About halfway through seeing the Broadway production of “Hamilton” last Thursday night, my wife saw me smiling and having a great time.
“But you hate musicals!” she teased.
“This isn’t a musical!” I declared. “It’s a history lesson with really good songs!”
Hey, I wasn’t giving in on that one. I’m not a big fan of musicals. But call “Hamilton” a musical, or a history lesson with songs, or whatever. Fact is, nearly three years after it debuted and instantly became a smash hit, and 10 months after I finally was able to get tickets to see it (seriously, I bought these babies in January), the wait was absolutely worth it.
“Hamilton” was sensational. Mind-blowing and fantastic. The performances, the lyrics, the costumes, the sheer energy of every single performer. I don’t care if it wasn’t the original cast, this group of actors and actresses absolutely put on a powerhouse show, one the likes of which I haven’t ever seen. (Here’s a clip from the show’s performance at the Tonys in 2016)
First, the song lyrics, as amazing as I thought they were, are even better watching them live, in person, sung out at full force. How Lin-Manuel Miranda came up with all of this, just boggles my mind. How he saw the story of Alexander Hamilton and imagined this entire, beautiful musical is kind of hard to fathom.
Lines like “Hey yo, I’m just like my country, I’m young, scrappy and hungry,” and “When I meet Thomas Jefferson, I’m a compel him to include women in the sequel” are just magical.
I also loved “How does a ragtag army in need of a shower/somehow defeat a global superpower.”
I had to Google a few lyrics that I missed because the speed at which the actors spit them out is 10x faster than any Aaron Sorkin script, let me tell you.
But beyond the words, the story, and the performances, are so, so good. The characters of Aaron Burr, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington and the others are so well-drawn, and easily digestible as history through entertainment, that I have no problem at all with millions of kids (and frankly, adults) using “Hamilton” as an educational tool.
The story of this brash young immigrant coming to America and helping change the world, and brush up against so many obstacles, has so many universal themes. Betrayal, triumph, infidelity… you name it, “Hamilton” covers it all.
The actors and actresses were terrific as well; the story of the Schuyler sisters is equally vital to all of the Founding Fathers stuff, and gives Alexander Hamilton even more dimension.
It was a thrilling theater experience, it really was. After hearing, and reading, so much about “Hamilton” for the past three years, to finally actually see it live let me truly understand the brilliance of the show.
If you live anywhere near a city where “Hamilton” is playing, I highly recommend it. I feel so lucky that I was able to see it.
Like so few things in life do, it lives up to the hype.
**Finally today, it was another surprisingly happy NFL Sunday for long-suffering Jets fans like me. Two wins in a row! A winning streak! A rookie quarterback who increasingly seems like the real deal in Sam Darnold.
I’m not getting crazy-excited yet, because the Jets did give up 34 points to a pretty terrible Indy team, but Darnold had a tremendously efficient game, and hey, 3-3 puts them right in the thick of things, playoff-wise, in the AFC.
The next two weeks will let me know if I can get excited for real; Jets play the Vikings and then the Bears. Win those games and my fellow Jets fanatics will be pumped.
— What a wild Sunday night game we had. Patriots-Chiefs gave us 83 points, and even though like usual I was pissed at the ending (at SOME point Tom Brady will retire and the Pats will stink again, right?) it was wildly fun to watch. If the Chiefs get ANY kind of defense, they can win the Super Bowl.
— So the L.A. Rams stayed undefeated, with the kind of win you need if you’re going to win a Super Bowl, a gritty, on-the-road, not-pretty victory, 23-20 over the desperate Denver Broncos. Not sure who the Rams will be losing to.
— Brock Osweiler is alive!!! Who knew? The left-for-dead QB who stunk it up everywhere he went in the NFL led the Miami Dolphins to a stirring OT win over the Bears. Brock, we always knew you had it in you.
— This cracked me up: Tarik Cohen of the Bears, whose surname makes him sound Jewish but he most certainly is not, was taken to a Jewish deli by the sports website Bleacher Report, and given a quick primer on Yiddish words. Stay with it until the end, absolutely made me laugh. Unrelatedly, I spent Sunday at a bat mitzvah and helped out on the chair lift as well. Always fun.