I Hate Musicals How Did this Happen to Me in Ten Easy Steps; or, Learn to Humiliate Yourself by Crying about Eliza Hamilton at Work
Last month marked the two-year anniversary of the cast recording of Broadway’s Hamilton. During those two years I moved from absolute resistance on day one, to a complete mess on day seven hundred and thirty. Come make the same journey with me. A journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination. That's the signpost up ahead - your next stop, Hamilton.
- See fifty headlines about Hamilton. Investigate briefly. It’s a musical. You don’t need to read those articles. You hate musicals. Well, except for the Buffy musical of course.
- Be worn down. Finally click a link. Read that it is a hip hop musical. You would rather scoop your own eyeballs out with a spoon than see a stage full of white musical theater nerds rapping about the continental congress. Try again to ignore it.
- Notice that your Blerd friends are obsessed with it. Investigate. Ok. They hired actors of color and actual rappers. Still. The founding fathers are overdone. Anyway, you hate musicals. Well you DID love belting out ‘Under the Sea’ as a little kid. Ok, you probably still remember the lyrics.
- Decide you are at least allowed to read articles about Lin Manuel Miranda. You get to know the brilliant Latinerd with a heart of gold. Your heart grows three sizes. You’ve never been so in love. You watch every interview, you follow him on any social media he posts on.
- Look up the Hamilton cast online. Their collective charisma, talent, and good looks are so overwhelming that you momentarily black out. You jolt back to consciousness mumbling something about Daveed Diggs.
- Relent when your sweet Midwestern friend looks at you with eyes as wide as saucers and asks to play it for you. Well, you can’t exactly crush the dreams of a sweet Midwestern girl, can you?
- Think wow, this is clever, catchy, and deadly accurate. The cabinet battles are perfection. These guys were savage. Still, why did your friends act like this changed their lives? Come on guys. Who cries because of Hamilton?
- Resist listening again even when the catchy songs and hilarious one liners come back to haunt you. You are already a fantasy/sci-fi nerd. You are already a political geek. You don’t need to be a musical theater nerd too. There has to be limits to this. You have to draw the line somewhere. Also, you HATE MUSICALS! Ok, Edelweiss was a beautiful song. But that’s mostly because Captain Von Trapp was a freaking fox.
- Decide that you need something new to listen to at work. So you listen just once more. You catch so many more words. As you listen, you sink into thought, connecting their battles and drama to the present day. The founding fathers all agreed to fight, but they were not fighting for the same things. They disagreed vehemently about what America meant. They set the stage for warring ideologies that are still playing out today. You think about the casting choices. The founding fathers were white land owning men and they only freed themselves. Yet LMM cast a troupe of actors of color to claim this story as their own. LMM could have written a musical about an inspiring American of color. But he chose to tell a story about the white founding fathers and had people of color lay claim to that story. You can’t stop turning over the multiple layers of this. And it. Is. Catchy.
- Fine, you listen again. You absorb even more nuance. You sink deeper into thought about the human condition. How does a human being live with taking soldiers into battle? Creativity, intelligence, kindness and anything else a soldier could offer America is snuffed out because the meat of his body is good for stopping bullets. What do you do with that guilt? And what about the omnipresent grief? How did parents go on when so many of their babies died in childbirth and childhood? STAY ALIVE. And on top of the losses the world dealt them, the people they loved were often the cruelest, just like today. What were the virtues of making history at the cost of their families? Isn’t family sacred? God, none of us know what the fuck we are doing, do we? WE HUMANS ARE RIDICULOUS. We are so sure, we put everything on the line, only to be humbled and humiliated. Oh God, the orphanage. Not the orphanage. Eliza, you precious precious woman. You deserved so much better!
You hear a splash and pause. You look down. Those big drops of water on your desk came from your eyeballs. There is snot. Mascara streaks. Are you sniffling???!! HOW DID THIS HAPPEN TO YOU!??! You silently curse Lin Manuel Miranda. You look sheepishly at your coworkers and grab some tissues. Ok, you like SOME musicals.
Now to check out the fandom.
Everyone experiences a revelation some time in their lives. For me, it came as a Freshmen in High School.
High School was a difficult time for me. As a Black girl, you were expected to toe one of two lines. Slacker, indifferent to school, work, or anything that would get you further in life or the super smart Black girl. School was easy for you, advanced classes. One thing both of these girls fell in line with was music. Hip Hop, rap, and R&B is the name of the game. Anything else was ostracised.
