After 15 months of anticipation, I saw Hamilton on Tuesday! The traveling tour is in Houston for the next month, and my parents got tickets and were gracious to ask me and my sister, along with her husband and my mom’s friend, to be their guests.
I’ve been listening to the soundtrack for the past 22 months almost daily, and know almost every word. The only time I’ve ever sang karaoke in my life was last August when a good friend and I went to a Hamilton Karaoke event. I still maintain it was one of my highlights of 2017. I’ve heard from friends and strangers who have seen it on Broadway or in their cities, and knew it would live up to all my expectations of awesomeness. And of course, it did. But going in, I thought I had reached the pinnacle of my love for Hamilton, after listening to it, reading about it, and counting down the months, then days, then hours until I sat in that theater and heard the familiar opening notes of the first song. But I was wrong. I love it and appreciate it even more now.
Seeing Hamilton live, of course I was blown away by the music, the talent of the performers, and the choreography. But it was so much more than that. I’ve been thinking a lot over the past few days about what else makes this particular show such a masterpiece.
The Humor: There are so many genuinely funny lines and characters, and you just don’t get the full effect and timing of the humor just listening to the soundtrack. Of course, King George steals the show in his scenes and he opens the whole show talking to the audience and welcoming them to “My Show”. But Thomas Jefferson had me laughing almost every time he opened his mouth- his timing, facial expressions and the inflection in his voice just slayed me.
The Humanity: I have so much love for John Laurens after seeing Hamilton onstage. There’s one scene in the show that isn’t in the soundtrack, and it brings me to tears thinking about it (probably because it comes right after “Dear Theodosia”, which always makes me cry anyway). And also, every scene with George Washington gave me such compassion for him and the enormous weight that was on his shoulders in leading a brand new country. And the version of “Burn” in this show was the most raw and emotional performance I’ve ever seen- Eliza’s pain and anger was tangible. Every character is so dynamic, and human. There are no absolute heroes or villains in Hamilton.
The Writing: One thing I have always loved about the character of Alexander Hamilton is his obsession with writing, and how he used his writing to literally change the world. It’s just so inspiring to me. The show really emphasizes this, both in the lyrics and the actual performance. There’s a lot of letters, and writing scenes, and paper (paper flying, paper burning, paper being collected). Why do you write like you need it to survive? Because I do.
The past few days, I’ve been kind of sad- sad because I’ve never loved a piece of art like this, and I’ll never see Hamilton again for the first time. I’m going again in a few weeks with my friend, and I know it will be just as incredible. But I’ll probably be sad after it again, because who knows when the next time will be.
Lin-Manuel Miranda, as he often does, inspired me with a tweet this morning. I’m going to take his advice…let’s go.