It's a rare thing when something you've wanted for a long time and you've hoped would blow you away actually ends up being even better than you could have ever imagined. It's even rarer when it comes twice in a three-month period in the form of both a new relationship and Broadway's all-time most Tony-nominated show.
Since my last post, Jen and I have started navigating a new poly relationship between us (my long-term relationship with Puck continues to deepen as co-habitating partners). The tremendous NRE Jen and I are co-creating makes me joyful, excited and hopeful that we will make each other (and perhaps those close to us as well) very happy for a long time to come. Aside from a brief exploration in 2014, I haven't found myself in a new relationship since 2010 - but rather than feeling out of practice, I think that all I've learned in the past six years has better prepared me to create a more loving and sustainable romantic partnership that is integrated into my other significant relationships.
Last week Jen and I saw Hamilton together and it was probably one of the best experiences on Broadway I've ever had. It didn't top seeing Wicked from front row center but it was a close second. We were in the fifth row, just to the right of the center section in the orchestra.
We had sushi for dinner and actually got to the theater just in time because of the subway but we managed to sit down about five minutes before the lights went down. A lot of people came in late for the 7 pm show, which it pretty astonishing considering what a hot ticket this is. I've been trying to win the ticket lottery for the better part of last year - I probably entered about 10 times, which I know isn't much when there are hundreds of people entering each and every lottery.
I also approached the show cold, as in I didn't listen to the soundtrack beforehand. I saw the opening number on a TV show a while ago so I had an idea what the vibe was going to be like but otherwise I was a blank slate about the show.
The thing that impressed me most about Hamilton is the clear narrative flow despite the rapid-fire lyrics. Jen pointed out that the solos with King George ("You'll Be Back," "What Comes Next?" "I Know Him") were a welcome respite from the pace of the show and I agree. So the story is easy to follow, even if you miss a few words along the way.
One of the highlights for me was Washington's goodbye ("One Last Time"), not just because it's a stirring song but because the historical act of Washington giving up power is such an important (and somewhat overlooked) part of the history of our country. I remember my father telling me once how much he respected Washington because of that one action and how other political leaders throughout history have been unwilling to follow his example, sacrificing their benevolence in the pages of history.
I was also greatly impressed with the songwriting throughout, but especially with the songs featuring the female cast ("The Schuyler Sisters," "Helpless," "Satisfied"). The finale, "Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story" brought me to tears. I didn't expect a musical about one of our Founding Fathers to be such a moving love story.
As a thank you for the tickets, I bought Jen a hardbound copy of "Hamilton the Revolution" that has essays about the production and the entire libretto with annotations. Some of the footnotes are pretty hilarious and reveal obscure references that capture a glimpse of the creative process. We started reading it together on the trip back to Staten Island so maybe we'll pick that up next time we're listening to music together.