“Throughout, Burr is easily the most relatable character. Who among us has not watched as a favored…”

Throughout, Burr is easily the most relatable character. Who among us has not watched as a favored colleague rose through the ranks, drawing lucky ticket after lucky ticket, as you also toiled away, but to no reward? In “Right Hand Man,” Burr comes to then-general George Washington to propose a strategy for the war. At this point in history, Burr is a war hero: he fought his way through enemy forces in 1775 to rescue the body of his commander, Richard Montgomery, for which he received a citation for bravery.

Yet in this scene, Washington ignores Burr’s ideas and opinions in favor of young upstart Hamilton, asking him to “close the door on [his] way out.” Burr’s frustration at this deeply unfair dismissal is palpable. Burr is a genius, credentialed beyond belief. But at every point, Hamilton, either consciously or unconsciously, keeps Burr from “the room where it happens,” the place where the decisions are being made. Their eventual last encounter becomes more understandable by the second.


Burr really has two roles in the show: the omniscient narrator, and himself in the present moment. In the affecting finale, as he recounts the moments that led up to his and Hamilton’s fateful, fatal conflict, Odom’s voice takes on a note of barely disguised panic. As the keeper of the narrative, he knows what is coming yet is powerless to stop it.

Odom has said in interviews that he lets himself be shocked by the ending every night, lets himself believe it can be avoided until it can’t. He is a miraculous actor, one whom you can watch thinking, a rare and impressive skill. As he takes his position in the final duel, his eyes wide with fear, you can feel every inevitable step that led to this. Burr’s last “present-moment” word, as he’s shooting Hamilton, is “Wait!” in a terrifyingly sad recollection of his earlier catchphrase, which was the watchword of his ambitions—now to be dashed.

This leads to his all-too-knowing coda to the duel: “History obliterates—in every picture it paints, it paints me in all my mistakes…Now I’m the villain in your history. I was too young and blind to see—I should have known the world was wide enough for both Hamilton and me.” (That last is something the real Burr actually said before his own death at 80.) Odom weeps as he sings this, both out of regret and out of catharsis for all the pent-up frustration he’s been holding in the entire show.

The Real Hero Of ‘Hamilton’ Is Aaron Burr  (The Federalist)

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Tags: wait for it, hamilton, i've only heard the cast recording, but omg, he is audibly so expressive of exactly this, that I have to believe it would be life-changing to see him do it live, i know he probably won't be in the touring company, so I won't get to see him in the role, but I hope they'll be doing a taping of the original cast performance, they have to, don't they?, i'm willing to wait for it.

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