs wild, and in a year where Europe is as divided as ever, Irish fans decided that their ‘thing’ was to be as extravagantly wonderful as possible. The result: all of Europe, and soccer fans around the globe, fell in love with them.  The boys in green gained supporters from all over, and spectators waited to see what fantastic thing Ireland’s fans would do next. All of the stunts were typical of the Irish sense of humor. You probably know about English humor – dry, wry, self-deprecating – but Irish humor isn’t that. It’s un-self conscious and rooted in happiness, goofiness and a love for the absurd. Team Ireland is officially out of the Euro, but in my heart, Ireland’s endearing, good-hearted fans are the real winners. And it’s not just me: today Irish fans were awarded the Medal of the City of Paris. Just for BEING FOOTBALL FANS. Just for being themselves. God bless.

We are going to rank these Euro moments on a scale of one to five, measured by Ireland’s most precious export:

Do not think that a video is subpar if it rates one Niall Horan: after all, one Niall Horan is good enough for One Direction. For the purposes of this discussion, Niall will be presented in his purest form:

Lullaby For The Boys In Green

Here’s a thing that sounds like it’s true of people everywhere, but I swear it’s an Irish thing: Irish men love babies. Groups of Irish men love singing. Find me something better than this group of Ireland supporters on a train singing Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star to a small baby and announcing “we’ve got a baby!” like they’re in the presence of a small prince.

Niall Quotient:

 

Sing A Prayer For The Boys In Green

Imagine you at your most obnoxious drunken college self, and then imagine a nun walked into your train car. You would absolutely treat that nun to a rendition of the Our Father and try to dance with her. Also, this is a very jazzy rendition of the Lord’s Prayer and must have been the standard one at these guys’ schools and churches. A+

Niall Quotient:

Fix The Car For The Boys In Green

Cars don’t usually come off well in giant football celebrations. My favorite part of this isn’t the Irishmen pounding out the dents – which was great – or singing “fix the car for the boys in green.” It was the fans frantically stuffing money into the car’s windows to make up for the damage.

Niall Quotient: 

Change A Tire For The Boys In Green

Irish fans help elderly French couple change flat tyre at Euro 2016

As the Irish fan says, there’s the difference between Irish fans and English fans: we change the wheel of a car. (Wheel changing Irish fan: you single?)

Niall Quotient:

Stand Up For The Balcony

For a brief, shining moment, the biggest celebrity of Euro 2016 was this guy who had a balcony. The crowd cheered when he walked out and booed when he left. He probably should have anticipated this when he moved above an Irish pub.

Niall Quotient:

Stand Up For The French Police

Only these guys could commandeer a tunnel and make people like them for it because they serenade the French police while they’re at it.

Niall Quotient:

Stand Up For The Ulsterman

Little geopolitics for you: the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland: Not the same. Not nearly the same. Centuries of troubles to show for it. But when a Northern Ireland fan, Darren Rodgers, died tragically of a fall, the Irish fans paid tribute by chanting “stand up for the Ulsterman” during their game against Sweden. It’s one island, after all.

Niall Quotient:

Stand Up For The Sexy Wives

Even Ireland’s smack talk doesn’t sting. Ireland’s taunt to Sweden’s fans?  “Go home to your sexy wives.” Have you seen Swedes? They’re not wrong.

Niall Quotient: 

Stand Up For The Foreign News

To be fair, this Hungarian news anchor was in the presence of greatness and he knew it.

Niall Quotient:

Stand Up For This French Girl

Ha. Hahahahahahaha.

Niall Quotient:

Stand Up For The Dancing Queen

Ireland’s favorite past time: group singalongs. Sweden’s favorite past time: following confusing furniture building instructions ABBA. Match made in heaven, played in France.

Niall Quotient:

Stand Up If You Lost Your Kid

When a child got separated from his father, the Irish fans chanted “Steve, here is your son.” They crouched down then sang “Stand up if you lost your son.” Happy ending: Steve got his kid back (Steve’s wife: probably not thrilled).

Niall Quotient:

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And Now For A Shameless Plug

I’d like to indulge in a little cross-promotion here – partly because I’m an only child who needs attention and partly because I can.

Guys, I started a podcast!

What’s that? A podcast, you say? You mean that audio thing every other person on the planet* has about every possible subject available? Yes, reader. That kind of podcast.

It’s called That’s Our Jam and I’m doing it with my friend and another fellow blogger, Jennie from Garlic, My Soul. It’s a mix of all the pop culture stuff I talk about here, what Jennie talks about over on her blog (food), plus anything and everything else like history and current events and music, etc. Our first episode – our pilot episode, if you will – premieres today so check it out and subscribe here: That’s Our Jam Podcast!

We’re also posting links and stuff of all the things we talk about on the episode on our website, ThatsOurJamPodcast.com – and to make it easier for you, I’ve also posted it below!

I promise I won’t post about it annoyingly on the blog, but if you like what we do here, give the pilot a try! We’d loved to be picked up to series. Thanks, friends!

*Not a real stat


Episode 1: We Started The Podcast Movement

Podcasting Revolution

Emerson newsrooms go portable with podcasts, October 19th, 2005 (written by NOT Jennie)

History With Jennie

(Tony Winner) ANGELICA!

REG_Rent

The Video Traci Took In The Bathroom At A Wedding

Traci’s iPod Roulette

That’s Our Jam

Traci’s Jam: Gilmore Guys Podcast

Jennie’s Jam: First Bite by Bee Wilson

Cheers Chats #6: The Heart is a Lonely Snipe Hunter

Episode 3.14: The Heart is a Lonely Snipe Hunter

Originally aired: January 10th, 1985

Netflix synopsis: Diane gets mad at the guys when they take Fraiser on a “snipe hunt”. But she also doesn’t want Fraiser to know they played a trick on him.

Previously, on Cheers

Guys. Things have happened. In our last Cheers Chats, Sam & Diane seemed like there were on the verge of breaking up, but it was unclear whether they actually did. By the end of season 2, they have a literal slap flight, and they break up for good. In the beginning of season 3, we find out the split has made recovering alcoholic Sam revert back to drinking and Diane has been gone for a while at some retreat in the wilderness, where she meets Dr. Fraiser Crane – her now-boyfriend (no idea they dated). Sam eventually stops drinking, convinces Diane to come back to Cheers and the three of them have to act cordially. Meanwhile, Coach fell in love with a random woman, proposed to her, she wins the lottery, she dumps him. All in one ep. Cliff, Carla and Norm are all still there.

