"Talk less. Smile more. Don't let them know what you're against or what you're for."
— Aaron Burr ("Aaron Burr, Sir")

Aaron Burr is a character in the musical Hamilton. He is one of the main antagonists of the musical and is portrayed by Leslie Odom, Jr.

Act One

Aaron Burr's first appearance is at the beginning of Act One when he is rapping about Alexander Hamilton's early childhood life. As 19-year-old Alexander Hamilton arrives in New York seeking advice on how to graduate from college, since Burr himself had done so in a span of two years, Burr replies with the witty response, "Talk less; smile more," which is repeated multiple times throughout the musical ("Aaron Burr, Sir"). Soon thereafter Burr and Hamilton become close-knit allies in part with the American Revolution.

As a large supporter of the American Revolution, Aaron Burr, Hamilton, and their allies, including John Laurens, Hercules Mulligan, and Marquis de Lafayette, join the Continental Army in order to contribute to the war against the British.
Aaron Burr1

Portrait of Senator Aaron Burr

In the winter ball of 1780 ("A Winter's Ball"), the latter attend a ball under the name of Philip Schuyler, a wealthy member of the Continental Congress, wherein the three Schuyler sisters, Angelica, Elizabeth, and Peggy Schuyler are in attendance. Alexander Hamilton captures the heart of Elizabeth Schuyler and eventually marries her. Burr offers his congratulations to the couple, and admits to Hamilton that he is having a private affair with the wife of British officer, though he cannot do so in terms of the Revolution's opposition against the British ("The Story of Tonight (Reprise)"), but Burr, in turn, historically known for being patient and waiting for events to happen, replies that he won't make decisions and will wait for whatever is to come to happen beforehand ("Wait For It").

Act Two

During the Compromise of 1790, Hamilton discusses his financial plan with Thomas Jefferson and James Madison; after they come to an agreement, Hamilton's envisioned plan is put into action. Burr is envious of Hamilton's now extreme power in the government ("The Room Where It Happens"). In an attempt to gain his own political power, Burr switches parties and becomes a Democratic-Republican, subsequently winning over the seat of Hamilton's father-in-law, Philip Schuyler, in the Senate, which angers Hamilton further ("Schuyler Defeated").

Yet again, Washington sided with Hamilton in another cabinet meeting. Burr, along with Jefferson and Madison, realize this alliance and wonder how nice it must be to always have George Washington on your side; they then contemplate to ruin Hamilton's political reputation ("Washington On Your Side").

Jefferson, Madison, and Burr find transactions of Hamilton's blackmail with James Reynolds during his scandal; however, they accuse him of stealing money from the government. Hamilton tells them he was not stealing money and reveals to them his affair: Burr says he will not tell the public about it, despite Hamilton not trusting him ("We Know").

During the Election of 1800, Adams is defeated and Jefferson and Burr are tied for the presidency. Hamilton convinced that Burr is a "dangerous disgrace" to the government and could not be trusted, endorses Jefferson in an attempt to avoid Burr's election, in which he succeeds ("The Election of 1800"). Enraged, Burr writes to Hamilton and eventually challenges him to a duel ("Your Obedient Servant").

The duel takes place in Weehawken, New Jersey; and Burr faces Hamilton, intending his death. Hamilton intended to "throw away his shot", but the shot provoked Burr, who fired and mortally wounded Hamilton in the side. Though Burr was the successor, he realized that he would be forever known as the rival who shot Alexander Hamilton ("The World Was Wide Enough").


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Cast changes

Vassar Workshop



First U.S. Tour

West End


  • Burr's father, Aaron Burr Sr., was a President of the College of New Jersey in Newark before he passed, the school which eventually became Princeton University. However, it wasn't just his familial connections that got him admitted at the age of 13, Aaron Jr. was considered brilliant. Following his graduation at 16, he studied theology before going to the Litchfield Law School in Connecticut at age 19, a school at which his brother in-law was President. He put his law studies at Litchfield on hold to join the Continental Army; the show implies that he immediately joined the revolution after Princeton (Aaron Burr, Sir).
  • Despite being most famous for killing Alexander Hamilton, Aaron Burr was a bona fide hero of the American Revolution. He served under Benedict Arnold in the ill-fated Invasion of Quebec, and was said to have recovered General Montgomery's body from the battlefield (Right Hand Man). Burr was promoted to Washington's staff but chose to fight instead, distinguishing himself during the British landing at Kip's Bay. Washington notably did not recognize Burr's heroics, widening the rift initially created by Burr by leaving Washington's staff. Burr was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel (The Story of Tonight (Reprise)) where he continued to distinguish himself as the leader of Colonel Malcolm's "Additional Regiment" which specialized in surgical nighttime attacks. However, the regiment was torn apart during the Battle of Monmouth (Stay Alive), ending Burr's rise in the military.
  • Not mentioned in the musical, Burr was eventually charged with treason but acquitted due to lack of evidence.
  • Burr has nineteen more lines than Hamilton.
  • He is a supporting protagonist in Act One, and later the ultimate antagonist at the end of Act Two.
  • Historical fact! - When Burr got a brain freeze he thought he was going to die
  • Not mentioned in the musical, Burr was actually Maria Reynolds's lawyer.


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