How Hamilton Changed My Life
Until recently my only knowledge of Alexander Hamilton was he was the guy on the $10.00 bill who died in a dual.
That was before my daughter Liz introduced me to the soundtrack of the Tony Award winning Broadway smash, “Hamilton: An American Musical”.
I immediately fell in love with the music, and the story of a hungry, scrappy immigrant who came to the USA with a brilliant passion to make our country a better place.
I looked into getting tickets for the show in New York City, but quickly found out unless you were a millionaire or friend of the writer Lin-Manuel Miranda himself, you were not getting a seat.
When the show came to Chicago I started stalking their website, until finally I found tickets that wouldn’t cost me a second mortgage on my house. I was “not throwing away my shot” on a chance to see this show, and within an hour had secured 5 tickets, plus flight and hotel to Chicago (thanks to Dons thousands of banked Hotel and Airline points).
We stayed at The Hampton Inn on Monroe, a hotel that is connected to The Private Bank Theater.
In my life “there’s a million things I haven’t done” but we were about to check this one off our bucket list.
“Look around, we are so lucky to be alive right now,” I told Don as we started planning our trip to Chicago.
But then Don’s work venue was changed from the Chicago area to Minneapolis.
What, no Don on our trip, my children and I were crushed, until, “wait for it…” My friend Deede from Massachusetts said she would join us in Chicago to see the show, she had been trying to get tickets for 2 years. Since we live 2000 miles apart, I was excited to have the chance to spend some quality time with her and my kids.
So on Friday we arrived in the beautiful city of Chicago. The weather was perfect, the skies were blue.
We walked over fourteen miles taking in all the sights.
Saw the famous bean.
Walked through Millennium Park.
Took an Architectural River Boat Cruise with Chicago Line Cruises, where Amy talked about the history of the many beautiful buildings in Chicago.
Than Saturday night prepared to go to the show.
“Mr. Hamilton, history has its eyes on you.” I was thinking as we entered The Private Bank /CIBC Theater.
If you go to the website for this theater you will find horrible seat reviews, I was nervous about site lines, obstructed views and other bad things I had read about this older theater. My kids loved their seats in row Z, not only did they have a great view of the stage, but they got to sit next to the tech booth. Being theater geeks this was a double treat for them.
My seats were in the dress circle row F, and though we had a nice view of the stage, we did have an obstructed view of the upper area of the stage.
If you plan to go to this theater avoid tickets in the dress circle, you will miss a good portion on the action.
The lights went down, and there we were, “In the room that it happened.”
The music, actin and dancing were amazing. I loved the way they showed the good side of Aaron Burr, you felt sad for him as he struggled to find his place in history and wondered what would the world have been like if he had found his niche.
“Who lives or dies, who tells your story.” I love that Miranda wrote this story about one of the lesser known, but still important founding fathers of our country.
After the show Liz and Kat went over to the stage door and patiently waited to see what actors came out to greet them, their patience was not disappointed as the actors Miguel Cervantes (Alexander Hamilton),Gregory Treco (Aaron Burr) and Wallace Smith (Hercules Mulligan/James Madison) all came out.
They warmly greeted, took pictures with and signed autographs for all those who patiently waited for them.
“Legacy is planting seeds in a garden you never get to see,” I only hope that my children will see this show and take heart from the lessons from Hamilton and all our founding fathers who sacrificed so much so we could live in this amazing country.
Perhaps “Hamilton” did not change my life in the sense that I will be unrecognizable to friends, but the play reminded me of how fortunate we are to be Americans. “Why do you write like your running out of time.” Alexander Hamilton had so many deep thoughts and ideals for our country that he could not get them on to paper quickly enough.
The show was wonderful, but the greatest part of this weekend was the excitement in my daughters faces as they prepared for the show, and hearing their passionate discussion after.
This excitement and the time spent with them and Deede,, all paired with the pleasure of visiting a new city were well worth the price of admission.
I hope this is a memory that they will treasure for years to come and I can only hope,
“When our children tell the story they’ll tell the story of tonight.”