So What Had Happened Was…

(Basic recap of the episode’s main plot)

T: Norm, Sam, Cliff and a bunch of the regular barflies are heading out on a fishing trip and it seems as if they all hadn’t planned it more than 3 hours in advance. Frasier goes with them, specifically on a “snipe hunt” What’s a “snipe hunt”, you say?”

“It’s an age-old custom wherein we take an uninitiated hunter like Dr. Crane, put him in a clearing with a gunnysack* and we beat out the snipe to him.”

T: What’s a “gunnysnack”

M: Gunnysacks = a brand of 70s dresses like in the Virgin Suicides at prom, is what I thought.

OK, it’s “gunne sax” per google.

T: Gunnysack sounds like the tiny leather tie-up satchel folks used to use to keep their sixpence. Anyways, The guys basically abandoned Frasier in the woods as a sort of hazing.

T: After Diane uses a lot of big words to scold the guys for leaving Fraiser in the woods, Sam (who obviously still cares for Diane) agrees to go find him after she pleads that he is not going to be happy about being left in the woods alone. By people he’s not even really friends with.

T: As soon as Sam agrees to go find him, Fraiser bursts through the door looking extremely disheveled and furious. But he’s just fake angry that they introduced him to that “positively intoxicating sport” and does some sort of psychotic bird call which doesn’t make sense because they went fishing, not bird watching.

T: The guys are going back out fishing and Sam tells diane they plan to ditch him again wtf is wrong with men

M: I really can’t overstate how many times during this episode Traci and I both commented “men are the worst” or “WTF men.” It’s like the theme of the episode.

Carla’s My Boo

T: Carla is preggo again by some dude who willingly agreed not to be a part of the kid’s life but eager to pay whatever she wants to help raise the baby. This is Carla’s sixth kid.

“You have to be a certain kind of guy”

Carla: “Yeah a kind of dink”

Shut Up, Diane

(We just have a feeling we’re going to be saying Shut Up, Diane at our screens KIND OF A LOT.)

Diane:  You’re obviously bored with lip diddling.

Compared to the dumbass guys in this episode, Diane seems like a freaking angel.

Little Ditty About Sam & Diane

At one point, Diane tells Sam that Frasier refers to him as one of his dearest friends, which is still a weird dynamic because of the Diane of it all.

Diane also asks Sam to “take care of her fella” on the trip because he’s “a tenderfoot” and is this a slang term popular in 1983? Or 1938?

Fancy Frasier

(Because Frasier Crane is a doctor and uses big words like he’s fancy)

M: Has Frasier been outdoors before? Literally would not surprise me if he hadn’t.

Actually, I could really see Frasier as one of those fancy fox hunters who has special dogs and horses.

Some Frasier shit right there.

LLOL

(Literal Laugh Loud Loud moments from the episode)

None. This was not a quality ep.

Say It Again, Sam

(Memorable lines from the episode. Not exclusively from Sam Malone.)

Frasier: “This time of the year is murder for the psychiatric profession.” … Why tho?

Carla: How come you’re not going?
Coach: I don’t like to smell them.
Carla: Yeah, fish stink.
Coach: No, the guys.

Frasier: “It’s what guys do darling. We screw each other to the wall.” Frasier tells Diane he fully knows it was all a prank, continues to prove men are the worst.

Cheers Queries

T: In the cold open, a guy starts singing song (songs?) i’ve never heard of in my life and it starts a chain reaction with Carla, Diane and other barflies pick up – someone leaves and the person comes in starts singing and ends with coach – but it’s really a sign of the times that I know none of these tunes. Except *I’ve got spurs that jingle jangle*.  Seriously what is this.

M: TRACI IT WAS SUNNY SIDE OF THE STREET JESUS. Jazz standard, lady. (It’s not really an “everyone sing it at the bar song,” Traci’s right. Also I don’t know the spurs that jingle jangle tune, so really both of us need to get the heck with it.)

T: Coach comes in smoking a cigar that smells like “boiling tar” according to Sam. Why in the world is Coach just starting to smoke a cigar now. WHILE he’s working? For the record, cigars are one of my most hated smells in the world.

M: Agreed. I smoked a cigar with friends once or twice – WHY?! Because I used to be fun in college impressionable – and it was like… imagine grabbing a cigar, taking a big bite, and chewing it. Then turn that chewed cigar glob into vapor somehow and put it in your lungs.

T: The guys are bringing a TV with them for their *day-long* fishing trip, and Norm even brings his portable VCR player with “Porky’s II and Splash”. ok.

T: ALSO if it’s a day-long fishing trip, they’re gathering at the bar in the morning, I’m assuming – why are there so many people at Cheers during the waking hours??

M: And like, do they fish a lot? Because they have those dedicated khaki vests with the big pockets, which I feel like you only would own if you were really into fishing. But that doesn’t feel like a Boston barfly activity?

Barfly Fashion

Sam and Norm’s fishing outfits

Sam looks good in hunter green.

Sam’s mom jeans

😦

Frasier.

frasier_landsend

Frasier looks like a dirty Land’s End catalog page

Final Thoughts

T: I did NOT enjoy this ep.

M: If I had only seen this ep, I would hate Cheers. Not so confident in AV Club’s episode list, to be honest.

Next Up: We are basing our watch list off of AV Club’s 10 Episodes That Show How Cheers Stayed Great For 11 Seasons. We’re going chronologically, so stop by next month when we’ll discuss season five, episode 9, Thanksgiving Orphans.

Jesus Be A Raindrop or Central Air

Well kids, it’s officially summer. Our calendars and local weathermen/women have told us so. You know how else I know it’s summer? Because this is what it looked like when I walked outside yesterday:

Maybe less gun wounds and not enough Donald Glover bringing me boxes of pizza. But I mean, the same thing. In case you hadn’t heard, Southern California is experiencing record heat. I’m talking like 110 degree heat. Like, there are two forest fires currently burning because of said heat. As I was on my way to work yesterday, I was thinking, ‘Ya know, at least it’s not humid’.

And that was the last positive thought I had about this dumb heat.

Long story short, my first day of summer had me sitting in a pool of my own sweat at work and at home and with intermittent access to the Internet. It was my own literal version of hell.

