A Review of Hamilton
Last Thanksgiving (2016) my oldest daughter and her husband came down from school to spend the holidays with us. With her, she brought the soundtrack for a new Broadway Musical that she had recently become obsessed with, called “Hamilton”. I had never heard of this show before and she told me how it was the story of one of our country’s founding father, Alexander Hamilton. She pulled up a YouTube video of one of the numbers and let’s just say it didn’t exactly look like the Alexander Hamilton I’d read about in history class. Nevertheless, it was intriguing. The music was unlike any other Broadway music I’d ever heard, with a modern R&B style to it. The cast was very racially diverse which also made it interesting and unique. [Come to find out, this Broadway musical was up for several Tony awards! All of the sudden, I started to see Hamilton everywhere I turned: on the book and music shelves at the store, on the internet, on the award’s shows. Funny how that happens!]
Maurina left a copy of the soundtrack (the clean version) with my younger daughter, Aubrey. It wasn’t long before Aubrey also became obsessed with Hamilton, sharing it with her friends as well. It was all I heard about, both from Maurina and Aubrey. I started listening to the soundtrack- mostly by default because my radio is always commandeered by my children once they get in the car. The music was catchy, though, and I didn’t mind when she took control of the music when she was playing Hamilton.
For months, Aubrey dreamed of the idea of going to see Hamilton on Broadway. Both girls started a savings fund to achieve their goal of seeing the show, but their dreams were crushed when they went to look up the show and discovered that tickets started at $500 a piece. Still, they were determined to get there “someday”.
Sometime around March of last year, the girls discovered that Hamilton was touring and that there was a cast coming here to Southern California at the Pantages theatre later in the year. That is when the constant nagging began; for weeks Aubrey begged me to buy tickets. Tickets were still fairly expensive and at $300+ a ticket, it was out of my budget to take her. I told her that if she saved her money for her own ticket, I would buy mine and take her there.
At the end of April, my good friend (whose daughter is one of Aubrey’s best friends) called me up.
“Cassandra, you have to jump on your computer; Hamilton tickets went on sale today for The Pantages Theatre and they are a really good deal, but they are going fast!”
I quickly got on my computer and the two of us navigated a search to find tickets to the show. Both of our girls had birthdays coming up, but we’d just bought them tickets to their very first concert to see Shawn Mendes, so we decided to buy the tickets and hold on to them for Christmas. Plus, added bonus, Maurina and Cam were scheduled to spend Christmas with our family, and this would be the PERFECT gift for them as well!! Wasting no time, we purchased our tickets. Even as we were figuring out which seats to purchase, tickets were disappearing from the page. We were lucky enough to get good seats altogether for a great price…and then we had to keep this secret to ourselves for EIGHT. WHOLE. MONTHS.
It was the hardest secret I’ve had to keep, and the closer Christmas got, the harder it was to contain my excitement. By Christmas morning I was about to burst! Throughout the year, Aubrey continued to plead her case with me on how we could obtain Hamilton tickets, but each time, I shrugged her off and told her that the tickets were simply too expensive. In phone conversations, Maurina had also continued to express her desire to one day see Hamilton. She frequently looked up ticket prices only to be discouraged at the outrageous cost. Imagine the look of sheer surprise on their faces when they opened their gift on Christmas morning to find a Hamilton t-shirt and a ticket to the show! It was priceless!
The show that we selected was set for the 29th of December, just a few days after Christmas. It was the second to last day that the show would be running at the Pantages theatre. They anxiously awaited our day out; I was relieved to finally let this big secret out and share the excitement!
This was my first time inside the Pantages Theatre and I must say that it was gorgeous inside. From the stage to the ceiling to the walls, it was beautiful and ornate. I was in awe of the beauty of the theatre.
The show itself did not disappoint. It was AMAZING! The set, the choreography, the music, the cast, even the lighting….all of it was on point. Though it wasn’t the original cast, they were selected by the writer of the play himself, Manuel Lin Miranda (this is what I’m told by Maurina, who seems to know everything there is to know about Hamilton!) The cast was brilliant. It was hard to choose a favorite as they each truly adopted their character on stage. The King of England had everyone cracking up with his comedic tantrum about the revolution, while Thomas Jefferson was outgoing and witty and stole the show. I learned a lot about the story of Alexander Hamilton and the role he played as a founding father of our country, though he has hardly been mentioned in history because of his affair with another woman. He contributed a lot to our country’s history and his story was one of bravery, of inspiration, of heartbreak and tragedy. Because my girls have lived and breathed Hamilton everyday over the past year, they know a lot more than I do and have learned a considerable amount of American History because of it.
I had learned from other friends (who had gone to see the show before us) that the cast often makes an appearance after the show, just outside the cast door on the side of the theatre building. Not too many people knew about this little secret so after the show, we made our way to the side of the building where we waited for the cast members to come out. They didn’t all make an appearance; we hit the matinee and there was an evening show that they were preparing for. But several characters made their way out to the crowd and the girls were able to get their playbills signed and pictures taken. They made conversation with the girls as they signed which made it very personal and memorable for them.
It was such a memorable evening for all of us! I am learning that these gifts are the best of all; gifts that give us joyful memories for years to come. I am so grateful that I was able to spend this time with my girls, and with our good friends as well. It was a night we will always remember!
If you haven’t heard the Hamilton soundtrack yet, give it a try! Not only it is catchy and awesome to listen to, but you learn a little bit about history, too! I totally want to go and read some books about Hamilton now; I’ve always loved history, especially American History!
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