This weekend, I had the EXTREME pleasure of seeing the wonderful Hamilton: An American Musical on Broadway. Listening to the original cast recording album is a truly magical and deeply spiritual experience for me, so to be there in person far surpassed Cloud Nine. It was like Cloud Ten Billion.
Because getting tickets to Hamilton is about as rare as Taylor Swift having any chill, I thought I’d share some of my feelings, thoughts, and favorite moments from both my short trip to NYC and from the performance itself. Many people who see Hamilton have written similar blog posts, but, as we’ve learned, I am an incredibly unique and special snowflake, and my voice MUST be heard, and it MUST be louder than everyone else’s, and I am never wrong, ever.
Getting the Fam on board for Ham
It’s no secret that when I love something, it’s important to me that:
A) Everyone knows I love it, passionately, and more than anyone else has loved something, ever, and
B) You love it too, but not as much as me, never as much as me.
This has typically worked for me in the past. Case in point: my parents went to a One Direction concert, without me, last August. Just two fifty-year old, childless, fully grown adults, at a One Direction concert. My impact.
Hamilton was no exception. At first, my efforts were subtle:
As my love grew, I made more in-your-face attempts at getting my #ArguablyUncultured family into it, but this continued to be way more tasking than I hoped:
However, things started looking up when I pressed Hamilton onto my dad. This works because, in my opinion, my dad thinks I am the Most Interesting and Coolest Person Who has Ever Lived, so he’s most likely to listen to me when I say something’s good shit. I love you, dad, but you are a bandwagoner till the bitter end. If something is Cool, this dude has “known about it for months,” like a disgusting hipster.
I started with just an obscene amount of Hamil-talk, meaning endless, unsolicited chatter about “Lin did this!” and “Sometimes I actually feel kinda bad for Aaron Burr!”, as if my family even knows who the F Lin-Manuel Miranda is (the creator/star of Hamilton and high-key a MacArthur Genius Grant, Tony Award, and Pulitzer Prize recipient, for the dum dums reading this). My dad claimed he’d seen the cast perform at the White House in March…
…But I’m pretty sure the deal was sealed when I sent him the original “Alexander Hamilton” performance from 2006:
I never had any expectation of seeing Hamilton on Broadway, let alone with majority of the original broadway cast performing. At times, I can be a realist to a fault, and I knew that going to NYC was a very unreal dream that existed only in my painful imagination. But, the ghost/spirit/astrological demon that’s running my life worked some voodoo magic, and my parents decided that my Hamilton game was too strong, and we planned our little trip!
Here’s the cheesy part that I obviously have to include: I am very grateful for my parents and the special things they do for me, and this is easily in the Top Five Most Special, sandwiched between #1: Taking Me to Cinque Terre, and #3: Being Real Fucking Chill About Me Wanting To Transfer Schools Mid-Semester. Insert twenty billion heart-eyes emojis here.
History is happening in Manhattan and we just happen to be in the Greatest City in the World
Knowing Lin, Leslie Odom Jr., and Phillipa Soo would all be stepping down from their roles in Hamilton on July 9th, we whipped our asses into shape and planned our 24-hour trip to NYC just about a week in advance of the show, on June 25th. I had no problem with the turn-around and was more lit than ever. I could tell you the order each song is performed in the play, backwards and forwards, and I ALMOST have Lafayette’s “Guns and Ships” rap down, so it wasn’t as if I had to get any more acquainted with the material.
Dad listened throughout the week prior to showtime, and we had some fun discourse on what he was liking. I’ve been trying to convince him for awhile that the Hamilton soundtrack is actually surprisingly enjoyable to run to (those beats get me in the BEST type of rhythm), but I think he’s still on the fence about it.
In any event, the morning of the 25th, dad and I went for a 5 AM 5k run (I crushed his time, but that’s neither here nor there), crushed some apple cider vinegar shots, had a chaotic time in O’Hare Airport traffic (s/o to mom for turning around on the highway to drop us spontaneously at the blue-line station so we could catch a train into ORD), and EVENTUALLY made our way to New York City!
This was very exciting for me especially, as I haven’t visited the city since I left in February of 2015. I was a little nervous that being in Manhattan would be sad for me, but it was really the opposite. While I love NYC, I am so happy with my life at Mizzou, and this trip just reminded me how lucky and willing I would be to move back into the city post-grad.