And it reminded me of this video that sort of went viral a few years ago, by YouTuber KrissyChula, who expertly expresses my thoughts on the heat and made me laugh in the process.

SHIT. SHIT. SHIT. AMEN SISTER FRIEND.

Krissy also covers topics that aren’t specific to the heat or Moses, and continues to be irritated and hysterical at the same time. So if you need a reason to laugh in the midst of the hot summer heat, check out some of her other vids. She angry, but she worth it.

*The Chipotle one won’t embed click to view on YouTube!!

I know, she has a lot of anger, but it’s what’s been smoldering in your soul for years.

Best Dressed: Tony Awards 2016

I swore we weren’t going to do this – devote yet another post to the 2016 Tony Awards, broadly, or Hamilton, generally – so soon, but the truth is, I’m not over it yet. The awards, the speeches, the performances – it was all too much and days later, I’m still sorting it all out as though it’s something that happened to ME and not just on my TV. So I hope you’ll forgive it, but it’s been four days and we still haven’t talked about outfits yet. I’m not in the mood for worst dressed because everyone looked fantastic, so here are a few of my favorites:

Lupita Nyong’o in Hugo Boss

Remember in the 80s and 90s when ladies would get their “seasons done” and go around telling you that they were a winter or whatever? Maybe I got that from Steel Magnolias or something? In any case, I love when Lupita wears cheerful spring-y, summer-y colors, probably because it goes so well with her overall fresh as a daisy-type look. I would love to get a closer look at this material because it’s sequined but doesn’t look too glitzy.

Phillipa Soo in Prabal Gurung

Over the course of the appearances and awards circuit for Hamilton, Phillipa has hit the nail on the head with everything from casual outfits to more dressed-up looks for interviews to formal gowns. Basically, I’d like her entire closet, thanks. She looks great in brighter blues and reds, too, but this white is absolutely stunning. The pop on the shoes is just the thing when you’re a Tony nominee, but also still in your mid-20s and able to be a little playful with it.

Laura Benanti in Oscar de la Renta

You know what? Maybe I SHOULD be one of those 1980s mall ladies who tells you what season you’re made of (still not sure how it works), because it is all about color with all of these dresses. This purple-magenta shade is beautiful but more than that, it makes Laura’s skin and eyes glow. It also takes the high-necked, lacy gown out of mother of the bride territory and keeps in firmly in the youthful starlet realm.

Sophie Okonedo in Zac Posen

Stop the presses. Or whatever the internet has. Balancing an avante garde cut on the shoulders and cuffs with a large, busy print – WITHOUT the whole look seeming over the top or loud or overpowering? It’s all down to the overall simplicity of the structure here, but it’s still no easy feat.

Lucy Liu in Zuhair Murad

The Tonys are one of the only awards shows firmly in the spring-summer months, and lighter looks like this are just perfect this time of year (sure, I know it’s usually warm weather at the Oscars and Golden Globes, but some colors and fabrics still feel seasonally ‘off’ in the winter). This couldn’t be more perfect for June, and that beading and that color — it’s like what angels would wear if they didn’t have to wear white.

Mary Elizabeth Winstead in Zuhair Murad

When I was a kid, I had a dance performance where we were instructed to wear a “party dress.” And I was kind of like, okay, what exactly is a party dress?

THIS. This is a damn party dress. It looks like confetti and moonlight.

(I think I just wore, like, an Easter-y dress.)

Cynthia Erivo

You already know that Cynthia can do no wrong in our book. And that we would have loved whatever she wore. But there’s something so amazing about choosing a dress that looks like an actual work of art over something that’s less interesting but more ‘pretty.’ The risk paid off, and she looks incredible.

Adrienne Warren in Alberta Ferretti

Love it. Love that it’s not long, love the beaded fringe, love the little clutch, love the loose hair. The only thing I don’t love: that I can’t afford this dress.

(Honest truth: I have a wedding next week where the theme is ‘1920s Hollywood Glam’ and it turns out nothing I own is particularly 1920s Hollywood Glam, sorry friends, it just isn’t, but this would be perfect.)

Pascale Armand in Delpozo

I love that this subverts the whole chiffon skirt/ satin-y bodice thing we’re so used to, and the colors and embroidery are to die for. We can add Pascale to the very short list of people who look wonderful in dark purple-y lipstick.

Renee Elise Goldsberry

It looks like Renee picked a different dress for the red carpet, but this is the gown that she decided to win in, and that’s exactly what it is: a gown to win in. The yellow and black combo is unexpected and very pretty and possibly a subtle nod to Broadway playbills? But probably not.

Daveed Diggs

I have no clue what’s going on but I like it?

Graduation Caps On Fleek

When we graduated high school 12 years (!!!!) ago, we didn’t have the option – or maybe didn’t even know there was the option – to decorate the tops of our caps. By college, I think the trend was still out there, but people at my school didn’t delve into their arts & crafts side, despite being an arts school. But now that it’s graduation season again, I am constantly seeing more and more elaborately decorated caps that are more exciting than any commencement I’ve ever attended.

And of course, there’s a good chunk out there that were inspired by pop culture, so here are some of the best from the Class of 2016 and their graduation caps on fleek*.

*I’m too old to be saying that they’re not “on fleek” I take that back.

Where is the lie?

Queen B for those Queens, B.

OMG!!!! 🎓❤️💛💙🎓

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And of course the wise words of Michael Scott…

Some call it the Hamilton Effect (we do. we call it that.)

Highlights from the HamilTonys

Last night, Hamilton: An American Musical went in with a record-breaking 16 nominations and by the end of the show, it left with 11, just short of tying The Producers’ record of 12 in 2001. But you know what, it doesn’t even matter. The fact that this groundbreaking, impactful, diverse show has done this well at all should be an accomplishment enough. It’s obvious we’re big fans of Hamilton here (see: #HamilWeek), but we’re also big fans of theatre in general, so if you happened to miss any of the show last night, here are some of the best moments you didn’t see, and some you’ll want to relive over and over again.

