Song Lyric Sunday — Plan

Well, I thought for sure that Helen Vahdati stumped me this week with the Song Lyric Sunday theme, “plan.” Absolutely nothing came to mind. I couldn’t even figure out where to start looking. To compound my inability to come up with any ideas, I realized that, for several hours after I read “plan,” the back of my brain was singing “The Room Where It Happens” from Hamilton. It was really getting annoying. Why couldn’t my subconscious loop a song related to “plan”? Heeeyyyyy, wait a minute…..

“The Room Where It Happens” begins with Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton discussing how Hamilton was going to get Congress to accept his financial plan. They are interrupted by James Madison, who leaves with Hamilton for dinner. The song refers to the behind-the-scenes story of the Compromise of 1790, which was reached between Virginia’s U.S. Representative Madison and Secretary of the Treasury Hamilton (New Yorker) at a private dinner hosted by Virginian Thomas Jefferson. The dinner ended with an agreement that the new U.S. government would assume the debts of the states (as the Northern legislators wanted) in exchange for establishing the federal capital in the South, rather than either New York or Philadelphia. Coincidentally, Madison and Jefferson also got Hamilton to agree to a lucrative debt adjustment for Virginia. No one, other than those three men, was in the room where the compromise was hammered out.

Burr marvels that the immigrant (Hamilton) came out of the dinner with “unprecedented financial power” while the Virginians got the national capital, both sides getting what they wanted. And no one else was in “the room where it happened.” Burr concludes that in the future, he, too, wants to be in the room where the important negotiations take place.

Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote the music, lyrics, and book for Hamilton, which won multiple awards, including 11 Tony awards, a Grammy, 8 Drama Desk awards, 7 Olivier awards, and a Pulitzer Prize.

 

 

The Room Where It Happens

[Burr:]
Ah, Mister Secretary[Hamilton:]
Mister Burr, sir

[Burr:]
Didja hear the news about good old General Mercer?

[Hamilton:]
No

[Burr:]
You know Clermont Street?

[Hamilton:]
Yeah

[Burr:]
They renamed it after him
The Mercer legacy is secure

[Hamilton:]
Sure

[Burr:]
And all he had to do was die

[Hamilton:]
That’s a lot less work

[Burr:]
We oughta give it a try

[Hamilton:]
Ha

[Burr:]
Now how’re you gonna get your debt plan through?

[Hamilton:]
I guess I’m gonna fin’ly have to listen to you

[Burr:]
Really?

[Hamilton:]
“Talk less. Smile more.”

[Burr:]
Ha ha

[Hamilton:]
Do whatever it takes to get my plan on the Congress floor

[Burr:]
Now, Madison and Jefferson are merciless

[Hamilton:]
Well, hate the sin, love the sinner

[Madison:]
Hamilton!

[Hamilton:]
I’m sorry Burr, I’ve gotta go

[Burr:]
But…

[Hamilton:]
Decisions are happening over dinner

[Burr:]
Two Virginians and an immigrant walk into a room

[Burr and Ensemble:]
Diametric’ly opposed, foes

[Burr:]
They emerge with a compromise, having opened doors that were

[Burr and Ensemble:]
Previously closed

[Ensemble:]
Bros

[Burr:]
The immigrant emerges with unprecedented financial power
A system he can shape however he wants
The Virginians emerge with the nation’s capital
And here’s the pièce de résistance:

[Burr (Ensemble):]
No one else was in
The room where it happened
The room where it happened
The room where it happened
No one else was in
The room where it happened (The room where it happened)
The room where it happened
The room where it happened (The room where it happened)
No one really knows how the game is played (Game is played)
The art of the trade
How the sausage gets made (How the sausage gets made)
We just assume that it happens (Assume that it happens)
But no one else is in
The room where it happens (The room where it happens)

[Burr and Company:]
Thomas claims

[Jefferson:]
Alexander was on Washington’s doorstep one day
In distress ‘n disarray

[Burr and Company:]
Thomas claims

[Jefferson:]
Alexander said

[Hamilton:]
I’ve nowhere else to turn!

[Jefferson:]
And basic’ly begged me to join the fray

[Burr and Company:]
Thomas claims

[Jefferson:]
I approached Madison and said,
“I know you hate ‘im, but let’s hear what he has to say.”

