Do you have Hamilton fever yet?
Chances are, if you live in the United States, you’ve heard of Hamilton, the hip-hop musical about America’s founding fathers that is sweeping the nation. How big is it? Tickets are going for thousands of dollars a seat, it’s nominated for a record-breaking 16 Tony awards, and the cast even performed at the White House. Written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, it chronicles the life of immigrant Alexander Hamilton, his rise to Secretary of Treasury and his death at the hands of Aaron Burr, sir (and all of the stupid and inspiring things he does in between). The lyrics are rich, the music borrows from many genres, and listening to the soundtrack still makes me cry every damn time (She put herself back in the narrative!).
I’ll pause here to let you go down the rabbit hole, if you haven’t already.
All caught up? Good.
So, if you know me personally, it doesn’t take long to learn that I have a slight obsession with musical theater. I’ve listened to every Sondheim show, wept when I didn’t think a character in a musical adaptation was cast well (lookin’ at you, Les Miserables), and followed every bit of Broadway news I can get my hands on. Miranda’s musical was far from a surprise. I watched his brilliant High School Musical spoof about In the Heights when it first showed up on YouTube (and can now sing along to it), and I fell in love with that show shortly thereafter. I saw his original White House performance, and kept tabs on the progress of Hamilton (which was then a hip hop album). When the reviews of the previews came out and they were good, I was excited. I bought the cast album the day it came out, and I totally and completely fell in love.
But, like every good love story, my entanglement with Hamilton hit some rough patches.
How do you obsess about a show when you live thousands of miles away from other people who get it?
I had a core set of people in the States I could freak out with. My family are huge musical theater nerds, like I am, but do they have to live an ocean away? I had friends from high school and college who I knew would be big fans. But what about the people I interact with every day? Colin, of course, is a great sport and a wonderful Peggy Schuyler when we’re singing the soundtrack through. He also provides very inventive lyrics when he forgets them, mostly involving cats.
Germans aren’t exactly known for their enthusiasm. So when I show up to work, bursting with
“I deeply deeply love this show and it’s a hip hop musical about the gosh darned founding fathers but the main cast are almost all people of color because it’s about how America’s history belongs to all of us, not just dead white dudes, screw you and your historical accuracy claims, that’s part of point, I mean finally more roles I could play if I could act or sing but my god the references, to everything and anything and The Last Five Years, and DAVEED DIGGS, and Lin wrote it and starred it in it and is basically a genius but Leslie Odom Jr. has the voice of a million angels scratch that it’s the voice a million angels wish they had and did I mention the rapping…?”
I don’t really get much of a response. Granted, it’s hard to be excited about another country’s founding fathers. And the only musical I know they love here is Starlight Express. Still, I did my best. Through persistent badgering, I got my American coworker to listen. But no one understands my perfectly timed interjections of lyrics, or my witty references.
So I turned to the internet, where slowly, all of my Facebook friends discovered the joy. I even pushed a couple of them into listening. Apparently, I can be very persuasive when I’m extremely excited. I rely on tumblr to provide me with gifs, clips, and interviews. I watch every YouTube video I can. For now, that would (have to) be enough.
But all of that brings us here, today, to the night of nights in the Broadway community. The Tony Awards.
I watch faithfully every year, and almost always have a Tony party with food while other people watch in amusement as I explain each snub, category, or inside joke.
And Hamilton isn’t the only great musical nominated. I’m also excited to see what Waitress, Shuffle Along, School of Rock, and the Spring Awakening and Fiddler on the Roof revivals have to bring to the table. But we all know tonight is Lin-Manuel’s night.
Here’s my short guide to making a Tony Award party while living in Germany work (work):
- Prime your significant other on the snubs, nominations, and categories.
- Consider inviting other people but know that no one would come anyway because it starts at 2 in the morning.
- Prepare some late night snacking foods, such as a modified crack dip (our recipe coming soon).
- Debate who should win in each category.
- Get out some of your nervous energy with a long run (See my playlist suggestion above).
- Fill out your homemade Tony bingo cards and prediction cards.
- Watch the greatest carpool karaoke for the eighth time.
- Know that James Corden can handle the biggest night of the year, since he’s both a performer and a fanboy.
- Watch the red carpet starting at 11:30 PM.
- Drink some coffee with whisky to get you through.
- Somewhere before 2, get ready emotionally and physically.
- Try not to cheer or cry too loudly.
- Watch Hamilton blow us all away.
- Cry over the Waitress score by Sara Bareilles
- Win at Tony bingo.
- Crawl back in bed at 5 in the morning.
- Wake up 3 hours later, drag yourself into work, and drink all the coffee.
But you do it for the love of Broadway.
I’ll be back, soon you’ll see, but until next time!
Next on the blog: Colin talks the differences between studying and living in Berlin