The Entire Opening Number

Let’s be real, half the people tuning into the Tonys this year don’t even usually know they’re happening. For theater nerds like us, the Tonys have always been our version of the Super Bowl. But I’m willing to bet for all these n00bs who watched the Tonys last night, it was all about Hamilton. So naturally, the producers pandered to their audience and gave them a whole lotta Hamilton, including the very first bit, which was a parody of Hamilton’s opening number, Alexander Hamilton. Except the lyrics were changed to fit host James Corden. After that, James launched into a medley of musicals that made me think he was gunning for some kind of Guinness World Record. The whole idea of the number was reminiscent of Neil Patrick Harris’ sentiments in his opening number a few years ago (starting around 5:44, makes me cry every time), but the feeling still rings true – the Tonys are a chance for those young kids in the middle of nowhere to know that their “weird” obsession with theater and musicals isn’t just them. The end features mini-mes of all the leading musical actors and actresses and that’s what really got me. Surprise, I cried.

Andrew Lloyd Webber Playing Tambourine in an All-Star Jam Band

In homage to #Ham4Ham, casts of nominated shows stood under the Beacon Theater marquee and paid tribute to iconic shows of the past. Kicking it off were the nominees for Best Score, what winner Lin-Manuel Miranda called a “jam band”, featuring himself, Sara Bareilles, Steve Martin and Edie Brickell and Andrew Lloyd Webber. Andrew Lloyd Webber on tambourine. TAMBOURINE.

Audra McDonald, Queen of Tonys, Slays With Child

Even though she wasn’t nominated, six-time Tony winner Audra McDonald managed to still make headlines because she did this tap number pregnant. She’s 45. I want to be her when I grow up.

Cynthia Erivo & The Cast of The Color Purple

Listen, I can only spread the gospel of Cynthia Erivo so much (#WomanCrushWednesday and all), and her performance of I’m Here is, yet again, pick your jaw up off the floor flawless. Add in the rest of the cast of the Tony-winning The Color Purple – including newest addition Heather Headley – and you’re gonna need a few moments to gather yourself after your wig gets snatched.

Spring Awakening Takes Center Stage

The revival of Spring Awakening, which featured both deaf and hearing cast members, has been closed for three months. It was nominated for both Best Revival of a Musical and Best Director for Michael Arden (not Chris Fitzgerald), but in order to perform at the Tonys, you need to shell out literal thousands of dollars. Since the show isn’t open, Michael and the cast launched a crowdfunding campaign to get them to the Tonys and it worked! We got to see this inspiring new rendition of Spring Awakening and it was worth every penny. Thank God this show is going on the road.

Netflix Marketing Strikes Again

In the second season of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Titus talks about auditioning (and ultimately losing) a role in Hamilton. Because Netflix folks are essentially marketing geniuses, they created an ad specifically featuring Titus in what looks like his legit audition tape trying out for Hamilton. This commercial was played during the Tonys. Amazing.

This Pre-Show Huddle

Behind-the-scene pep talk at #TonyAwards

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One of my favorite things about the Tonys and Broadway in general is that there’s a real camaraderie between actors and genuine love within the community. Everyone seems to be supporting others in a way you’d think is odd in Hollywood. Prior to the show, members of Hamilton, On Your Feet!, Shuffle Along and more gathered for a pre-show pep talk/prayer circle because they’re all on the same team, striving to do their best on stage. You won’t see Oscar nominees doing this backstage.

Commercial Karaoke

 

 

I think it was Audra who told James Corden that the best advice she could give him is just to keep everyone in the audience entertained throughout the night. It’s a long show, so make sure the crowd enjoys it. It seems he took this to heart because during commercials, he instated Commercial Karaoke and recruited stars to sing the great hits – including Sean Hayes and Jake Gyllenhaal singing Aladdin. Don’t say I never gave you anything.

Jessie Mueller Goodbye

Also Sara Bareilles rolling out on the Tonys stage with her piano knowing full well she’s about to wreck us all.

The Fashion

Usually our post-awards show post is a Best/Worst Dressed situation, so to fulfill that quota, here are some of my faves from last night, starting with the absolutely gorgeous Laura Benanti in Oscar de la Renta and stunning Nicolette Robinson (Mrs. Leslie Odom Jr.) in a flowing Christian Siriano gown. Of course our patron saint Lupita Nyong’o didn’t disappoint, while Sara Bareilles, Jane Krakowski and Adrienne Warren all did their thang too.

*I took a page out of the Tony producers’ handbook and saved the HamilTonys for last suckasss

Kings & Queens of Social Media

Unlike major Broadway phenomenons with fervent fan bases of the past (A Chorus Line, Rent, etc.) Hamilton came in an era where social media reigns and fans from all over the world can send one simple tweet to Lin and he’ll respond in Internet-language like he’s your BFF. The cast members of Hamilton kill it when it comes to social media, and on Tonys day, they did not disappoint. From my fave Andrew Chappelle taking over the official Hamilton Snapchat to Seth Stewart sharing backstage videos to the MOST turnt Broadway warmup ever, to my boo Oak posting videos of the boys dancing (just look at his whole feed from Sunday it’s worth it). This is how you werk social media, y’all. I freaking love this cast.

RENEE

I attempted to count how many times I cried during the Tonys, and I stopped because I was already at an obscene amount prior to the show started (thanks to seeing rehearsal vid of the HamilCast’s Rent bumper). I def stopped the cry count because I was sobbing SOBBING during Renee’s speech.

LIN

A) His fistbump/fireworks explosion with Vanessa. Definition of #CoupleGoals. B) Lin casually writing a sonnet like it’s easy. Literal genius. C) EVERYTHING ABOUT THE SONNET.

What Kind of Day Has It Been

Lin has long said The West Wing is one of his favorite shows and thus a big influence on Hamilton (“looking for a mind at work” in The Schuyler Sisters is straight from TWW), so it’s not really a surprise that he snuck this sly move in. The signal was used in S1E22, What Kind of Day Has It Been and basically alerted President Bartlet of good news. Good news indeed.

History Is Happening In Manhattan

For the first time in Tony history, all four musical acting awards went to people of color – Leslie Odom Jr., Cynthia Erivo, Daveed Diggs and Renee Elise Goldsberry. Hey Oscars (and everyone else still sleeping) – stay woke.

Look Around, Look Around

Everyone who won for Ham had a great speech, but the best way to end the show was with a performance with the whole cast (because, pandering but also, history). It was the most joyous number because everyone was dressed in their formal gear and not in revolutionary costumes. For once it was the actors having fun and reveling in their 11 wins. I mean what other show has actors that dab on the stage after winning all those Tonys?

