Back in March, as I packed up my life yet again for another move across the country, I was hearing rumblings about a new musical making a splash off Broadway. Something called Hamilton? Something about American History by the guy who did In The Heights?
For a couple weeks, I tried to snag a ticket through the show lottery on the TodayTix app but never came up a winner. (That app, btw, is a must if you’re in NYC and a theater nerd!) No matter, I thought. It’d be nice to get in, but then again, it’s just a show.
Famous. Last. Words.
In the months since, Hamilton has taken the theater world (really, just the world) by storm, moving to Broadway with a whopping $27 million in ticket pre-sales and rave (literally!) reviews across the board, including from the New York Times. Everyone is going to see this show, from an actual president (who was among the first to glimpse the future at this stunning 2009 White House performance) to pop royalty to thousands of NYC high school students.
A month ago, the cast recording was released and with so much hype, I had to check it out. No joke, I have been listening to it ever since.
Creator Lin-Manuel Miranda is an actual genius, and not just because he was awarded a MacArthur Foundation Genius grant recently or because he’s an Oscar away from an EGOT (which he’ll probably win in 2017). He is a lyrical wunderkind (guy is 35 years old!). He’s crafted a show that follows perhaps the most under-rated founding father over decades, weaving into rap battles and R&B ballads actual text from historical speeches and correspondences alongside a razor sharp wit and timely cultural references. And I’m getting all this from just the cast recording – I haven’t even seen the show.
My obsession with the record – which I may or may not be listening to as I type – has been paralleled only by the unabashed fan-girling I’ve indulged in on all things Hamilton since getting hooked. Proof:
- geeking out over #Ham4Ham videos. The production’s daily ticket lottery, where tickets are just $10 for the winner, have been christened with the hashtag. And to show their appreciation for the fans flocking to the drawings, cast members have started showing up and performing whatever floats their boat. Some are better than others.
- following Miranda on Facebook and Twitter and reading posts voraciously, to the point that I missed my stop for work.
- recognizing that Humans of New York’s current profile photo is Miranda and his family and subsequently finding my way through a link chain to the New York Times coverage of his wedding. Swoon.
- discovering that Miranda wrote this opening number to the 2013 Tonys (which won him his Emmy) that had me in tears that night (skip to 5:25) and still gives me chills.
Shall I go on?
It all became too much to bear, this intense Hamilton FOMO. I’d been poking around for tickets to the show for awhile, but with performances through January already sold out and tickets in February and March reselling for as much as $1,400, I figured a seat in that house was far outside my budget.
But when an ad for a Southwest sale popped up in my web browsing just a day or two after pay day, I clicked through to check out flights to New York. On a total whim, I snagged a super cheap ticket for March 2016. Why not escape to a long weekend in the city? I’ve been longing for one and will be long overdue by then. Even if I don’t get to the show, I’m sure I’ll have no problem filling four days in the greatest city in the world.
With flight secured, I set about checking out the corresponding shows. There had to be something I could afford, something for less than…$500? Maybe? That preferably isn’t in an obstructed view seat?
Wonder of wonders, there it was: a single seat in the orchestra, at the end of row F. March 17, 2016. And for a price I could sleep at night for paying. A week later, this little baby arrived in my mailbox. And yes, I squeeeeeeed with delight.
My infatuation and admiration for this production and its creator is the culmination of so many factors, both to do with the show itself and my own perspective and experiences – another post entirely. For now, I’ll consider my fan-girl status secured. All those other layers of meaning, the sentimentality of a theater geek slash aspiring writer? I’ll get to all that sometime, I’m sure. Perhaps on March 18.