Once in the city, we decided to walk from our hotel in Midtown to the Stonewall Inn. It was a lovely stroll and seeing the Inn was awesome, especially considering the recent attack at Pulse in Orlando, as well as it being Pride Month/Week. The vigil was beautiful and it was very moving to see how NYC was supporting the LGBT community. We both agreed we were glad we visited.
On our walk back to the hotel, we also visited the New York Public Library, which I had never been inside before. As luck would have it, an Alexander Hamilton exhibit opened on June 24th, so we swooped in and checked it out. I’ve been reading Ron Chernow’s Hamilton biography (SO good, btw, and I am usually bored to tears by American history), so it was SUPER cool to see the actual print versions of Hamilton’s “A Farmer Refuted” essay, as well as one of the original Reynolds Pamphlets. There was also Philip Hamilton’s death announcement (RIP), and a letter Hamilton had written to his wife Eliza, and I loved reading both. I wanted to take pictures inside, but no one else was, so I got scared, but it was a very awesome historical gem. If you find yourself in New York, I HIGHLY recommend stopping in — even better, it’s 100% free! Rejoice, broke college students!
In the morning on the 26th, we went for a run back to the Stonewall Inn. It was cool to be there before the Pride Parade began, and to know how influential this very spot was in the LGBT movement. Also, it was the one-year anniversary of SCOTUS ruling gay marriage legal in all fifty states, so it was very fitting we were able to visit one last time. We took the same route back to our hotel and passed a homeless man who had his dick out in broad daylight — New York City is a place of glamour and class. It was an excellent five-mile run.
My Foodstagram is still a smashing success (in my eyes, okay?!) and this weekend we munched on some bomb snacks. Although I couldn’t get any aesthetically-pleasing photos, we had a, in my dad’s words, “dee-lish-us” lunch at Tortaria, where we split cauliflower tacos, medium-spicy guacamole, chips, and a frozen strawberry margarita. Tortaria is one of my fav East Village Eats, so when we stumbled upon it on our way to Stonewall, it was kind of a no-brainer to stop in. Low-key, this was one of the best meals of my life. Idk if it was because I ran 3.1 miles, drank a black iced coffee, and then rode on a plane in high altitude, but this meal just did it for me. I ❤ you, Mexican Food.
We then went to another fan favorite, Big Gay Ice Cream Shop. Due to Pride Week, there was a pretty long line outside, but it was completely and totally worth it. We both got Salty Pimps (aka vanilla soft-serve covered in dulce de leche, sea salt, and dipped in chocolate) and it was….so….beautiful….
For dinner, we originally planned on trying the eggplant steamed buns at Ippudo, but after realizing we probably wouldn’t be able to get a table for two on a Saturday night in New York City, we opted for the restaurant/bar inside the Paramount Hotel, across the street from the Richard Rogers theater. While the Cobb salad was just OK and the service sucked total ass, we weren’t too worked up about it because we saw this bitch from Pretty Little Liars:
Part of me wanted to say to her, “Girl, Pretty Little Liars sucks, so bad….but I loved you in Spring Breakers!!!”, but when she wasn’t playing on her phone, she was getting real intimate with her boyfriend (who didn’t LOOK like Ryan Good, Bieber’s old swag coach, but I think it may have been him, and I was kind of more excited about him than her, if I’m being honest with you), so I figured I would leave her alone. I also didn’t want to embarrass my dad by being a crazy fan. Instead, I kind of flipped my hair as I walked past them, and my boob almost fell out of my top, so I think I probably made a lasting impression. She probably said, “That girl is cool, she’s chic…not only do I want her to be my best friend, but I would also like her to play a corpse on Pretty Little Liars.”
Hamilton, aka Three Hours of Sweating
As we were enjoying the bread basket at dinner, my dad got very serious, and quietly said to me, “I hate to disappoint you, but…Renee Elise Goldsberry isn’t going to be playing Angelica Schuyler tonight.” Me, being the psycho person I am, said, loudly, “Why would you say that to me?!” To which he calmly responded, “Because she’s sitting in the booth over there eating dinner.”