Right Hand Man: Meet Hamilton Tony Nominees

On a scale from one to “the other 51,” how energized are you for Sunday’s Tony Awards? We couldn’t be happier for Hamilton’s well-deserved 16 Tony nominations, and of course all of us have been rooting for Lin and Leslie, Phillipa, Daveed and Christopher and Renee. Nobody would argue that Hamilton isn’t #blessed with an incredible cast – but the musical’s success owes just as much to the behind-the-scenes team. Here are a few bios of LMM’s right-hand men:

Best Orchestrations – Alex Lacamoire

Alex Lacamoire is part of Lin-Manuel’s cabinet of geniuses, and incidentally all of them (+ Andy Blankenbuhler and Tommy Kail) happen to be nominated for Tonys this year. Alex has worked with Lin since In the Heights, the show for which he won his first Tony in the same category. Alex collaborated with Lin again for Bring It On the Musical, also serving as a co-orchestrator with Tom Kitt (Next to Normal). Needless to say, they’re trusted bros and work like one mind. And their working relationship is unconventional of sorts – usually an orchestrator begins collaborating with the show’s writer on pre-existing songs. But for Lin and Alex, it’s a team effort. Lin sends Alex a first draft recording of a song, and Alex constructs sheet music from there. Lin leads the way but Alex is in The Room Where It Happens from the jump.

“Lin is the architect. He builds the house. This is the foundation, this is the chord, these are the lyrics, this is the melody. I add the colors. It’s the back and forth. Lin leaves me spaces to contribute, and I’m thankful that becomes part of the song.” {x}

 

A perfect example of this is when Alex accompanied Lin to the White House in 2009 for the now-famous performance of what is now the first number of the show, Alexander Hamilton. Back then, the idea was just a Hamilton Mixtape – there was now musical in existence. They worked on that song and all the others to create what you hear on the soundtrack now. Also, if you’re a Hamilfan or just genuinely interested in the process of making a musical, watch that interview above. And read this interview. There’s a lot, kids.

 

Best Costume Design of a Musical – Paul Tazewell 

If you’re reading this there’s a good chance you have a copy of Hamiltome on your book shelf. Go to it and read the part about Paul Tazewell’s costume designs, and try to come away feeling anything but amazed. You can’t, can you? If you’re reading this there’s also a good chance you’re a regular Tony viewer, so the name Paul Tazewell probably sounds a bit familiar. His other nominations include A Streetcar Named Desire (2012), Memphis (2010), In The Heights (2008), The Color Purple (2006) and Bring In Da Noise, Bring In Da Funk (1996). Tazewell has experience designing both contemporary and period costumes, but Hamilton called for something a little different. The costumes in Hamilton are nothing short of amazing. They evoke the Revolutionary era, but they aren’t exactly straight out of Colonial Williamsburg, either:

How we used period influence in the costume design and the set design for HAMILTON was indeed the major question for the design team. Because HAMILTON is about an actual and year specific period of time that is very well known, it was important to decide if it would be a filmic recreation of the American Revolution/Colonial Period or if we would do the opposite and have the contemporary sound and telling of the story require me to design with a more modern style, as in contemporary fashion and street clothing. […]

[…]  I was also able to start to work out the look for the dancing ensemble which obviously needed to function well for movement and allow them to do everything that Andy Blankenbuehler’s choreography required them to do, as well as create a neutral look that would be able to work seamlessly from Revolutionary Soldier, to men and women on the streets of Colonial New York City, to statesmen of the newly created United States of America. It also became important to have the principal characters stand out from the ensemble. [x]

To read more about Tazewell’s inspiration for specific characters’ costumes (like the Schuyler sisters and Thomas Jefferson), as well as the ensemble’s neutral parchment-colored look, read this excellent interview from Tyranny of Style.

Best Lighting Design of a Musical – Howell Binkley

Hamilton’s lighting design is courtesy of Howell Binkley, a five-time Tony nominee and one-time winner for Jersey Boys. One of those nominations was from In The Heights, so Lin was keeping it in the family yet again. For this production, Howell designed his lighting track by track, creating scenes based on the emotion evoked in each song.

“I gave each song a different look, as each song is a different story, and I wanted to give each one a different quality of light, different texture, and a different flavor,” Binkley adds. “The cast is often on stage watching the action, so I needed to sculpt them without taking away from the main characters. The color came from the mood of the song and the flavor of the music and the subject, rather than a motif for each character. For example, in the song ‘Hurricane,’ the palette is blue-green, turquoise, and yellow—vibrant but not always pretty, as Alexander Hamilton faces inner turmoil before he publishes his writings.” {x}

He also noted that designing the lighting for the show was “like a rock ‘n’ roll cueing sensibility yet with the subtleness of watching a sunset. It’s that extreme, sometimes right in your face, sometimes very intimate, from love scenes to duels.” This description is so on point – from hip-hop numbers to traditional musical theater songs, of course the lighting has to be different – just like the founding fathers, he’s building a nation in the middle of change.

Best Direction of a Musical – Thomas Kail

Tommy Kail is Lin’s Right Hand Man if there ever was one. Tommy was a few years ahead of Lin at Wesleyan University, where they both went to school and ran in the same theater circles. They co-created Freestyle Love Supreme (where they met Chris Jackson and Daveed Diggs) and directed In The Heights, for which he got a Tony nom. One of the great things I’ve noticed about interviews and such from Tommy re: Hamilton is how much he understands the story of the show. He’s not just directing a group of actors across the stage, he’s using them to convey a fairly untold story to an audience who will hopefully be just as moved and immersed in Hamilton’s take as the cast is.

LMM: When you hire Tommy as a director you get a two-for-one because he is also one of the best dramaturges around. He has such an incredible sense of story. A lot of the dramaturgical decisions that went into the structure of this show are from conversations with and suggestions from Tommy. It’s not just about making stage pictures or staging the show with him; he is with you every step of the process in terms of shaping the show and forming the show. He lets you know when you are treading water, if you can get somewhere faster. It’s actually kind of hard to overstate it. {x}

And since they’ve worked together so closely and for such a long time, their partnership works like magic and that magic shows on stage.

