Ok, what is the deal? Over the last few months, I feel as though every other piece of news, conversation or song is related to Hamilton.
In case you've been living under a rock, Hamilton is a musical play about the life of Alexander Hamilton from the time he arrived in the colonies in 1772 to his death in 1804. The play has taken America by storm, but until recently, I couldn't figure why.
You see, I am not, nor have ever been, a "theater kid." I enjoy going to see plays and musicals, but I have never been able to fully appreciate the time and effort it takes to make a script come to life. To be honest, I was more than a little annoyed with the fanaticism of my family and friends over this musical. I couldn't escape from conversations about Lin-Manuel, the playwright, composer and lyricist of Hamilton (someone who I would now be ecstatic to meet). Everywhere I turned, Aaron Burr was rapping about 10 commandments, or King George was singing a ton of da-da-da-da-ya-da-das. Car rides turned into three-hour-long (there are 46 songs total) Hamilton karaoke sessions. And as everyone else's infatuation grew, so did my disinterest.
You can't force someone to love something.
Fast forward to a couple of weeks later, when my friend and I were fortunate enough to get to see the play in person. Our parents had "surprised" us with tickets, and while I was certainly excited about going, my emotion paled in comparison to the hysteria of my friend. It was like all those days leading up to those incredible three hours had put me in Hamilton overload. I'm talking non-stop music, warnings from her family and mine that she would be sobbing, and I would just have to get over it became the main topic of conversation in and outside of my house. I was looking forward to seeing it, mainly so that afterwards, I could have a break from hearing about the Founding Fathers.
How ignorant I was.
When the day finally came, my friend could hardly contain her excitement, and my mom was green with envy. As we made our way into the Richard Rodgers Theatre, I was completely unprepared for the sheer brilliance of which I was about to be exposed to. Let me be clear, I don't cry in public. I have never cried watching a movie, reading a book or attending a play. So you can understand the shock I felt as my eyes started getting misty during the last song. At this point, my friend was indeed, sobbing, so I like to think her distress as part of what held me back from succumbing to a total breakdown. Some of the adjectives you could use to describe my emotional state after the last note would include: awe, admiration, wonderment, respect, surprise and apprehension.
I understand now, why people are so obsessed.
You see, Hamilton isn't just a three-hour long musical about the life of one of the most brilliant men who founded our country. Hamilton is about legacy, a seemingly forgotten idea in our world today. It's about how even if you screw things up (something Alexander Hamilton was no stranger to), you can make your life greater than those moments. Lin-Manuel has successfully enraptured a girl who isn't the biggest fan of rap, musicals or the financial genius of a guy who died 200 years ago and turned her doubt into inspiration.
If you're like I was – before I understood what makes this hilarious, rap-filled, emotionally compromising musical so great, please give it a chance. Listen to the soundtrack on your own, away from the crazed fans who all jumped on the bandwagon just because they love theater, because I promise, Hamilton tells so much more than the life of an 18th-century Federalist.