Lin-Manuel Miranda Shares Early Handwritten Drafts of “My Shot”

News   Lin-Manuel Miranda Shares Early Handwritten Drafts of “My Shot”
 
See photos of the Hamilton creator’s song notes.
Lin-Manuel Miranda
Lin-Manuel Miranda

Cleaning out the office might be a chore for the average worker, but for Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, it’s essentially a search for buried treasure.

Miranda tweeted August 16:


The photos reveal three pages of Miranda’s early drafts of lyrics.

We did a side-by-side comparison of these drafts to the final product. There aren’t many changes, and the ones that do exist seem minor. If these are a first draft, it’s certainly further proof of Miranda’s uncanny abilities. Here are four of the bigger changes we noticed:

1. As the song was originally written, Miranda had Hamilton boasting about receiving a scholarship to King’s College.
“I just got a scholarship to King’s College”

In the final version, Hamilton dreams of the scholarship:
“I‘m ‘a get a scholarship to King’s College.”

This draft version, Miranda puts Hamilton at 17. In the final staging, Hamilton is 19 at this point in the show. (Historically, Hamilton began as a private student at King’s College in 1773 at the age of 16 and officially matriculated in May 1774 at the age of 17.)

2. Later on in the verse, Miranda originally wrote:
“But damn it’s gettin’ dark and ain‘t nobody know my name
It’s the A-L-E-X-A-N-D
E-R, we are meant to be

The final score reads:
“But damn it’s gettin’ dark, so let me spell
out the name,
I am the—
A-L-E-X-A-N-D
E-R—we are—meant to be...”

3. The other pages Miranda revealed today cut towards the end of the number. In the section of slow-motion choreography where Hamilton describes death, Miranda originally characterized death as a person:
“I think of death so much he feels more like a memory
When is He gettin‘ me?
In my sleep? Seven feet ahead of me?
If I see him comin‘, do I run or do I let it be?”

The final song removes this personification:
“I imagine death so much it feels more like
a memory
When’s it gonna get me?
In my sleep? Seven feet ahead of me?
comin’, do I run or do I let it be?”

4. In the last section before the final chorus, Miranda seems to have done his most significant rewrites. The three questions he asks in his original draft are not in the final score. (Though Lafayette does recite a form of the panicky/anarchy rhyme pairing.)
“Do we live panicky in anarchy minute to minute?
Say we win independence, flawless execution?
Does that condemn us to an endless revolution?”

Often times, original drafts and composition notes like these are auctioned off. Bob Dylan’s original autographed manuscript of his “Like a Rolling Stone” sold at auction for over $2 million. Miranda has not announced any intention to sell these wares, but it would be interesting to see how much those would go for.

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