TK: One of the most striking things about Lin is his openness once he trusts you. That’s the fundamental difference between working now and when we first started; neither of us has to prove anything to each other in terms of our intention, which is always to make the thing better—to make the song better, to make the moment better, to make it sharper, to make it deeper. Lin knows implicitly that all I’m trying to do is service the piece. He learned that very early on with In the Heights. Effectively, our shorthand has gotten shorter. It’s now almost subliminal and non-verbal. There are times when I can just look at him and he knows exactly what I’m going to say and vise-versa. {x}

Best Choreography – Andy Blankenbuehler

On one hand, hip hop. On the other hand, an 18th century ball. HOW? If anyone was to figure out how to make it work, it would be Andy Blankenbuehler. Andy worked with Lin on In The Heights and Bring It On (noticed a theme yet?), and for Hamilton his choreography was informed by not just the music but also the setting and costumes – you move differently in heavy boots and jackets.

Blankebuehler’s big challenge in choreographing Hamilton was keeping the choreography from becoming repetitive while maintaining a cohesive style throughout. Andy solved this dilemma by creating several recurrent “movement phrases”  – I’m just like my country, I’m young scrappy and hungry, for example:

The ensemble is a choreographer’s chance to give voice to things that aren’t being said by the main characters, and for Andy, the ensemble’s point of view had to shift to emphasize different characters’ points of view:

The biggest collaborative thing was figuring out the ensemble’s perspective, the ensemble’s point of view because the strength of the ensemble’s point of view, I think, determines the strength of the musical. If their point of view isn’t clarified, the audience doesn’t invest in them as the lens for the piece. We had constant conversations with ourselves, but also with the cast of like “Right now you’re being Aaron Burr’s ego,” “Right now you’re being a jury that doesn’t have an opinion yet,” “Right now you’re being a jury that’s going to say, ‘Ok, I’m going to listen to Aaron Burr and see what he has to say and I’m going to stand in his shoes.”’  [x]

Modern audiences connect with Hamilton because some feelings and relationships are universal – and it was no different for Blankenbuehler:

I spoke at [the Drama Desk Awards] last year and I was really emotional because that week my daughter was cured of cancer. It was after three years of like chemotherapy every day. And so my family went through a fight for life for three years.

I said that that night in that speech. One of my favorite moments is the rowers and the end of the show when Hamilton’s dying and they’re rowing next to him. Literally, that’s how I felt because of my daughter. And so it’s those moments that are conceptual that I’m really proud of and I’m so thankful that the writers, Lin and [director] Tommy [Kail] and [musical director] Alex [Lacamoire], are trusting dance to accomplish that. [x]

 

Scenic Design – David Korins

Another previous collaborator (Bring It On), David Korins brings a decade of Broadway experience: he has designed sets for Dear Evan Hansen, Misery, Godspell and many more. For Hamilton, Korins took his inspiration from 18th century New York ship yards, the vestiges of which you can still see in the city. The set contains sturdy beams, ropes and platforms, similar to those a young immigrant Hamilton would have first encountered landing in the new country.  Then there’s the turntable, enabling the play to move forward and back through time, to spin faster as Hamilton’s world spins.

With more minute details, Korins shows the transition from the scrappy, under-construction colonies to a new country with a government and politics of its own:

“We go from rifles and racks to scrolls of parchment and maps and fine china, because now they are coming home to govern the country, and start writing laws.And you know, no one sees it. We lose ropes, we tie things off, we buoy and hunker down and become the fledgling nation that we are. No one sees it. They see the turntable, and they’re like, ‘Congratulations, you made a turntable!” [x]

 

What Comes Next? Fantasy Hamilton Replacement Cast

We know all good things must come to an end, and the reign of the Original Broadway Cast of Hamilton can’t be with the show forever. We’ve already said goodbye to Jonathan Groff as King George, and odds are Lin-Manuel is leaving in July, and maybe Leslie too? Despite the fact it will obviously be a sad end of an era with the OBC cast leaving, there are so many talented actors out there who would be perfect for the show. So if we had any say in casting, here are our choices to get in the room where it happens.

Joshua Henry as Alexander Hamilton

Tony-nominated Josh Henry has already worked with Lin in the past, as he was an ensemble member for In The Heights in both the off-Broadway and Broadway productions. In fact, he was in the early Vassar workshops of Hamilton, playing both King George and James Madison/Hercules Mulligan. So why not bring him back to play the lead role? After he ends his run in Shuffle Along, of course. He already did a great job as seen in the video above. HamilJosh? Sign me up.

Kyle Scatliffe as Aaron Burr

I know, he’s busy right now. But think: he has amazing stage presence, he has that perfect tenor/baritone voice, he can play characters in that gray area between good and bad, and I’m sure he would absolutely crush Wait For It. Maybe we’ve never seen him rap, but we’ve seen him cover Tenacious D so we know he can go off-genre.

Taye Diggs as George Washington

I’m not just saying this because we love him. Now that Taye is in his mid-40s (I DON’T KNOW HOW EITHER), I think he has exactly the gravitas needed to pull off a role like George Washington. Let’s talk about One Last Time. Can’t you just hear him singing that? Having an established Broadway veteran playing America’s first president just makes sense. I don’t know whether he can rap (see this) but I feel like he can probably do anything.

Bryshere Gray as James Madison/Hercules Mulligan

 

I tend to think of Hercules Mulligan as the most youthful of Hamilton’s crew (after Laurens, maybe) and I just know Bryshere Gray (Hakeem from Empire/ Yazz The Greatest) could pull off all of the bravado and energy the character has.

 Jordan Fisher as John Laurens/Philip Hamilton

Does this young, strapping man look familiar to you? If you’re of a certain age, you recognize him from the DCOM Teen Beach Movie franchise, but if you’re like us, you’ll know him as Doody from the delightful Grease Live special earlier this year. We basically went through puberty again and swooned after seeing him sing Those Magic Changes, and now that he’s on his own solo career with a R&B/hip-hop vibe, he can fit right in to eventually replace HamHearthrob Anthony Ramos.

Ashley Park as Eliza Hamilton

Ashley Park is currently in The King and I revival on Broadway, and since we just found out the show is closing at the end of the month, let’s give Ashley another job a mile and a half away to the Richard Rodgers, shall we (dance lolololol)? She has a gorge voice and poise on stage that would fit right in with Eliza’s graceful demeanor.

