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Student Blog: My Experience with HAMILTON

The musical Hamilton has captured the hearts of thousands worldwide, and I must admit it's captured mine as well.

Student Blog: My Experience with HAMILTON

I discovered the musical Hamilton through a "YouTube" video in 2017 and have been smitten with it ever since. When I found out the show was coming to Kansas City in June of 2019 I was ecstatic. Despite my enthusiasm, I did not have the money to buy a ticket and being only fifteen at the time, I could not take myself. I had mentioned it to my family numerous times, but the response was usually "I don't know who would take you" or "Some of those tickets are $800, you're crazy." My family does not care for theatre in the same way I do, and the idea of paying a few hundred dollars to see a show they did not care about was not overly appealing. Begrudgingly I had made "peace" with the fact I would not be able to see my favorite musical in person, or if I did it would not be anytime soon. I had it set in my mind that this opportunity would never be possible and it saddened me greatly, until an evening in 2018.

The day I found out I was going to see Hamilton was one of the happiest days of my life. I remember practically every detail of the situation, how could I not? It was a Wednesday in December, and my play practice for Mary Poppins had just finished. After a few hours of trying to dance my heart out, act, and sing, I was utterly exhausted. I got into the car with my fellow actor, Hamilton enthusiast, and close friend Elisabeth. As soon as the car door shut I began shouting my frustrations that had plagued my mind during practice. Elisabeth, being a good friend, took me to Starbucks in an effort to make me feel better. We got our drinks and set off to my grandpa's assisted living facility to have family dinner. Of course, no car ride is complete without the proper music, so she played Hamilton. I began to feel a little better but hearing the soundtrack playing stung a little knowing that I still could not see the show in person. The song "The Room Where It Happens" was playing, and I mentioned that I needed to learn the rest of the words due to confusion caused by the fast beat and overlapping voices. Elisabeth looked at me with a smile and said "You need to learn them for when we see it in June." I was frozen. She began laughing as I stared at her in shock. I thought it was a joke that went over my head or a simple misunderstanding. "Are you serious?" I asked. She laughed and explained that her aunt had purchased tickets for her and her three siblings to see the show. Her oldest brother was getting married the month prior to the show and did not wish to see the show without his new wife. Tears began to fill my eyes as she told me every detail including the fact that I would be sitting in orchestra seats just a few rows from the front of the stage. She told me not to cry then I explained to her how I never thought it possible to see this show and that the chance to do so was truly life-changing.

The genius of musical writer Lin-Manuel Miranda goes above and beyond in Hamilton. Grammy and Tony award-winning artist Lin-Manuel Miranda is no stranger when it comes to writing hit songs. His positive mindset and incredible songs were something I deeply admired, and the thought of seeing his creation come to life on stage was thrilling. The time and artistry that goes into creating a hip-hop musical that piqued the interest of non-theatre people, youth, and even teachers is crazy. Miranda's work successfully captures the audience's attention from the moment Aaron Burr walks on stage to the minute the lights go down with Eliza Hamilton concluding the show. Hamilton brings history to life, it teaches a lesson forgotten by many, in a perspective, one might not consider. During the show the elements of classic theatre, hip-hop, and rap all tie into each other beautifully. The aspects of modern music with American history have drawn in such a diverse crowd. Older audiences are finding that rap isn't so bad after all, and younger audiences are finding out that learning history doesn't have to be "boring." The genius of choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler is also extremely prevalent in this musical. During the 2016 Tony Awards Blankenbuehler made the decision to not use guns in their performance of "Yorktown (The World Turned Upside Down)." This decision was made out of respect for the victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting that resulted in 49 fatalities, 58 injuries, and was recorded as the second-largest mass shooting in American history. This decision showed a chilling and emotional display of cast members freezing with imaginary guns as the music reached a standstill, resulting in thunderous applause. This was not the only bold move seen in Hamilton, the Founding Fathers in the show are all of the mixed races. Washington, Adams, and Jefferson are all played by black men, and Miranda, who is Puerto Rican plays, Hamilton. Miranda even stated in an interview that he would completely be for women in the roles that men traditionally play. "So I'm totally open to women playing founding fathers once this goes into the world" (Miranda).

Watching Hamilton on stage was an unmatched experience and it lit a spark in me. When I arrived at the music hall and received my Playbill, I was ecstatic, to say the least. As we found our seats I was trying to soak it all in as I stared at the stunning stage before me. The lights dimmed and Aaron Burr sauntered onto the stage and began singing. My friend Elisabeth began laughing at me as I started to cry ten seconds into the show's first song, stunned I laughed and said "I just never thought I'd get to see this." I watched the music swell, the actors crying with pain and joy, the dancers telling the story with every move they made-this kind of thing felt like home. At that point, I fully realized theatre is where I belonged. I made a choice that day that this was my true passion and I had to follow it. That choice has been one of the best I've ever made, and I've had so much fun navigating myself in this field of work.

Hamilton will always have a special place in my heart; the opportunity to receive a ticket was such a memorable moment, the music alone is remarkable both in performance and singing, and after seeing it I knew I had to follow my dreams of a career in theatre. I would not change viewing Hamilton for anything and would give almost anything to experience it for the first time again. It was so special and I will never forget it. As I grow in my education and pursue a theatre career, I will always look back at how Hamilton was my final push.

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Hello! My name is Alex Leigh, and I am ecstatic to be student blogging for BroadwayWorld. I enjoy all aspects of theatre and production. I've had the experience so far to be an actor and stage ... (read more about this author)

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