Alexander Hamilton’s decision to publish a 95-page booklet describing his infidelity is baffling, but it wasn’t quite as impetuous as the musical suggests. The song suggests Hamilton took the step proactively once his political enemies learned of his affair. In fact, rumors of Hamilton’s affair circulated among Jefferson and other Republican leaders for more than 4 years before the were aired publicly.
The revelations finally came in a book blandly titled “The History of the United States for 1796.” The book was written by a Republican rabble-rouser names James Callendar, who had ties to both James Monroe and John Beckley, two men who had access to the private papers cited in the book. The book criticized Hamilton for adultery but focused on resurrecting the allegations of corruption and financial speculation that Hamilton had refuted with his admission to the affair in the first place.
“Hurricane” does a nice job of taking us inside Hamilton’s head as he decides to “write his way out” of the situation he found himself in. He thinks about all the times he’s gotten ahead by relying on his skill with the quill (Lin-Manuel’s words, not mine).The song’s theme comes from the first and perhaps most significant of those times: Hamilton winning a ticket out of the sticks when he reporting on a hurricane. (Remember that essay sparked relatives and others to chip in to fund his travel and education in New York.)
The staging of the song brings to life the hurricane theme with the cast swirling around Hamilton on a turning roundtable portion of the stage, holding up chairs and other props at odd angles as if they were blowing or washing away.