Nikki M. James as Angelica Schuyler

The fab Nikki M. James won a Tony Award for her role as Nabulungi in The Book of Mormon, but if you’ve ever seen the show, you know it’s got a much different vibe than Hamilton. But even in that role, Nabulungi and Angelica have one thing in common – they’re both strong willed women in a male-dominated world, and if Nikki can win a Tony for Nabulungi, she can most def step into bustle for Angelica.

Vanessa Hudgens as and Peggy/Maria Reynolds

Because we loved Grease Live more than we thought we were going to, here’s another musical alum – both of the high school and Broadway varieties. BBV played the good girl in HSM and the bad girl in Grease, a perfect mix needed to play andPeggy/Maria in Hamilton. And if you happen to be one of the people who don’t believe she has the vocal chops, just watch that video above.

Norbert Leo Butz as King George

Oh Norbert. How I love you so. And I want you to be in my life again, and not just on Bloodline. I would like you to specifically join the HamFam because you are talented and great and your voice makes me swoon. The end.

Neil Patrick Harris as King George

I mean, come on. Do I even have to explain this? No. Just enjoy NPH at the Tonys a couple years ago causing a ruckus with a bunch of celebs as Hedwig instead. One of the best-ever performances on the show.

 

Hamilton Explained: Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story

It’s Hamilweek, and Hamilweek means another Hamilton Explained… but not just any Hamilton Explained. This time around, we’re taking a look at the show’s closing number. It’s our last chance to cry during our Hamilton listening sessions, and we take it every time. (Just kidding. We both carefully select which Act II numbers we’re capable of listening to based on our emotional fortitude at the given moment.) Grab some tissues and Visine, we’re taking it to the finale!

 

[WASHINGTON]

Let me tell you what I wish I’d known

When I was young and dreamed of glory

  • Taking it back to History Has its Eyes On You:

You have no control:

[WASHINGTON AND COMPANY]

Who lives

Who dies

Who tells your story?

  • Continuing the reference to History Has Its Eyes On You. Then it was foreshadowing, now it’s a callback. By this point the dead include Alexander, Phillip, Laurens, and others not specifically mentioned in the show (RIP and Peggy). The living: on one hand, Burr (who continued to refer to Hamilton in frenemy-type terms for the rest of his life) and on the other, Eliza.
  • Then, there’s the casting of Hamilton, which Lin-Manuel Miranda has explained in a number of interviews: the concept is that it is a story about America then, told by America now. Hamilton and the other founding fathers had choices in setting up the American political and monetary systems, but what happened next (what became of America next, who became America next) was out of their hands. Even living the best life, full of the most worthy deeds, is not a guarantee that you will be talked about in centuries’ time – and you have no control over who does the talking, either.

 

[BURR]

President Jefferson:

[JEFFERSON]

I’ll give him this: his financial system is a

Work of genius. I couldn’t undo it if I tried

And I tried

  • This, you already know from the rest of the play. Just call it one of the first great federalist vs states’ rights debates: should there be a national bank (Hamilton) or should money be left to the states’ control (Jefferson)? Will America be built on urban commerce (Hamilton) or an agrarian foundation (Jefferson – and yes, we know who’s really doing the planting)? Since you use the same $$ in all 50 states, you know what happened when Jefferson tried to oppose Hamilton’s financial system. Not to mention, Jefferson hoped for a French/parliamentary system of government, and feared that Hamilton wanted a more English government (constitutional monarchy).

[WASHINGTON AND COMPANY]

Who lives

Who dies

Who tells your story?

[BURR]

President Madison:

[MADISON]

He took our country from bankruptcy to prosperity

I hate to admit it, but he doesn’t get enough credit

For all the credit he gave us

 

  • The US fell into a financial slump after the Revolutionary War (contrast with our postwar economic booms in the 20th century: WWI followed by the prosperous 1920s; the economic success of the 1950s, the ostentatious 1980s (only a good time for the wealthy, granted) following Vietnam. Hamilton’s response was to consolidate state debts and subsume them into the national bank, preventing future catastrophes after war drained the nation’s coffers. He dealt “a new line of credit” via the National Bank – the credit he gave us. Today we see this in large scale – maybe larger than Hamilton would have liked? – in the Federal Reserve.

 

[WASHINGTON AND COMPANY]

Who lives

Who dies

Who tells your story?

[ANGELICA]

Every other founding father story gets told

Every other founding father gets to grow old

 

  • Before this musical and Chernow’s bio, your average American knew about the Aaron Burr duel, the $10 bill, and probably some slivers of recollection about the National Bank and Constitutional Convention from high school history class. The other founding fathers are celebrated in everything from monuments to children’s school pageants: George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, John Jay and James Madison. I didn’t even have to look them up – the only one non-legal-types sometimes forget is John Jay, who may be due for his own hit musical (Jay was our first Chief Justice and helped negotiate the Treaty of Paris, BTW).
  • The other Founding Fathers also lived a really long time – most of them were in their 80s when they died, except Hamilton and Washington (who still lived longer than Hamilton, at 67). Maybe it bears mention that most of those low average lifespans for past centuries were skewed by high infant – and to an extent, child – mortality. If you made it to your kid years, there was a good chance you were going to live a full life, not die at 35 or whatever. Hamilton’s death looked tragically young in the 19th century, too.
  • I remember reading – forgive me, I don’t remember where – that in the early 19th century the popular portraits of the founding fathers were of them in later life instead of during their younger years because America was such a young country that having older leaders gave an air of stability, permanency, and history to the fledgling nation.

 

[BURR]

But when you’re gone, who remembers your name?

Who keeps your flame?

  • In Burn, Eliza takes fire to Hamilton’s letters – incinerates them; destroys them. In Who Lives Who Dies Who Tells Your Story, Eliza keeps the fire of Alexander’s legacy alive – fans the flames, but this time it means something different.

 

[BURR AND MEN]

Who tells your story?
Who tells your story?

[ANGELICA AND WOMEN]

Who tells your story?

Your story?

[WOMEN]

Eliza

[ELIZA]

I put myself back in the narrative

 

  • Full circle: let me be part of the narrative (That Would Be Enough); I’m myself from the narrative (Burn); I put myself back in the narrative.
  • In an interview (one of Phillipa Soo or LMM’s Theater People episodes maybe?? Correct me if you know), they discussed that the “narrative” theme didn’t emerge until they were writing one of the later songs – I want to say this one, but possibly Burn – then LMM retroactively worked it into That Would Be Enough.

