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!