[Burr and Company:]
Thomas claims

[Jefferson:]
Well, I arranged the meeting
I arranged the menu, the venue, the seating

[Burr:]
But!
No one else was in

[Burr and Company:]
The room where it happened
The room where it happened
The room where it happened

[Burr:]
No one else was in

[Burr and Company:]
The room where it happened
The room where it happened
The room where it happened

[Burr (Company):]
No one really knows how the
Parties get to yes (Parties get to yes)
The pieces that are sacrificed in
Ev’ry game of chess (Ev’ry game of chess)
We just assume that it happens (Assume that it happens)
But no one else is in
The room where it happens (The room where it happens)

[Burr and Company:]
Meanwhile

[Burr:]
Madison is grappling with the fact that not ev’ry issue can be settled by committee

[Company:]
Meanwhile

[Burr:]
Congress is fighting over where to put the capital

[*Company screams in chaos*]

[Burr:]
It isn’t pretty
Then Jefferson approaches with a dinner and invite
And Madison responds with Virginian insight:

[Madison:]
Maybe we can solve one problem with another and win a victory for the Southerners, in other words

[Jefferson:]
Oh-ho!

[Madison:]
A quid pro quo

[Jefferson:]
I suppose

[Madison:]
Wouldn’t you like to work a little closer to home?

[Jefferson:]
Actually, I would

[Madison:]
Well, I propose the Potomac

[Jefferson:]
And you’ll provide him his votes?

[Madison:]
Well, we’ll see how it goes

[Jefferson:]
Let’s go

[Burr:]
No!

[Company:]
…one else was in
The room where it happened

[Burr and Company:]
The room where it happened
The room where it happened
No one else was in
The room where it happened
The room where it happened
The room where it happened

[Burr:]
My God!

[Burr and Company:]
In God we trust
But we’ll never really know what got discussed
Click-boom then it happened

[Burr:]
And no one else was in the room where it happened

[Company:]
Alexander Hamilton!

[Burr:]
What did they say to you to get you to sell New York City down the river?

[Company:]
Alexander Hamilton!

[Burr:]
Did Washington know about the dinner?
Was there Presidential pressure to deliver?

[Company:]
Alexander Hamilton!

[Burr:]
Or did you know, even then, it doesn’t matter
Where you put the U.S. Capital?

[Hamilton:]
‘Cause we’ll have the banks
We’re in the same spot

[Burr:]
You got more than you gave

[Hamilton:]
And I wanted what I got
When you got skin in the game, you stay in the game
But you don’t get a win unless you play in the game
Oh, you get love for it
You get hate for it
You get nothing if you…

[Hamilton and Company:]
Wait for it, wait for it, wait!

[Hamilton:]
God help and forgive me
I wanna build something that’s gonna outlive me

[Hamilton/Jefferson/Madison/Washington (Company):]
What do you want, Burr? (What do you want, Burr?)
What do you want, Burr? (What do you want, Burr?)
If you stand for nothing (What do you want, Burr?)
Burr, then what do you fall for? (What do you want?)

[Burr:]
I
I wanna be in the room where it happens
The room where it happens
I
Wanna be in the room where it happens
The room where it happens

[Burr (Company):]
I (I wanna be in the room where it happens)
Wanna be (The room where it happens)
In the room where it happens (The room where it happens)
I (I wanna be in the room where it happens)
I wanna be in the room… (The room where it happens)
Oh (The room where it happens)
Oh (I wanna be in the room where it happens)
I wanna be (Where it happens)
I wanna be (Where it happens)
I’ve got to be, I’ve got to be (I wanna be in the room where it happens)
In that room (The room where it happens)
In that big ol’ room (The room where it happens)

[Company:]
The art of the compromise

[Burr:]
Hold your nose and close your eyes

[Company:]
We want our leaders to save the day

[Burr:]
But we don’t get a say in what they trade away

[Company:]
We dream of a brand new start

[Burr:]
But we dream in the dark for the most part

[Burr and Company:]
Dark as a tomb where it happens

[Burr (Company):]
I’ve got to be in the room… (The room where it happens)
I’ve got to be…
(The room where it happens)
I’ve got to be…
(The room where it happens)
Oh, I’ve got to be in
The room where it happens… (The room where it happens)
I’ve got to be, I’ve gotta be (The room where it happens)
I’ve gotta be
In the room (I wanna be in the room where it happens)
Click-boom! (Click-boom!)

6 thoughts on “Song Lyric Sunday — Plan

  1. I’m currently listening to the book, Hamilton by Ron Chernow, which is the book that Lin Manuel based his Broadway musical on. There’s certain parts where I sing Hamilton songs in my head, and this was one of those parts. He captured the book so well! Great pick for today, and it fits the theme perfectly! Thanks for sharing!

    Like

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