The Story of Tonight

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"The Story of Tonight"
Song by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Anthony Ramos, Okieriete Onaodowan, Daveed Diggs and the original Broadway cast of Hamilton
from the album Hamilton
Released2015
GenreShow tune
Length1:31
Songwriter(s)Lin-Manuel Miranda
Audio
"The Story of Tonight" on YouTube

"The Story of Tonight" is the fourth song from Act 1 of the musical Hamilton, based on the life of Alexander Hamilton, which premiered on Broadway in 2015. Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote both the music and lyrics to the song.

Synopsis[edit]

The song recounts a meeting which occurred in 1776 between Alexander Hamilton, John Laurens, Hercules Mulligan and Marquis de Lafayette. In the song, the four young revolutionaries declare their loyalty and fealty to the newly-started revolution, and consume alcohol in a bar as they talk, toasting every now and then. They state that their liberty and freedom can never be taken from them, and that there will soon be more people joining their cause. They also confess that they are willing to die in the fight.

Reprises[edit]

The song has two reprises in the first act of the musical:

The Story of Tonight (Reprise)[edit]

"The Story of Tonight (Reprise)"
Song by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Anthony Ramos, Okieriete Onaodowan, Daveed Diggs, and Leslie Odom Jr.
from the album Hamilton
Released2015
GenreShow tune
Length1:55
Songwriter(s)Lin-Manuel Miranda
Audio
"The Story of Tonight (Reprise)" on YouTube

The first reprise of the song is the twelfth song in Act One of the musical. It takes place following the wedding of Alexander Hamilton and Elizabeth Schuyler in 1780. The group from the first rendition of the song is reunited, all of them drunk from the party and jokingly singing about the consequences of his marriage. They refer to Alexander as "the tomcat", referencing a moniker given to him by Martha Washington as a result of his promiscuous nature. Mulligan states that he is "newly not poor", as he has married into the wealthy Schuyler family. Their drunken festivities are interrupted by the arrival of Aaron Burr, who had recently been promoted to the rank of lieutenant colonel. Hamilton expresses envy at Burr's command, and Burr congratulates Hamilton on his nuptials, and Laurens inquires as to Burr's own romantic status. Hamilton dismisses his friends, Burr reveals that he is unlawfully consorting with the wife of a British officer. Hamilton asks Burr why he is so hesitant, a question that leads Burr to reveal his world-view and philosophy in the next song, "Wait for It".

Tomorrow There'll Be More of Us: Laurens' Interlude[edit]

"Tomorrow There'll Be More of Us: Laurens' Interlude"
Song by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Anthony Ramos, and Phillipa Soo
GenreShow tune
Songwriter(s)Lin-Manuel Miranda

A second reprise of "The Story of Tonight", titled "Tomorrow There'll Be More of Us: Laurens' Interlude " ("The Laurens Interlude" in the Off-Broadway version), occurs in the show near the end of Act One. Hamilton is working at home when his wife Eliza informs him that he has received a letter from South Carolina. Hamilton puts off reading the letter, believing it to be from John Laurens. However, Eliza reveals that the letter is actually from Laurens' father. At Hamilton's request, she reads the letter aloud, delivering the news of Laurens' death in the Battle of the Combahee River, and all the black soldiers that were with him had either been killed or captured and returned to their owners. This battle had occurred because the British troops in the southern territories had not yet received word that the war had ended, meaning that Laurens had died for no reason. Laurens' father laments that his son's dream of freedom for his people as well as his plans for the first "black battalion" have died with him. As the scene plays, a ghost-like Laurens appears and interjects lines from "The Story of Tonight", suggesting that he held on to the beliefs espoused in the song to very end. Hamilton suppresses his emotional reaction to the news, saying only that he has "so much work to do," leading directly into "Non-Stop", the act's finale number.

The song was not included on the original Broadway cast recording. Miranda explained that it was "more of a scene than a song, the only scene in the [sung-through] show", and he wanted to reserve the impact of "at least one revelation" that could be experienced more fully onstage.[1]

Analysis[edit]

The song stylistically differs from many other songs in the musical due to the absence of hip-hop elements. Elizabeth Logan wrote that the song demonstrates the "characters' naïveté" as they are consumed with dreams of glory.[2]

The song is referenced multiple times in the musical, most importantly in "The World Was Wide Enough", when, having been wounded in a duel in Weehawken, New Jersey, Hamilton's final words in his final soliloquy is "Raise a glass to freedom".

Critical reception[edit]

The Young Folks considered the original song to be the musical's 28th best, and its first reprise to be the 44th.[3]

Cover[edit]

We the Kings, an American rock band, performed a cover version of "The Story of Tonight" in 2016.[4][5] The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon taped segments in Puerto Rico when Hamilton debuted on the island with the "And Peggy Tour" cast, including a performance of "The Story of Tonight", where Jimmy Fallon joined in as a second Alexander Hamilton next to Miranda singing about The Tonight Show and ending the performance with a salsa version of Fallon's Tonight Show opening song.

"Found/Tonight," a charity single mashup of the song with "You Will Be Found" from Dear Evan Hansen, was released on March 19, 2018. It peaked at number 49 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[6] Silver 200,000double-dagger
United States (RIAA)[7] Gold 500,000double-dagger

double-dagger Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Dominick, Nora (2015-09-24). "HAMILTON's Lin-Manuel Miranda Shares a Scene Not on the Cast Album". Broadwayworld.com. Retrieved 2017-05-08.
  2. ^ Elizabeth Logan (2015-01-10). "I Have an Opinion on Every Song in "Hamilton" | HuffPost". Huffingtonpost.com. Retrieved 2017-05-08.
  3. ^ Matt Rice (2016-06-14). "Every Song from 'Hamilton,' Ranked". The Young Folks. Retrieved 2017-05-08.
  4. ^ Viagas, Robert (2016-02-05). "We The Kings Cover Hamilton 'Story of Tonight' (Video)". Playbill. Retrieved 2017-05-08.
  5. ^ BWW News Desk (2016-02-05). "VIDEO: We The Kings Unveil 'The Story of Tonight' HAMILTON Cover". Broadwayworld.com. Retrieved 2017-05-08.
  6. ^ "British single certifications – Miranda/Ramos/Onaodowan/Diggs – The Story of Tonight". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved June 9, 2022.
  7. ^ "American single certifications – ORIGINAL BROADWAY CAST OF HAMILTON – The Story of Tonight". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved February 6, 2019.