A Musical Look at Hamilagons From Shakespeares Original Draft


first burn

First Burn is a musical play written by Alexander Hamilton and is one of the romantic comedies. You should definitely add First Burn to your list of contenders. But if you want something that is more serious then you should read on…

About The Composition

A close up of a plate of food

“First Burn” is a musical play written by Lin-manuel Rubens. It is the story of Hamilton, a widowed man, who marries a wealthy woman named Ariel. But Hamilton’s new bride-to-be soon discovers that he has many enemies; among them, a man named Benjamin Franklin. Hamilton attempts to reconcile with Franklin, but Franklin’s friends and family manipulate him into working against his best interests. But when a fire breaks out in the ceremony which interrupts the wedding, Hamilton flees to his cabin. He is locked inside and soon finds himself stranded…

The Plot

A desk with a computer on a table

At first, I really didn’t know what to expect from this play. I really thought it would be a modernized version of Hamil the dwarf, except that it was supposed to be based off of the first Burn. It turns out that this play is not based off of any of the first Burn’s stories. Lin Emmanuel does a decent job of building up the plot, but it isn’t very original. For instance, when Hamilton flees to his cabin, we are introduced to several new characters. All of these names are taken from previous stories, except for the one that makes Lin Emanuel’s name familiar: Franklin.

The Interesting Materials

The interesting thing about this play is how the first act ties into the second. When Lin Emanuel goes back to England, his first memory of England is of the medieval Times of King James I. This prompts him to travel to France, but in his travels he learns of King Henry II’s reign. So as the play unfolds, we learn more about the Tudor period and also how Henry’s disastrous marriage to Catherine of Aragon devastated England. Now, Lin Emanuel is traveling back to reclaim her inheritance, but she never fully gets over the traumatic experience of her time in England. This causes her to go crazy and have major withdrawals.

The Transition

Lin Emanuel’s first draft has her traveling through Europe, visiting various castles to find the source of her father’s mysterious death. Throughout the first half of the play, the story is told by various people, most of whom appear to be relatives of Lin Emanuel. However, towards the end of the play, we find that all but one character from each castle has been switched, and we are introduced to a new character named Hamildrops. By the end of the play, Lin-Emanuel has gained access to Hamildrops’ past and reveals to her father what really killed him.

The Review

In the first draft, after telling her story, Lin-Emanuel reveals to everyone that Hamildrop was a daughter of King Henry II. Everyone applauds, except for Henry II, who thinks Lin-Emanuel is mad. Lin-Emanuel then goes on to explain that her father had died trying to defend his kingdom against the invading French, but she is saved when the duke of Gloucester shows up at the gates to aid her.

While reading through the first draft, I kept seeing connections to other plays I’d recently read. For instance, both the national tour and the west end of the play all point to the tragicomic decline of English culture in the early modern period. Henry’s war with France is the catalyst for the decline, but the collapse of English education and learning cannot be the cause. This is why Shakespeare includes the “west end” or “national tour” as a completely separate play with an entirely different plot. To simplify things, I decided to create a new character to act as the centerpiece of the final version of Hamildragons story.

Wrapping Up

When I read that the play was to be rewritten in a musical format, I was thrilled. The musical elements included new characters and a beginning to a musical sequence that ties everything together. I called my friend Lisa Granville, the director and musical co-writer. She was thrilled to know that we could save the old version of Hamildragons and use only the new one.

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