I...was different. I was good at school, but I had to work at it. I was not inclined to work hard enough at it to be in advanced classes, though I was placed in advanced Lit and additional Lit classes without really trying. I was one of few POCs in band, due to expense and how POC's weren't really catered to in band.
My musical tastes were all over the place. I listened to the genre's listed above, but my very first CD I personally owned was Celene Dion "Falling Into You" Alanis Morrisette was my theme all through high school. While I know now as an adult there were a ton of people just like me, but at the time, it was so lonely in my world. I was fat, black, ostracised. I had a hard time relating to people in my social circles.
Around this time, I was in a program called Upward Bound. One of the things they did that I will be forever grateful for is they tried to inject a bit of culture into our lives. Plays, ballets, and musicals. The first musical I ever saw was with them, Les Miserables. It sparked something in me. The pain, the confidence, the strength in to their voices had me hooked. Now, I`d seen the musical Oklahoma on video in the 6th grade, but it did not strike anything in me except I was creeped out by the ballet scene. After Les Miz, I was hooked.
A few years later, Chicago came out. I would dance in my room creating dances to the songs, as I heard the soundtrack before I saw the movie.
What I guess I am saying is that I was ripe for Hamilton to get me.
This past year I have heard my friends talk about Hamilton. I kind of pushed it to the side, and went about my business. I knew what would happen if I liked it.
One day on Facebook about two weeks ago, I admitted that I had not heard a speck of Hamilton. Someone piped up that it was on sale on Google Music.
It still took me a few more days to listen to it after I purchased it. I had a long trip to go on for work, and I decided I would listen to it on the trip.
Why did I arrive to my destintion with tear tracks down my face and snot bubbles and every stitch of makeup gone?
"'Hic, mmy name is Leslie and I'm here to checkkk--*BREAKS DOWN IN TEARS*."
Great business visit that.
I'm currently reading on Physics and electricity. I need to create a time machine to give Alexander Hamilton more time.
There have been long discussions on Hamilton on my page. I have dragged two other people on this journey. I just found out today that they are recording the original cast before Lin-Manuel Miranda leaves the play. I happened to learn this during some training I was in for work. I basically started vibrating in my seat. A coworker noticed me basically looking like a jackhammer in my seat and I had to explain why. The count is now 3.
Sadly they aren't touring Hamilton in Indianapolis. I spent a lot of time (more time than I am comfortable with at work honestly) trying to get tickets in Chicago. I couldn't get through. My heart is sort of broken. Maybe I will get a shot at a later date for tickets, but at least I have the album to keep me warm until I see it.
Do you remember what changed your life at some point? Something that made you consider an option you never thought of before?
At the time of posting I have introduced Hamilton to 7 other people. IT IS CONTAGIOUS
Shout out to Amanda Reynolds for the great pictures. I asked her if she wanted me to promote her Instagram, and she responded that "My Instagram is just cats." God I love her.
I just love this song, and just felt that this was the Wednesday to play it. Pat Benetar and We Belong.
I had the pleasure of seeing Nu Shooz at the 80's Freestyle concert I went to a couple of weeks ago. They were rocking the some fabulous thread full of sequin and silk. It was a good time, especially when they performed this song, I Can't Wait.
I do enjoy Lisa Lisa and am very excited to see her as well as many other 80's freestyle artists this August. This is definitely a jam you turn up and have fun with. I give you Lost In Emotion by Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam.
Whitney. Whitney. Whitney. Bobby B. Whitney. Don't ask questions. Just crank the hell out of this and lip sync like your life depends on it. So Emotional by Whitney Houston.
I probably should love Hall and Oates as much as I do, but I will still enjoy them. Just like this track, Out of Touch by Hall and Oates.
Don't everyone go running off to watch Mannequin now! At least stay and enjoy the song first. It is one of those great 80's power ballads. I present Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now by Starship.
Don't ask me why, but I have been jamming to this song for the last week. Just blaring it on the way home from work and singing horribly from the top of my lungs. Who doesn't love some Billy Ocean? I give you Get Out of My Dreams, Get Into My Car.
Love some BOC! Figured since my store features fire, then it my be fun to feature Burning For You. Enjoy!