I have been obsessed with Hamilton for a while now.
My friends know it:
I’ve drawn my favorite characters and made too many comics about them to count.
I’ve listened to the 2 hours and 23 minute soundtrack so many times…
…that my music suggestions are definitely skewed:
(all these singers are from the Original Broadway Cast Album recording of Hamilton)
and I can sing pretty much every part (or at least attempt to–I never said I was a good singer)
And that screenshot is from the official Hamiton app, which I have been religiously checking every single day since I came back to San Francisco for the summer. Why? Hamilton is playing in SF, and I figured, why not apply for the ticket lottery?
Basically, I’d apply for the next day’s lottery at 11 am every day and
every day at around 9 am I would see
It just became a habit. I didn’t even think about it. I could locate the “Try Again” notification and reapply for the next lottery the moment it came out entirely on autopilot.
Then one day I was involuntarily going through the motions as usual. And I couldn’t find the notification! Where was it! Did I forget to apply yesterday!?
And that’s when I realized
I couldn’t find the “Try Again” notification…
because there wasn’t one
The rush I felt right then was incredible. Not gonna lie, I can see why the actual lottery for money can be addicting to people (be warned!).
I immediately confirmed my tickets and got more and more excited every single second. I didn’t get to know what my seat would be until the day of and the added mystery added to my excitement.
Watching a live show is very different from watching a movie. The energy from the actors and from the audience is contagious. And distance truly makes a difference. I’ve only attended 2 live shows outside of school in my entire life before this. The first was a show by the official San Francisco Ballet and the second was a middle school production. For the SF Ballet production, I was seated wayyy in the back. To be perfectly honest…it was not super memorable despite it being my first live show. It felt kinda like watching a movie on my cell phone. I honestly could not tell you what happened, because I just don’t remember. At the middle school performance, I was in the second row and really felt close to the actors. That show blew me away. I was totally captivated by the performance. Despite the unprofessional level of you know…12-year-olds, I still remember it to this day. The energy from proximity to a show is hard to explain, but very prominent. (Side note: This is also why I always choose to sit in the front rows of the lecture hall!)
Anyways, back to Hamilton. I finally saw my seat number, and it was…A101. I did a double-take. NO WAY
That’s front and center!!!! The closest I could ever hope to be to the actors!!!!
The energy I got from this experience was unbeatable!!!! At one point, Aaron Burr (Donald Webber Jr.) made eye-contact with me, and I literally felt my heart stop. When Thomas Jefferson (Simon Longnight) hands the Reynolds Pamphlet to the conductor, I was 1 foot away from the conductor. It almost felt like he had handed it to me! When Eliza Schyuler (Julie K. Harriman) burns the letters Hamilton wrote to her…I could smell the smoke.
I was there. I was in the room where it happened.
Despite having listened to the music literally countless times, knowing all the emotional lyrics, and never actually crying while listening to the soundtrack, I found myself tearing up at the live performance.
Live shows also have this funny aspect to them that they naturally must have subtle differences between them and the official soundtrack. Each performance is slightly different.
It was kind of funny—I knew every beat by heart and the way each word sounded in the Original Broadway Cast recording, but this performance still surprised me with these actor’s interpretations of the lines.
Though they ultimately give the same message (Burr asking Hamilton to vote for him) they found 2 very different ways of conveying that same message.
Also, slight stumbles over lines and mics tripping up actually somehow made me like it more–which I know sounds wild, but hear me out. It just made it seem so much more real. Not in the way movies try to be real (if the sound system tripped up during a movie, it definitely would not make the movie seem more authentic), but that’s the thing about live shows–they are purposefully limiting themselves to only things that can be done live in order to give you that experience. Any “mess-ups” like this make me feel more like I’m in the middle of this performance. It’s more…human.
I can see the actual humans involved. And especially with my seat, I could actually see the conductor the whole time and her notes.
The whole thing was just so much more immersive than a movie could ever be.
I feel sooo lucky to have won this experience, but for full disclosure, I did apply over 60 times to win once 4 years after the show hype died down ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Overall, though I’m still so grateful that I got this experience and still feel super lucky!