Friday, June 3, 2016

You Are Not Allowed To Kidnap Lin-Manuel Miranda*

*Not actually a kidnapper. Promise.


Do you remember being a kid and being IN LOVE with Michael Jackson or Prince or NKOTB or Mark Wahlberg or Kurt Cobain or Dylan McKay or Brandon Walsh or Justin Timberlake or whatever other beautiful face you tore out of your Teen Beat magazine and taped to your mirror? I'm talking legit obsession here. These were the men (or women) you were going to have 1-4 kids and own a Mansion/Apartment/Shack/House with one day. (You remember MASH, right???)

The funny thing is, this never really happened to me. I didn't watch Saved by the Bell or Melrose Place or MTV like 99.3% of my peers, so most things pop culture flew right over my head. I did go to a New Kids on the Block concert, and I dutifully chose my favorite "Kid," (Joey McIntyre, obv). I was "Team Brandon" all the way (brooding bad boys aren't my style), even though I'd never actually watched 90210. Kind of like how my son memorized the entire plot-line of Star Wars two years before he'd even seen it. Faking the currency of cool.

Honestly, I just wasn't that into it. I think the closest I came to "fangirl" status was over sports stars. I had panoramic posters of Michael Jordan and Jerry Rice and Joe Montana plastering my walls. My girlfriends and I played football and basketball at lunch and fought mercilessly over who would get to be which player from the Bulls (I was BJ Armstrong, my BFF always got to be Michael Jordan - she was much, much better than me ;)), the Niners (my Montana to her Rice), or the Sacramento Kings (Spud Webb/Mitch Richmond, Peja/Webber). And of course, growing up in Sac, I'll always hold a special place in my heart for KJ, and forgive him his trespasses with the Phoenix Suns.

So yeah. I wasn't big on the teen heartthrobs... at least not in the typical sense. That is until I was 35 years old. Let me set the scene: September 2015. I was scheduled to do a presentation at the local high school on Constitution Day. On the way there, I heard a story on the radio about Hamilton. I could barely contain my excitement. I'd seen In the Heights years ago, and knew Lin had talent. But this - Broadway + Hip Hop + The Constitution? This is the holy trifecta in my book. I proceeded to geek out to a bunch of apathetic high school kids: "Like, ohmigod, you guys! A rap-musical about the founding fathers!!! How super awesome is that?! Class field trip to NYC?! Anyone? Anyone?" For some reason, the students' reactions were less than enthusiastic.

Surprisingly, it kind of fell off my radar for a while after that. I wanted to see the show at some point, but I hadn't yet fallen down the Hamilton rabbit hole. I tried to get tickets when we went to New York in February, but they were outrageously expensive so we saw The Book of Mormon instead. BUT THEN. I bought the cast album. That was four months ago. I don't think I've gone a single day without listening to it since.

When I first drank the Kool-Aid, I tried to get Daddy Mack on board. I showed him a couple of YouTube videos but he didn't seem to get the appeal. He actually said, a la Larry David, "Do white people just pretend to love it because it stars black people and they want to seem progressive and PC?" Um, no. Duh.

ANYWAY. I fell. Hook, line, and sinker. I was HELPLESS. (I briefly entertained the notion of writing an entire blog post in Hamilton quotes, but that seemed hard and a smidge more stalkery than I intended.)

Despite his skepticism, DM recognized that my feelings for Hamilton were not to be dismissed. I'm not sure if it was because Hamilton was playing every time he came home and every time he got into my car, or because I said "I HAVE to find a way to go to this show" about three times a day, but he picked up on these subtle clues. I was bonafide bonkers for Hamilton, and he decided to do something about it.


I cried. He laughed. I said, "I can't believe you did this!" He replied, "Are you kidding? You've literally never wanted anything more in your life. Of course I did." Swoon. Best of husbands, best of humans, right there. <3

So we went. Across the country. With kids in tow. For 96 hours. If it takes 6,000 miles and an unmentionable amount of dollars to see Hamilton, it will have been worth it.

(Also, the kids were angels and the patron saint of traveling with small children was smiling down upon us when seats were assigned. Thank you, Jebus. Thank you, too, to my wonderful in-laws and also my adorable niece who provided free childcare and entertainment while DM and I escaped to NY for the night!)

