That really is the only word that I can use to describe this production. It is perfect. Every single element comes together to create a true masterpiece There is nothing extra, there are no flaws. It is simply perfect, and yet not at all Simple.
Let's back up. We purchased our Hamilton tickets in September. I almost didn't go, I wasn't going to pay too much for them. I just don't do that. Yes, I love Broadway but I'm not a fan of paying too much for tickets because if I pay less I see more. The tickets were $179 and that is reasonable. So, yes, as my sister stated "our tickets could have given birth to more tickets." Sadly they did not, but that's okay.
On Tuesday June 14, 2017 I saw Hamilton. I was slightly late to the Hamilton party. I knew it was good, I had heard of Lin Manuel Miranda, but I hadn't gotten into In The Heights, so he actually wasn't on my Radar. Memorial day weekend 2016 I took time to listen. When I listen to a new soundtrack I really try and listen straight through a couple of times. This is a thing that I have done for years, and it works for me. At first I was thinking "okay, it's good" Then act 2 started and I was SOLD!. What did I miss is my favorite number. Lin has been quoted saying "If you don't like Hip Hop, don't worry Act 2 will start soon and that is totally the Musical Theatre number." He is correct. THat is the number that drew in THIS Musical Theatre kid.
Now, I'm rambling a bit because there are spoilers to the show, so if you don't want to know about the show, you really should stop reading. I will try not to give away too much, but you do know that Burr shoots Hamilton right? okay, good.
So, here we go.
We arrived at the theatre. I was very excited to potentially see a high school friend. Mike has worked at the Rogers theatre for a few years as a bartender and he is one of the kindest people that you will every meet. If you go see Hamilton, I highly encourage you to stop at the bar and ask if Mike is working so that you can see him. Tell him you know Betsy, I can promise you will get the biggest smile. Just Like that one !
Mike Made sure that I had a beer, FYI there is a Rise Up Rye that is really good. I really enjoyed it. It was created for the Broadway Brews Project
So, went up to my seat to get settled in. My seat was probably 2 rows from the back of the house, but I never felt I was far from the stage, which is a testament to the design of the Richard Rogers Theatre. Also, to the producers of the show. If you haven't read Hamilton: The Revolution, I encourage you to do so. I personally listened to the book on Audible, it's read by Mariska Hargitay, which is never a bad thing. Anyway, in the book they discuss why the Rogers was so important to them, and it's very interesting.
So, I got to my seat. I had my beer, I had my knitting, and I had my Beads of Courage (more on that later)
I knew what to expect, and yet everything was a complete surprise. At times, I felt that I had to remind myself to breathe. The show is a true roller coaster. Keep your hands a feet inside the ride because it is NOT stopping for anyone along the way. One reason that I really wanted to see Hamilton In New York, and not wait for the tour, is because of the sound design. While I know the tour will be true to the design elements, sound is one that always concerns me. I wanted to see the show in the space where the sound was originally designed for (again, read the book, they spend a chapter on sound design, I promise it's not boring). You don't just hear the sound in this show, you feel it. You feel every bit of the bass that is pumped into that room, and it is incredible.
I was overwhelmed with the intricacy of the choreography, I was amazed at the simplicity of the Costumes, I was (and will continue to be) fascinated at how tight the show is, and if anyone wants to get me a ticket to sit on headset, that would be amazing.
Act one ended, and I wasn't breathing. I was not. I was actually holding my breath.
Things to know about Hamilton if you go. There are no balcony/mezzanine rest rooms at the Rogers. At Intermission, you have to go down three flights, and make it back to your seat. You also have to be sure you GET to your seat in time because they do NOT hold the intermission curtain.
What happened at Intermission, I waited. I was sitting apart from my sister, Mom, and sister's BFF because one of our seats was separate. The couple sitting next to me was pleasant enough, but I did find it HILARIOUS that they were googling Lin at Intermission. While I had not followed him prior to the show, I certainly know who he is no (and pretty sure the rest of the US does as well, but whatev)
Bring on Act 2:
Full disclosure, if I could go back in time to be sure that I saw Daveed Diggs play Lafayette and Jefferson I would.
But I will give James Monroe Iglehart a TON of credit. He won me over. He held his hand out to the entire theatre and said "here, you just sit right here in the palm of my hand while I own this stage" and he did. Now, I knew I would cry watching Hamilton. I cry watching a lot of theatre, so I was prepared for when I might cry. Certain things surprised me, one I will not discuss because it is something that is actually NOT on the soundtrack and therefore I do not want to give it away.
Here is what surprised me.
Yup, You heard me right. So, for those of you that have listened to the soundtrack, and read history books, you know that Hamilton was not the most faithful to his wife. This is portrayed in the number "Say No To This." I am not a person that tolerates unfaithfulness well. When I listened to Hamilton and heard that song, I hated Alexander a LOT, similar to how I hate Jamie in the Last 5 years during the song "nobody Needs to Know."
Until I saw it. I never expected to be sitting in the balcony of the Richard Rogers theatre weeping because I felt sympathy for a man preparing to cheat on his wife. I truly felt for him. I was so confused. This is the moment that stood out to me so much in the show. Maybe it was the chemistry between Javier Munoz and Alysha Deslorieux, I have no idea. But honestly, I was so confused by my own emotions.
and yes, Lin uses the line "Nobody Needs to know" in the song "Say no to this" and yes, that irony of me hating Jamie at that moment, and originally hating Hamilton at that moment, is not lost on me. (Also, I still hate Jamie, I no longer dislike Hamilton)
As I watched more of act 2 I started realizing, every single technical element could be removed from this show and it would still be perfect. The show is staged so simply when it comes to scenic and prop elements. The ensemble carries us through the show bringing on a piece of furniture here or there. You could remove every costume, every prop, every bit of lighting, and yes even the sound that I raved about. You could remove it all and this show would still be brilliant. I think that is what makes it so perfect in my eyes. The complicated simplicity of it all.
The show ended, and yet again I found that I was reminding myself to breathe. It was just so amazing. I did not want it to end, I wanted more. After sitting in my seat for 2 hours and 45 minutes, I still wanted more. I wanted a LOT more. I knew there had to be, but the house lights came up, and here I was not moving from my seat, and not wanting to come back to reality.
My coworker saw the show about a week before me and he created the #HamilCry hashtag, so, this is my #hamicry selfie
We went to the stage door, which was a touch too overwhelming for me, so I took a moment to sit and knit on a couple of hats (more on those in my next post because they are for the next show).
This show will live in history. The theatre world will never let this show be forgotten. It is amazing, it is brilliant, and I am so glad that I let these tickets sit in my possession for 10 months.