All of us here at XOXOAD are OBSESSED with Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Broadway sensation, Hamilton! But tickets are harder to come by than free-range unicorns, so if you’re stuck waiting until 2018 to see the show, here are some (loosely) Hamilton-themed reading recommendations to keep you busy in the meantime…
ALEXANDER HAMILTON, Ron Chernow
Begin with the book that started it all—Chernow’s doorstop of a biography was the inspiration for Miranda’s Broadway tour de force. See how much you can get through while standing in the “Hamilton” cancellation line!
HAMILTON: THE REVOLUTION, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy Carter
The full text of the musical’s libretto, along with annotations from its creators, plus the story of how this genre-bending, culture-defining show emerged from a five-minute performance at the White House. (include link? https://youtu.be/E8_ARd4oKiI)
THE ORIGINAL ARGUMENT, Glenn Beck
Hamilton wrote compulsively, and among his most famous pieces are the Federalist Papers, authored with John Jay and James Madison. Conservative pundit Glenn Beck has adapted and annotated a selection of these papers for a 21st century audience.
HAM: SLICES OF A LIFE, Sam Harris
Every Broadway baby has to start somewhere, and sometimes that somewhere is the ‘80s TV talent show Star Search. In this sassy, funny and surprisingly poignant collection of essays, Sam Harris talks about his early love of show biz, his life as a gay boy growing up in the south, his struggles with addiction and his experiences as a parent. AND there’s a story about Liza Minelli? What theatre-lover could resist?
THE RAP YEARBOOK, Shea Serrano
Part of the genius of “Hamilton” is the way Miranda so seamlessly melds a Broadway production to the rhythm, energy and politicization of hip-hop. This illustrated, annotated guide presents the most important rap song of every year since 1979—Esquire called it “a Ken Burns documentary, except with more cuss words.”
1776, David McCullough
Still not full up on Founding Fathers? Well sit down, John, and read about General Washington, his right hand man, and what it took to get this country started–from the preeminent historian of our day. This illustrated edition includes stunning images to accompany McCullough’s meticulous research.
RAZZLE DAZZLE: THE BATTLE FOR BROADWAY, Michael Riedel
The most respected (some would say feared) theatre critic working today reveals all the backstage shenanigans, scandals and triumphs in this gripping history of Broadway rediscovered. Known for his keen eye and sharp tongue, Riedel pulls no punches—you might say he was not throwing away his shot.
ADIOS TO MY OLD LIFE, Caridad Ferrer
Alegria is an aspiring singer/guitarist who tries out for a TV talent show searching for the next Latin superstar—and makes it. Now she has to hang onto her sense of self amidst a whirl of cameras, fans, and backstabbing contestants…does she even want to win this thing? For wunderkinds everywhere, whether a Founding Father on a Caribbean island, a MacArthur grant-winner in the Heights, or a teenaged girl wondering if she’s ready for the big time.
AMERICAN EMPEROR: AARON BURR’S CHALLENGE TO JEFFERSON’S AMERICA, David O. Stewart
Sure, now you know everything there is about Hamilton, but one would argue that the real star of the show is “the damn fool that shot him,” Aaron Burr. If you find yourself wondering about this sidelined statesman after Jefferson won the presidency, you don’t have to “wait for it”—read this compelling biography.
MISTRESS FIREBRAND, Donna Thorland
Who could resist a series called “Renegades of the American Revolution,” all about daring women at the dawn of independence? Jennifer Leighton is an actress, working in British-occupied Manhattan, who takes up her pen to write seditious plays mocking the Tory forces.
THE RAIDER, Jude Deveraux
Not that we don’t love all this history and theatre, but this is still XOXO, after all! We couldn’t leave romance off our list, and Jude Deveraux is truly one of the Founding Mothers of the genre. A daring patriot-highwayman roams the New England lanes by night, striking at the British forces unseen. Beautiful Jessica Taggert thrills to the Raider’s kisses, but will she be as smitten when he reveals his true identity? Can two hot-tempered lovers ever be “Satisfied,” or are they destined to “Burn”?
We hope this will give you enough food for thought while you’re waiting to get into “the room where it happens”! Until then, we’ll see you in the lottery line…