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Hamilton really is the fastest stage show there ever was

There are a whole lot of words in Lin-Manuel Miranda's show

Daveed Diggs as Thomas Jefferson in Hamilton
© 2020 Lin-Manuel Miranda and Nevis Productions, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

We all knew that Hamilton is fast – creator, composer and star Lin-Manuel Miranda is well known for his tricksy, lyrically feisty tunes.

But the good people over at FiveThirtyEight has crunched the numbers to work out just how fast the Pulitzer-winning show (which has just been released on Disney Plus) really is.

Writer Leah Libresco took the time to "count the words in the cast albums for "Hamilton" and several other shows that are roughly representative of the range of Broadway musicals", including Oklahoma!, Candide, Spring Awakening and Phantom.

The results are pretty incredible – apparently, if Hamilton was sung at the speed of the "average" Broadway musical, then the show, about the bickering and in-fighting between the founding fathers of the US, would last "four to six hours".

Coming in at over 20,000 words, Hamilton has twice as many per minute as its closest competitor Spring Awakening (which has a much shorter cast album run time). That's also over five times more words than Oklahoma!, Libresco states.

If you were to sing Hamilton at the speed of The Pirates of Penzance, for example, it would take a rather chunky 5 hours and 55 minutes.

Interestingly though, the show only just has one of the fastest numbers in musical theatre history, with "Company's Not Getting Married Today almost beating "Guns and Ships" in terms of number of words per second (6.3 for Hamilton, 6.2 for Company). In Company however, the performer has to say 68 words in 11 seconds, as opposed to 19 words in three seconds.

Miranda himself has previously said in an interview with Grantland that "It would have to be 12 hours long, because the amount of words on the bars when you're writing a typical song — that's maybe got ten words per line...Whereas here we can cram all this sh*t in all the margins."

The show truly does sweep through years and years of revolutionary war and political debate with a speed not even Les Mis could hope to contend with.

Watch Hamilton on Disney Plus now

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