wanna be in
the room where it happens.
The room where it happens.”
When Aaron Burr sings these words, everything changes. This is a vital pivot point in Hamilton, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s groundbreaking new musical. It leads to the inevitable conclusion of Burr and Hamilton’s story on a crisp morning in Weehawken. (“Everything is legal in New Jersey.”) This musical is the stuff dramaturgical dreams are made of. Just look at all the goodness LMM has packed into this one moment: Alexander Hamilton (played by Miranda) has been asking Burr (played by Leslie Odom, Jr.) since their first meeting what he stands for—but this is the first time he asks him what he wants. And it’s the first time that Burr recognizes that his answer to that question—what he really wants—is in. Burr has been a passive, contemplative, cautious man who’s determined to “Wait For It.” From now on, he’ll seize every opportunity he sees, no matter the cost. In an instant, Burr transforms from Hamilton’s foil to his antagonist. It’s a 180-degree turn that certified Genius LMM and the amazing Leslie Odom, Jr. make on a dime—and in a spotlight of tone and tempo to make sure that we don’t miss it. We pull all the way down to a whisper and get to watch Burr discover and immediately own what’s really been driving him all along.
In the Room Where It Happens, Episode 1(TheaterJones)