I love experiences more than I love tangible things. I like photographs that remind me of the experiences. My mission is to see and experience as much as possible and to expose my daughter a variety of experiences ranging from the arts to the National Parks. Seeing new things is a love that we share.
If you had told me five years ago that I would spend a good chunk of money going to a Broadway show, I would have likely shrugged. Guilty pleasure. However, if you had told me that I’d spend a good chunk of money going to a hip hop Broadway musical about the guy on the $10 bill, I’d likely have laughed. Hip hop is not my genre and I enjoy American history, but Alexander Hamilton is not a guy I recall learning a whole lot about…until 2015.
In the fall of that year, I learned of ‘Hamilton”, a new show at the Richard Rodgers theatre in New York. I listened to the soundtrack on Spotify and I was hooked. I shared it with my then 12-year old. She was also hooked and quickly became obsessed. Over the course of the last 4 years, we have become tremendous fans of “Hamilton: An American Musical.”
We were unable to see the production when we were in New York last summer, but the touring company has taken New Orleans hostage for the entire month of March. We were there, first in line at the Saenger on Sunday evening.
The music from ‘Hamilton” is a mixture of rapid-fire rap, soulful R&B and traditional Broadway fare. The delivery of each songs is intense and not once during the nearly three-hour production did boredom enter. It’s fast paced, and follows the story of orphan immigrant Alexander Hamilton rising through the ranks in New York City to become a leader in the American Revolution, George Washington’s chief staff aide, founder of the national bank, the New York Post and the Coast Guard.
I know you are likely thinking that it’s just another “rags to riches” tale, but it’s so much more. I have to emphasize the music again. It is phenomenal. The lyrics are astounding, relatable and quotable. It is brilliantly written, by an absolute genius, Lin-Manuel Miranda, son of Puerto Rican immigrants.
Miranda read American historian Ron Chernow’s biography on Alexander Hamilton and the rest is history. Chernow assisted Miranda in making sure that the historical facts were correct and the rest is pop culture history. To be able to write the lyrics to a hip hop musical based on a biography is proof of Miranda’s crazy genius! No biography has ever sparked my creativity!
So, yes. It really was worth the money and the time spent. I had the tickets for two months before mentioning them to Tatum, because I care about her academics. Knowledge of tickets would have caused her to obsess more than usual over the characters, music and story line and ignore her responsibilities. When I finally did tell her, a literal countdown, in the form of an iPhone app began.
The days ticked on by and we were finally in the theatre for the long-awaited, highly anticipated show. We were the first in the merch line to get that overpriced tee that she had to add to her collection of Broadway tees.
Three hours in the theatre flew by as we watched Hamilton’s complex relationships depicted on the stage. We laughed at King George as he pranced and scatted, promising to “send a fully armed battalion” to remind the colonies of his “love”. We applauded the over the top portrayal of Thomas Jefferson returning from France in purple velvet garb. When Eliza Hamilton burned the letters that her unfaithful husband had written, we cried. When she decided to put herself “back in the narrative” of his life and preserve his legacy, we cheered.
We got home from our adventure at 1:48 a.m. Monday. When that 5:30 alarm sounded, it was a struggle. Tatum and I reminded each other that if Alexander Hamilton could write 51 essays for The Federalist Papers in 6 months, we could likely survive on the bare minimum amount of sleep for one day.
We survived and are still talking about our most recent adventure with each other and anyone who will listen. I foresee more experiences for us in the future, because, as Hamilton proclaimed from the stage, “There’s a million things we haven’t done!”
Weekly columnist. Feature Writer.