Hamilton: An American Musical

I never win anything – ever. I have absolutely no luck, and the masters of the universe are completely and wholly against me. Oh God, I sound paranoid like Trump! Anyway, I don’t win anything, so imagine my surprise to receive two frantic texts (which I initially didn’t see) and then a call (which I missed) from my husband. Because I have not completed my goal of world domination through writing, I, unfortunately, must work and put up with the man wanting more, more, and more done more efficiently. So, as often is the case, I was in a meeting that tends to accomplish none of those things and could not respond to my husband’s calls.

I assumed our apartment had flooded, had lost heat, or even worse than that someone died. Yes, someone died – as all of those things would be more likely than winning Hamilton tickets. When I finally returned his call, I was told he had good news. I was interrupted in my quest to complete more, more, and more at work – so I was slightly annoyed, but then I thought maybe he received a big raise and I wouldn’t have to work anymore! Hey, we all have dreams.

While I still have to earn my own coins, the news was great –  we won two tickets to see Hamilton through a lottery.  My husband who is always the optimist apparently had been putting our names in this lottery for months – that’s dedication!

Now I have a confession to make. I assumed it would be good, but not that good. All of the hype and praise, eh. I am kind of a skeptic. Nothing is that wonderful. I wanted to see it, but not enough to pay hundreds if not thousands of dollars for tickets and certainly not enough to be dedicated enough to put my name in a lottery for several months.

So going back to how I don’t win, the universe also loves to prove me wrong. The show began, and as the lights came on, the countdown began for how long it took to convert me to fandom. 5, 4, 3,2…and by 1 I was hooked. Total goner – fixated and in love.

I should have known I would not stand a chance. I love History and Politics, a good song, and fantastic choreography – it has all of that and more.

Quite simply, Hamilton felt American to me. Now after this election, I am becoming acutely aware that there are very different ideas out there about the notion of “being American” and what is “American.” As is well known, the cast is incredibly diverse with actors of color playing roles that, of course, would be impossible for them to play – or be – at the time of the Revolution. As a black gay man in the front row of this show, in a time where this is possible, it speaks to our country’s progress and continuing striving towards justice and equality.

That Lin-Manuel Miranda made this choice, told this story this way, feels audacious. I would be shocked if no one told him when the concept of this story entered his mind that, you can’t tell this story this well. A black man playing George Washington for instance. I am sure some the idea was totally ludicrous. That he did this is bold to me and that too feels American – having a bold idea and being brave.

Which reminds me, the America I know and learned about through history is best when it’s bold and brave – not fearful, retreating, and building walls to keep others out and then claiming they will make that same group of people they’ve disparaged pay for it.

So this is a good time as any to point out that Alexander Hamilton was a bastard immigrant, as we are reminded throughout the show. An ambitious immigrant striving for better – it felt very American and timely considering our current political climate.

Also, the politics portrayed in the show reminded me that for all the troubles of today, not much has changed. American politics have always been messy and tough with competing sides duking it out. Although, the Founders had a seriousness about them that is lacking with Trump that is beyond worrisome, but I am going to ignore that for ONE day remain hopeful because Hamilton made me feel that way.

I don’t want to give anything away for folks who have not seen it so I will stop there with any storyline points, but it’s great. Its fun, it’s educational, it’s aspirational, it’s hip. Did I just type hip? I did – which would prove that I am a thirty-something who suddenly no longer hip. I don’t know what happened!

But it is a great show and deserves all the praise it has received. You will walk out feeling hopeful and uplifted. It’s tons of fun. Borrow, beg, steal, sell an unliked relative up river, but go see this show! Hamilton: An American Musical was great!

Trump Meets the Press

 

The character of Billy Flynn from the musical Chicago famously sings, “Razzle dazzle ’em and they’ll never catch wise!” Today, the President-elect did his best Billy Flynn, not only razzle-dazzling, but as Billy sings during his number – the President-elect gave us the “old film flam flummox, fool and fracture ’em” as well.

The President-elect met the press today and what we learned is that the President-elect will just do what he wants and create truth as he breathes. He scolded, dismissed, grimaced, and evaded. We had tap dancing and two stepping and more willful suspension of disbelief.

Let’s relive the razzle dazzle, in no particular order.

We had adjectives like tremendous and great and beautiful and massive.

We relived the election – again – and were informed of the “movement” and his huge election win (although that didn’t happen – it wasn’t huge).

He used big words like crap.

We had props. Yes, because no one knows what paper looks like, or to show us how HUGE his business is, we had lots and lots of files on a table – all of which he has signed apparently. We were told he was turning over his business to his sons – so it must be true. Never mind that this does not solve the ethical challenges. I mean, in theory, he will speak to his children about the business, right?

We had a special guest star in attorney Ms. Dillion and were told that conflict of interest laws don’t apply to the President or Vice-President. She explained all the reasons why the President-elect can’t untangle himself from his businesses and that everything will be fine and because Ms. Dillion says it is so – it surely must be fine.

People and presumably some members of the press clapped like grade schoolers when she finished.

We learned we would repeal and replace Obamacare all at the same time.

We learned that 96 million people- NINETY-SIX – who want jobs and they couldn’t get them, and we were told that is the real number and he is going to fix that. And so it must be true.

Surprisingly he does accept the findings that Russia did hack the DNC, but because the President-elect is a prepubescent boy, he quickly informed us that other countries do it too! I always forget he is a silly boy. When Pussygate broke, Melania Trump was dragged out in front of the press and did an interview with Anderson Cooper telling him that the President-elect was “egged on” by Billy Bush and that his own description of what would be defined as sexual assault was just “locker room talk.” Sheesh, I thought boys slapped each other with towels in the locker room. I had no idea they were so rapey.

Yes, the President-elect was reacquainted with the media today, and he seemed to like it as much as a child being forced to eat his vegetables. While it appears the President-elect will only be providing the American people with seasonal press conferences, he has given a preview of what we can expect when is President – more ego, more evasion, anger, stream of conscious rambling, petulance – and just a general mess.

God help us.