My Hamilton Experience

With the Hamilfilm now available on Disney+, I thought it would be cool to reminisce about my experience as one of the lucky ones who has seen the production live on stage.

The film was the first time I saw the production with the OG cast. The first national tour came to Durham and I was able to see it with a just-as-outstanding touring cast.

On a brisk November evening, I walked into the venue teeming with excitement. I had listened to the Broadway cast recording numerous times in preparation, but nothing could prepare me for the magic I would witness on stage that night. A night I was actually not sure would happen.

Rewind all the way back to 2010. I traveled to New York City by virtue of winning an essay contest in high school. Our group attended a Broadway show one evening and that show just so happened to be Lin-Manuel Miranda’s first Tony Award winning hit, In The Heights at the Richard Rodgers Theatre. The production still included quite a few of the original cast, which was awesome. After seeing it, I immediately fell in love and bought the original cast album. From that point on, I was a Lin-Manuel Miranda fan.

In The Heights marquee at the Richard Rodgers Theatre in New York. | Photo: Chris White

Fast forward to the first few months of 2018. I was discussing all things Hamilton with a friend and fellow Hamil-nerd. We were talking about it coming to Durham and I found out that the only way to guarantee seats to any of the shows in its engagement was to be a season seat member. Alas, DPAC had already sold out of all new season seats before I came to this realization.

There was a wait list you could add your name to in the event more season seats became available. I did so that night. I was pissed at myself for “throwing away my shot.” I came to the realization that, if this didn’t work, I would show up in person at DPAC the day tickets went on sale to the general public. I was determined to see this show!

I didn’t hear back for months. Then, one night while I was working a Durham Bulls game, I checked my email while on break and saw an email from DPAC. I almost blew it off, but read the subject line a bit more closely. It said that more season seats had become available and would go on sale in the next couple of days!

I had to pick up my jaw off the ground, but knew that was just half the battle. I have experienced many a ticket sale to highly coveted events. Most of which I missed out on due to the system being overloaded with eager fans and tickets disappearing within seconds.

The day came to try for season seats. I logged on to the system; some music playing on shuffle in the background. As fate would have it, a Hamilton song was queued up as the ticket window opened. A great sign of things to come, as I secured my season seats and, with that, guaranteed that I was going to be in the “room where it happens” later that year.

Back to show night. I walked into the theater and got settled in my seat. Nervously anticipating what I was about to see. The theater began to fill to capacity and the lights dimmed. A voice belonging to King George III reminded the crowd to put away their phones. The lights faded to black with only a pin spot on the stage. Showtime!

The first number is played and the chills immediately set in. A few more songs in and I just looked around the theater. I started tearing up a bit, thinking that I was finally able to see the show I had dreamed of seeing in person since it took Broadway – and the world – by storm.

It exceeded my expectations, which were already set pretty dang high. When I collected myself, I made my way to the merch stand where let’s just say I did some damage! I then went home a happy camper and returned for another show during its engagement in Durham.

Hamilton started as an idea. Then a mixtape that was not originally intended for Broadway. Now, it is so much more. It is a work of art that will last for generations. I’m so thankful to have seen the stage production and even more thankful the Hamilfilm has been released for a broader audience to enjoy.

Photo Courtesy: Rene Böhmer on Unsplash

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