It's 11pm / and all through the house / my husband is sleeping / the cats found their mouse (toy). Tomorrow is the day. I will finally see the Broadway musical everyone has been talking about. I'm going to see HAMILTON.
[munch scream emoji]
I have two of my best friends to thank, since they so graciously gifted us the tickets as a wedding gift last fall. (Theresa and Amanda, you rock my life.) I only started hearing about the buzz last summer, but once I gave in and listened to the official soundtrack when it debuted in September, I was hooked beyond belief. As were millions of others. There truly is a reason why it's such a phenomenon—it's just that good. (Also Lin-Manuel Miranda is a genius. But you knew that.)
Now here's what's going to happen. I'm going to bed. You are going to time travel. To the future. The future in which I have seen Hamilton on Broadway. In real life.
See you on the other side.
I'm going to try hard not to write the rest of this in Hamilton lyrics, so here goes: I'm still in a state of bewilderment. You know, that curious awareness you feel when you see a live performance, let alone the object of your obsession. Sometimes it wears off, like when the effects of your 3d glasses fade and the "mind-blowing" movie you're watching starts to look like everything else you've seen. Nope. I was reminded of my own awe with every song, every choreographed stunt, every lighting cue. Obviously, I was already very familiar with the words and the sounds, but I was not ready for the combination of live actors, the set, the donut-shaped rotating stage (it's a thing, look it up)...
I tip my hat to everyone involved in the show. Even you, security guy who told us where to line up. You all gifted us something incredible, something I hope we will see more of: a truly transcendent storytelling experience. Aaron Burr is Black. Eliza Hamilton is Asian-American. It is mostly rapped. (The hip-hop references are off the charts.) No one is wearing a white wig, save for King George, who almost steals the show. (I give that honor to Daveed Diggs, who plays both Thomas Jefferson and the Marquis de Lafayette.) Everything is sacred, even when it's irreverent. That's because it was created with so much passion, not just for the subject matter, but for people. "Why do you write like you're running out of time?" the cast asks Hamilton. A question well suited for Lin-Manuel Miranda himself, and he knows it. From what I've seen, he is constantly writing, producing, and creating, all with humanity in mind. We joke that he is a "beautiful cinnamon roll too good for this world, too pure" because of how gosh-darned earnest he is about everything. But now we have this story of America's past told by the people of America today, according to Miranda. It's being used in classrooms. (My own husband, a high school history teacher, already has students excited to answer questions based on Hamilton lyrics.) Even in the face of continued racism and bigotry in Hollywood, corporate America, etc., we have a powerful tool to defeat it. Many have written more eloquent articles on this. I'm just a drop in the bucket.
On our way home, I tried to write down all the little moments that delighted me, the things I couldn't really experience from the soundtrack recording. I found it hard to remember them all. I could remember the flush in my cheeks, though. And the spackled smile on my face throughout all of Act 1. (The smile turned into blubbery silent crying at certain points in Act 2. I brought tissues.) Here's a graphic with the few moments I did write down, in order of how devastating they were:
Key moments, weighted by devastation
This clearly doesn't do it justice. I hope the rumors about a complete filming of the show are true, if only for the spirit of inclusiveness Hamilton embodies. Everyone who would like to should have a chance to see the full version. I am so, so appreciative—dare I say, hashtag blessed. I have seen the show in its first year, in its original city, with its original cast, by the generosity of my friends. I feel like I won the lottery, even though I lost the Powerball. It poured like the dickens, but my husband and I had a wonderful day off together. I joked that it was kind of like a tiny honeymoon. (Hey, HGTV. Idea for sale: Tiny Honeymoon Hunters. Tinymoon Hunters? I'm copyrighting both.) In the end, we feel that much closer. Thank you, thank you.