The Hamilton song “Dear Theodosia” was inspired by Lin-Manuel Miranda’s dog.
Hamilton, the Pulitzer Prize-winning stage musical that became one of the 2010s pop-cultural behemoths, has a ton of fantastic songs, including “Dear Theodosia,” “My Shot,” and “The Room Where It Happens.”
It’s a strange idea for a musical – a very diverse cast playing the Founding Fathers, with hip-hop and frequent rapping? And of all the Founding Fathers, Alexander Hamilton? Sure, he’s the guy on the $10 bill, but who was he, anyway?
Viewers throughout the Broadway run since 2015, and now anyone with a Disney Plus subscription, can learn, and then read Ron Chernow’s biography that inspired the musical, while possibly discovering some of the their new favorite tunes along the way.
Only one of those songs was inspired by Lin-Manuel Miranda’s dog Tobillo, however.
This interesting fact came to our attention through a BuzzFeed story.
“I wrote it the week we adopted our dog,” Miranda replied to a fan’s tweet back in 2015.
“Dear Theodosia” is sung by Aaron Burr (Leslie Odom Jr) in Act II as a letter to his daughter Theodosia, and then Hamilton (Miranda) joins him for the second verse, writing to his son Phillip. Together, the longtime rivals wish for a hopeful future for their offspring, that they will be ambitious, courageous, and audacious when necessary.
Given that it took about seven years to complete this project, it’s completely understandable that a tender, hopeful song like “Dear Theodosia” could be best written when a couple starts their family by becoming pawrents, even if they choose a unusual name – when we typed Tobillo’s name into Google Translate, it came back as “ankle.” There’s probably an interesting backstory there.
Tobillo also played a small role in helping Miranda craft Hamilton’s final song, “The World is Wide Enough,” as was related in the Robin Roberts-hosted ABC News special Hamilton: History Has Its Eyes on You (also available on Disney Plus).
Several weeks before the show opened in late January 2015, the closing moments after the duel had never quite been nailed down correctly, when on New Year’s Day Miranda woke up with his wife, son and dog all sleeping around him in the bed and realized that quiet was an element that could work well.
While our musical-loving pal PeytonReads was disappointed that Hamilton did not involve a mountain of pork meat, she did enjoy spending time watching the musical with Mom, Aunt Sara and Nana, who dropped by for a visit.
But given that it happened about 240 years ago, which when converted into dog years equals around the time of King Arthur for humans, it’s understandable that Peyton wasn’t thrilled with it. “My peoples loved it, but it was no Frozen!” she concluded.
(However, Jonathan Groff, who plays King George III, also voices Kristoff in both Frozen movies, so we’re guessing that part was tolerable for her, at least.)