Sure enough, that Tony Award-winning bitch was barely 10 feet away from us! This was especially thrilling, but also sad, as we then realized we wouldn’t get to see her belt “Satisfied,” which is one of my favorite songs from Hamilton. Once we got to the theater, we also found out that Leslie Odom Jr. wouldn’t be performing as Aaron Burr. While it’s impossible to say there were any downsides to seeing Hamilton on Broadway, this definitely hurt my heart a little bit. Okay, a lotta bit. But we (I) regrouped quickly (screamed inside then punched my inner demon in the face) and got pumped because we were IN THE ROOM WHERE IT HAPPENS.
I don’t know if it was my anxiety about Leslie and Renee not performing, or just my excitement, but it is then that I began SWEATING like a whore in church!!!!! At about 8:05 the lights went down and my heart rate was not just in the cardio zone. It was in the motherfucking PEAK. I was probably clocking in at well over 150 BPM. Honestly….this might be a sign that my heart health is a bit wacky, but the most important thing is that I got HELLA HEART EYES FOR HAMILTON.
Okay, I’ll break down the rest of the best in list form (because, listicles):
– Austin Smith was dope as Burr. Even though he’s one of my favorite characters in the production and Leslie Odom Jr. is one of my OG Smash crushes, Austin Smith crushed it. Alysha Deslorieux was also so great as Angelica! Nooo complaints about understudies, they were both very good.
– I went into CARDIAC. ARREST. when I saw Anthony Ramos, better known by my Twitter followers as “That Guy I’m In Love With From Hamilton”:
I don’t know why I am so attracted to him, but damn…he’s got The Look…and a girlfriend, who is actually also in the production, but we’re being chill about it, ok people?
– The tears were real when I saw Lin for the first time because like ??? He’s real??? Seems fake but ok
– People Who I Knew Were Talented But Had Me Like “DAMN DANIEL”: Okieriete Onaodowan, Phillipa Soo, Jasmine Cephas-Jones
– My dad’s fave character was George Washington, a valid choice
– Goes without saying probs but “Dear Theodosia” ROCKED. MY. SOUL.
– I was so vibing on Daveed Diggs as the Marquis de Lafayette because that French accent is tres hot but he was on a NEW. LEVEL. as Thomas Jefferson. I just wanted him on stage the entire time. He has so much energy and dude’s got bars
– On that note I think my favorite song was “What’d I Miss” but you bet your ass I got into my feelings for “Blow Us All Away” because #ThatGuyImObsessedWithFromHamilton
– I never paid much attention to songs from the second act before, but I was living for it all! I really enjoyed the Cabinet Battles especially, and “Burn” (which I deeply relate to because, like Eliza burning her letters from Hamilton, I delete entire text conversations between me and people who have hurt me) and “It’s Quiet Uptown” had me like
– Was also lookin like the Michael Jordan crying meme when Philip Hamilton passes away (“dies” is just too harsh for my fragile heart!!) because, #ThatGuyImObsessedWithFromHamilton
– Chills during “Satisfied,” obviously
– King George was so fun. I tend to skip his songs when casually listening but me and my dad had some good Brexit-related LOLs
– At intermission I was like “It’s so hot in here!!” and my dad was like “…No it’s not…” and at the end I was literally dripping in sweat, because, idk, my body was overheating from excitement, like a cute robot character in Wall-E
– Lin is perfect, I want to bottle his spirit and wear it around my neck, like a less scary version of a vial of blood
– I always get very freaky emo when I listen to “Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story” because it depresses the fuck outta me that Hamilton cheated on Eliza and humiliated her ass and then when he dies she turns around and builds his legacy. I’m like, homegirl, I hold grudges over boys not Snapchatting me back………….nevertheless, I get super emotional when she talks about creating the first orphanage in NYC and how she helps “raise hundreds of children…I get to see them growing up, in their eyes I see you, Alexander, I see you every time” because HER SON DIED and so now she watches other kids grow and double jeopardy because HER HUSBAND WAS AN ORPHAN….Omg I had the LC mascara tear on LOCK when they performed this
– But THEN I was crying even harder when it ended because I didn’t want it to be over and I just wanted to hit the rewind button and do it all over again!!!!!!!
Although it was a short trip, we had the most incredible time in New York City and seeing Hamilton! We spent all of Sunday (from 8 AM until 3 PM) waiting in LaGuardia Airport due to a major flight delay, but we agreed that it was completely worth it, since it meant we got to see Lin-Manuel Miranda sing “My Shot” live and in the flesh. WE DID NOT THROW AWAY OUR SHOT!!!