Bumping into Jimmy Page at the Strand was cool but by no means the highlight of mine and Sam’s trip to New York. On Saturday, we saw Hamilton.
By now you likely know at least two things about Hamilton: it’s the biggest hit (and I don’t think this is an exaggeration) in Broadway history and tickets are both outlandishly expensive and incredibly difficult to get. It’d become a mini saga for us. I had a chance to see Hamilton a month after its Broadway opening but balked at the asking price ($200; oh, if only I’d known). Later that year Sam and I toyed with the idea of doing the ticket lottery – front row, $10 – before deciding against standing out on 46th Street in the dead of winter for a minuscule chance at getting in (we threw away our shot, as it were). We thought we’d succeeded through Ticketmaster last January, only to have our seats swiped out from under us. In June, finally, we pulled it off. We didn’t pay nearly as much as you might assume, but they were still comfortably the most expensive tickets we’ve ever bought.
Also: we ordered them in June, which means we had to wait for it (as it were) for almost a year. And after that build-up…I won’t actually say much about the show, since I know not many of you will have seen it yet. (I’d been in Hamilton blackout since January, when I stopped listening to both the cast recording and The Hamilton Mixtape.) I will, however, say this: as excited as we were, Hamilton blew our expectations away, and it blew them away almost immediately. “My Shot,” which is the second song in the show, is also one of my least-favourites; the line “I’m just like my country, I’m young, scrappy, and hungry” makes me cringe. When it ended I burst into laughter, uttered a four-letter epithet, and teared up. It was simply overwhelming, and both of us were done for. And that’s how I reacted to a song I didn’t like. You should’ve seen me during “The Room Where it Happened.”
I’ve long maintained that Hamilton might actually be underrated: it’s become such a cultural juggernaut that it’s easy to forget it won the Pulitzer. Seeing the show reinforced that idea. When it was over Sam and I had two immediate reactions. The first was to burst into giggles before wandering, dazed, from the Richard Rogers Theatre. The second was to look at one another and say, “Now what?” Not as in “what do we want to do with the rest of our night?” but “what do we want to do with the rest of our lives?” Only Tommy‘s ever had a similar impact. And that, coming from me, is the ultimate compliment.