rosefox: Me laughing joyfully. (joyous)
Rose Fox ([personal profile] rosefox) wrote2015-09-26 04:17 am

"We'll tell the story of tonight"

A couple of weeks ago I went to see Hamilton with [personal profile] regyt and [personal profile] novalis. It was extraordinary. And the ways that it was extraordinary were themselves extraordinary.

My thoughts on the show will necessarily be a bit disjointed because the show itself is made up of so many things. As one writeup noted, it's got about 150% more songs than your typical musical. The sheer volume of musical numbers, and musical styles, is overwhelming. And every single thing the show does, it does well.

But it has to, because it is the embodiment of needing to be twice as good to get half as far.

Even before we reached the theme of Hamilton writing like he's running out of time, I wondered whether Lin-Manuel Miranda was pouring all these songs into one show because he thought it was his last chance, or because he simply has an inexhaustible fount of songs in him. But it's so clearly not his last chance, and he himself is not writing like he's running out of time. He's writing like he has to make up for lost and stolen time. He's writing for everyone whose voice was (and is) suppressed, and filling the stage with people of color in recognition of every brilliant talent who was (and is) shut out of conventional Broadway casting calls.

It also gives a significant amount of time to Eliza Hamilton's side of things. The show ends with her narrating the fifty years she spent actively telling and preserving her husband's story and other stories, in addition to founding an orphanage and campaigning against slavery. She declares "I put myself back in the narrative" and asks who will tell her story. Hamilton's death doesn't end the show. Eliza's does, literally--her last gasp is the last sound before the lights go out. This is an unsubtle glove in the face of everyone who's ever thought that only men's stories were important enough to make musicals out of.

I tweeted about it somewhat. And I'm annotating the hell out of it on Genius. And I really really want to sit down and talk with people about it. And I want to see it again. I'm almost never enthralled by live theater; the last show that left me feeling like this was Rent. (Lin-Manuel Miranda has written about how much Rent meant to him. I'm not surprised.) There's some part of me that wants to be at the ticket lottery every day until I get to go again. And then again.

Hamilton had actual tears running down my face. That's only happened to at two other shows: Rent and Cabaret. But Rent and Cabaret are basically designed to emotionally destroy you (or me, anyway). Hamilton isn't. It's the full story of a person's life, with all its ups and downs and failures and successes and sorrows and joys. It's the whole thing. I left the theater feeling not crushed but quietly uplifted.

You can listen to the entire cast recording here. It's tremendous, even without the visual dimension. Set aside a couple of hours and some tissues for it. And if you get a chance to go, go.

(If you do see it in person, a tip: The intermission lines for the bathrooms are impossible. Grab your ticket stub, run next door to the Marriott, go up the escalator one flight, and use the bathrooms there. No lines! A moment of peace and quiet! You'll be back in your seat just before the end of intermission.)
metaphortunate: (Default)

[personal profile] metaphortunate 2015-09-29 05:19 am (UTC)(link)
I really, really, really hope they tour. It seems like they will, right? Eventually?

[identity profile] 2015-09-26 01:28 pm (UTC)(link)
Hmmm! I will be in NY late next month, and I usually try to catch a show or two (depending on ticket cost!)

[identity profile] 2015-09-28 09:13 pm (UTC)(link)
Cool! Thanks.
ivy: (grey hand-drawn crow)

[personal profile] ivy 2015-09-27 02:34 pm (UTC)(link)
This sounds brilliant; thank you for the recommendation!

[identity profile] 2015-09-27 03:13 pm (UTC)(link)
Thank you so much for sharing this.

I've wanted to go see Hamilton and talked about it with friends, but haven't actually made the pilgrimage. Yesterday I was listening to some of the soundtrack while I was cleaning, and I ran out of cleaning before I ran out of songs. My bathroom is SPARKLING.

[identity profile] 2015-09-27 03:18 pm (UTC)(link)
I'm sure it is.
Love that Genius website. You can really go down the rabbit hole of analysis there!

[identity profile] 2015-09-28 02:26 pm (UTC)(link)
I've been listening to the cast recording constantly. The more I think about it, the more likely it is I'm asking my Dad for tickets for Christmas.
Edited 2015-09-28 14:27 (UTC)

[identity profile] 2015-09-28 10:10 pm (UTC)(link)
Oh my yes.

That's a case where I'd wait to book my travel around the tickets rather than try to get tickets for a specific date.


[identity profile] 2016-01-28 10:04 pm (UTC)(link)
User [ profile] nwhyte referenced to your post from Hamilton ( saying: [...] Encouraged by here [...]