Not only are tickets generally unavailable for the Broadway musical Hamilton in New York, when you can find seats they are generally well over a thousand dollars. At least in the orchestra section, which is where my daughter and I sat. For every show, forty-six lucky lottery winners are seated, and on Friday night my daughter and I were among them! We paid ten dollars for seats that on that night had gone for $1,500 apiece. The Lucky Seat winners were ushered to the front two rows, center section, which put my girl and me at the end of the front row with our knees inches from the stage. I get why the lottery winners are given the front two rows. The view is just a touch too close to get the full effect of some of the staging, but that didn't detract from our enjoyment one bit. We could see every single detail of the action, down to the stitches in each handsomely rendered costume and the beads of sweat on Alexander Hamilton's brow.
We were blown away. I confess I sat through the first half secretly thinking, this is really great, but how could it ever live up to the hype. I said nothing of that of course, because my daughter was beside me with an expression of pure wonder on her face; she was utterly transported, and that alone transported me. And then came the second half, the personal tragedies and public strife, the comic relief of the English king, the song "Quiet Uptown," with tears running down Hamilton's face, the famous final duel, and by the time it was over I had cried and laughed and was emotionally wrung out, and I totally got it, the hype, the reason I will go back as often as I can, and why as I left the theater, I began playing the lottery again immediately.
Some photos of the action, not taken by me:
I couldn't help wondering what it would have been like to have seen show creator Lin Manuel Miranda in the title role, and to hear Leslie Odom Jr. (above) play Aaron Burr, this beautiful man with the lyrical voice belting out the show's signature song, "The Room Where It Happens." In the end it didn't matter; the current cast, with Michael Luwoye as Hamilton and Daniel Breaker as Aaron Burr, was excellent. Frankly there wasn't a weak link anywhere, from the voices, to the principles, to the dancers and crowd scene players, they all brought it. What a night.