Read It and Weep: ‘Hamilton’

golden ticketLast night I saw Hamilton, which has been my biggest dream for more than a year. Every day I have participated in the Hamilton lottery, and every day I have lost to people I always imagine participated on a whim and felt ambivalent about winning. Every day I have struggled womanfully to not grow bitter about this fact, and every day I have failed. During this time, friends sometimes have stumbled onto tickets and returned from what was obviously the best live theatrical experience of their life, saying things like “Gee, I wasn’t even that interested in going but it was amazing!”

This has not helped my very tiny bitterness issue.

The reasons I wanted to see “Hamilton” were multifold. I love the premise. I love the score, which I listen to every day. I love its saga of outsiders becoming insiders. I love that it refreshes our passion for U.S. history. I love its multilayered, big-hearted, big-brained embrace of the United States of America as a nation of the marginal and dispossessed. I love that its anthems are sung in our modern language of resistance and fuck-you joy: hip hop and R&B, o yes.

I wanted to see this show very, very much, but kept losing the stupid, obviously rigged lottery, so this month finally stopped participating in it. The day I deleted the daily alarm “HAMILTON LOTTERY YOU’RE A CHICKEN LICKIN WINNA” from myPhone was a sad one indeed.

Readers of this blog may have noticed that I have been blue recently—so much so, perhaps, that one might say I have been suffering the very French and not very American “ennui”—so much so that my ass actually has been dragging. (Not a pretty sight.) The general Trumpiness of it all has not been helping.

Elizabeth Judd ("Eliza" in the show) and Liesl Tommy

Elizabeth Judd (“Eliza” in the show) and Liesl Tommy

In the middle of all this droopiness, my friend Liesl, a hometown honey who just happens to be an amazing director of such Tony-nominated fare as “Eclipsed,” texted: I have a friend trying to get Hamilton tickets. did you ever pull it off? is it doable?

Ever gracious, I texted back: it’s terrible and i never did and i don’t want to talk about it.

Somehow she managed to ignore my unpleasantness and make a dinner date with me. I like Liesl so much that I agreed to meet her in Times Square for dinner, which I typically consider akin to asking me to eat toe jam. Even so, I was in such a horrible no good very bad mood that I almost cancelled on her. At the last minute I motivated–the fact that I would be missing the third debate didn’t hurt–but still looked so distraught upon arrival that my friend looked up and said: “Are you OK? you seem stressed.”

“Oh,” I sighed. “I’m just upset about how there’s nothing to look forward to and it’s October and 80 degrees and everything in my personal life and in the world just seems so terrible.” To be clear, this is not a sentence anyone ever expects to hear from me, and in fact is a sentence that I normally would never, ever utter and in fact would reject if anyone else uttered it.

Rather than rolling her eyes, Liesl started cackling and before I could accuse her of horrible no good very bad insensitivity, pulled a pair of tickets out of her purse at which point I BEGAN TO SCREAM AND CRY AND SCARE EVERYONE IN THE RESTAURANT.

So how was the show? I actually cannot talk about it. I am a critic who makes a living out of evaluating art and yet and yet and yet:

This was one of the best live shows I’ve ever seen–on par with Prince on the “Lovesexy” tour; a spiritual odyssey with a backbeat, basically–and I don’t want to sully it through analysis. Suffice it say: A day later, I am still glowing like a madwoman.

I am so grateful that Lin-Manuel Miranda manifested his best self and so grateful that so many seeded his vision and so grateful that fairy godmothers are real and so grateful that I did not cater to my ennui yesterday. Gratitude is my favorite–that, and laughing hysterically with tears running down my face. I am most grateful to be awash in favorites.

"All, everything I understand, I understand only because I love."
― Leo Tolstoy