 

[WOMEN]

Eliza

[ELIZA]

I stop wasting time on tears

I live another fifty years

It’s not enough

  • Eliza died in 1854, long enough to see interstate railroads, the admission of over 30 states, the California Gold Rush, and the growth of the abolitionist movement. She was 97, and much celebrated as the “last living link to the Revolutionary era” 

[COMPANY]

Eliza

[ELIZA]

I interview every soldier who fought by your side

  • Eliza was dedicated to preserving Alexander’s legacy by creating an honest biography of him – he was still a somewhat maligned character in those days. Her son John Church Hamilton edited her papers, publishing them after her death in 1861.

[MULLIGAN/LAFAYETTE/LAURENS]

She tells our story

[ELIZA]

I try to make sense of your thousands of pages of writings

You really do write like you’re running out of

  • Also true – thousands of Hamilton’s papers survive to this day, and Eliza considered it her life’s work to document and organize them.

[ELIZA AND COMPANY]

Time

[ELIZA]

I rely on—

[ELIZA AND ANGELICA]

Angelica

  • Angelica lived abroad for much of the years that Hamilton took place (you can read her letters too). By the time Alexander dies, she is living much closer to Eliza – though still a trip in 19th century terms – in the Southern Tier of New York (in a town, Angelica, that is still named after her.  I used to go through it on the way to see my grandparents as a kid. You can still see her house.)

[ELIZA]

While she’s alive—

[ELIZA AND ANGELICA]

We tell your story

[ELIZA]

She is buried in Trinity Church

[ELIZA AND ANGELICA]

Near you

Here. 

 

[ELIZA]

When I needed her most, she was right on—

[ELIZA AND COMPANY]

Time

  • As I said above, from 1797 on, Angelica was in the United States.

[ELIZA]

And I’m still not through

I ask myself, “What would you do if you had more—”

 

[ELIZA AND COMPANY]

Time

  • Time is a theme throughout the play – wanting more of it, wanting to make the most of it, not knowing how much of it you have, not being able to speed it up or slow it down. Write like you’re running out of time, don’t throw away your shot, non-stop (unless you’re the other type, and you’re willing to wait for it).
  • 1804 or 2016, this is what you spend every day trying to answer when you love somebody and they die too soon. 

[ELIZA]

The Lord, in his kindness

He gives me what you always wanted

He gives me more—

[ELIZA AND COMPANY]

Time

 

[ELIZA]

I raise funds in D.C. for the Washington Monument

  • Just as Hamilton didn’t live to see the full effects of his financial plan, Eliza didn’t live to see the monument, which opened in 1888 (I refer to The World Was Wide Enough: What is a legacy? It’s planting seeds in a garden you never get to see)

[WASHINGTON]

She tells my story

 

[ELIZA]

I speak out against slavery

  • Here, Washington takes a step back, ashamed: he was maybe our greatest founder, but he may have had it in his power to undo the greatest systemic evil of our country, and he did not.
  • Incidentally, this number was the last one to be staged, it became apparent that the most logical staging was to have the cast stand and surround Eliza.

You could have done so much more if you only had—

[ELIZA AND COMPANY]

Time

 

[ELIZA]

And when my time is up, have I done enough?

[ELIZA]

Will they tell our story?

[COMPANY]

Will they tell your story?

[ELIZA]

Oh. Can I show you what I’m proudest of?

[COMPANY]

The orphanage

  • In case you’re wondering, this is the point in the soundtrack where over 70% of listeners begin crying (fake statistic; feels likely).

[ELIZA]

I established the first private orphanage in New York City

  • “On March 15th, 1806, Elizabeth and a small group of women had gathered to form the Orphan Asylum Society to care for children who were orphaned from epidemics of cholera and yellow fever. Their mission was clear, “To help the afflicted and the needy others have forgotten; to provide them with the education and training they need to become productive, contributing members of society: to help them realize their capacity for happiness and success which belongs to all human beings.…” On May 1, 1806 they opened the doors of the Society’s first home, a rented two-story frame house on Raisin Street. Twelve orphans were admitted in the first six months and by the end of the year, 200 orphaned children had been admitted.”(http://39hwwr39mt3mqsp5fnf1q714zb.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Read-More…Elizabeth-Schuyler.pdf)
  • Children may be our most vulnerable population, but they also carried the fewest legal protections in the 17th, 18th, 19th and early 20th century – childhood as a concept didn’t really exist, and children were barely better than property. There were not consistent systems in place to care for and house orphaned and abandoned children, and those that existed were poorly regulated. The children’s rights movement didn’t take off in earnest until a few decades after Eliza’s death, when a woman named Etta Wheeler appealed to the ASPCA for help securing protection for a beaten foster child — there was a society to protect animals, but not children. All this to say that an orphanage aiming to educate children and release them into adult society – rather than just house them and work them – was relatively revolutionary and Eliza and her friends were ahead of their time.
  • I know this is a tangent, but it matters: you can read more about Etta Wheeler, and little Mary Ellen McCormack here. The fight for children’s rights and protection is an important chapter in American social history and jurisprudence, but it just isn’t taught.
  • By the way, Eliza did this less than two years after her husband’s death while raising 8 children alone.

[COMPANY]

The orphanage

[ELIZA]

I help to raise hundreds of children

I get to see them growing up

[COMPANY]

The orphanage

 

[ELIZA]

In their eyes I see you, Alexander

I see you every—

[ELIZA AND COMPANY]

Time

[ELIZA]

And when my time is up

Have I done enough?

Will they tell my story?

[COMPANY]

Will they tell your story?

[ELIZA]

Oh, I can’t wait to see you again

It’s only a matter of—

[ELIZA AND COMPANY]

Time

[COMPANY]

Will they tell your story?
Who lives, who dies, who tells your story?
Will they tell your story?
Who lives, who dies—

[COMPANY]

Time…

Time…
Time…

[FULL COMPANY]

Who tells your story?

See also: 

Hamilton Explained: The Schuyler Sisters

Hamilton Explained: Ten Duel Commandments

Hamilton Explained: Cabinet Battle #1 (As Kanye Rant Tweets)

Hamilton Explained: Appointing A Supreme Court Justice (using Hamilton lyrics to explain the process of nominating and confirming a new SCJ)

Hamilton Explained: Guns and Ships