First order of business: What to wear? Before we left DM said, "Is it cool if I just wear jeans and a shirt to the show?" (As we both did to Book of Mormon a few months prior.) I said, "That's fine. You can wear whatever you want. But just so you know, I am going to be the most dressed up person there. Gotta bring my A-game, baby!" He rolled his eyes and warned, "You are not allowed to kidnap Lin-Manuel Miranda!" I replied, "Of course not! His wife seems amazing. I mean, a lawyer AND a scientist? How could I compete with that?! Maybe just... a sister wife?" ;) I admit I refer to Lin as "my boyfriend" on occasion, but honestly, I'm not that picky. I'd happily enter a plural marriage with Leslie, Daveed, or Pippa or Renee for that matter (and yes, we're on a first-name basis).

Laughin' at my sister cuz she wants to form a harem.
I'm just sayin' if you really loved me, you would share 'im.

So. I bought a dress. Which, by the way, nearly killed me. Literally. It's really long and has a bunch of different panels in the skirt and there's no way to pick them all up simultaneously. I quickly gave up trying to be sexy and graceful about it and started desperately grasping all the pieces in my sweaty paws, like when you try to carry a pile of laundry upstairs and you leave a trail of socks and underwear in your wake. Add strappy heels and steep carpeted stairs and it was basically a slinky red death trap. It was like trying to walk with a rabid octopus wrapped around my legs. I tripped at least seventeen times. The last time a complete stranger actually caught me in his arms and prevented me from tumbling down the stairs to my paralysis and/or mortification. Thanks, man!

Let me have my Kardashian moment, please.
This picture actually kind of freaks me out a little. I'm getting an Inception vibe.
Alluring, yet provides ample space for my "I had a baby four years ago-bump," aka burrito belly (or, in this case, pizza-by-the-slice belly). Two essential requirements of any good dress, in my opinion.
For some reason, I thought maybe once I actually saw the show, after listening to the soundtrack non-stop for months, that would sort of provide some closure for my obsession. The bookend, if you will. Uh, NOPE! It has only intensified my infatuation. I am halfway scheming to get back again before July 9th. I actually just entered a contest to win tickets and a meet-n-greet. I WILL NEVER BE SATISFIED!

Kinda like this.
I was discussing this with a friend (my MJ ;)) and we were saying - Yes, it's amazing, but, WHY soooo goooooood? I wish I could put my finger on it. Is it the insanely good music? The ridiculous turntable stage and brain-busting choreography? The on-point casting? The picture perfect costumes? Seeing 8 Mile-style rap-battles on Broadway? Yes, it's all of that, but that's not all.

It's not just Lin, either. I mean, the fact that he wrote the thing BOGGLES MY MIND. It physically hurts my grey matter when I try to wrap my mind around him writing biting, historically accurate raps about the founding fathers. Still, I saw In the Heights. It was good, and I love me some Usnavi. But it wasn't "Listen to the cast recording on repeat for 120 days"-good. It wasn't "Sell your first-born-child for tickets"-good. It wasn't "HOLY HELL I think I'm suffering from an acute myocardial infarction"-good. You know?

It actually felt like I was experiencing a minor medical emergency. Not like, "Call 911" or anything. More like the "Lie down, take two aspirin, and call me in the morning." I'm getting heart palpitations just thinking about it. It was basically a two-hour and forty-minute asthma attack. I was sweaty and fainty and I white-knuckled whatever of DM's body parts were within arms-reach. I was holding on for dear life. We had good seats, but I literally couldn't see straight because my eye-cups runneth over the entire time. I shouldn't have been surprised. I can't even not-cry listening to the "Stay Alive" redux for the 243rd time in the quiet of my own car. I didn't stand a chance "in the room where it happens." It felt like my synapses were firing in double-time. Like I was about to overload my motherboard. It was a wild ride that I didn't ever want to end.

It just... took my breath away. And by that I mean, I think I literally forgot to breath for the first 3 minutes and 56 seconds. And I'm not the only one who felt that way. The whole place was electric. Incendiary. A packed house of kindling waiting to be set aflame. "Ladies and gentlemen, you could've been anywhere in the world tonight, but you're here with us in New York City!" It was like church, or a wedding, or any other place it's not weird to hold hands and share tissues with strangers. We were collectively mesmerized. "How lucky we are to be alive right now!"

By the way, I was nervous that DM wasn't going to love it. I figured he'd like it well enough, but he'd mostly humoring me. I was disabused of that notion halfway through the intro song, when he leaned over and whispered, "I can already tell, this guy's going to be my favorite." Gotta love Aaron Burr. #BroMance #ManCrush. DM fell half in love with Eliza, too (who wouldn't). Three minutes in and he was a bona fide fan.

From the first line, it felt like someone cracked open my rib cage, grabbed hold of my heart in their big meaty fist, and never let go. Sweet Jesus. My six-year-old buddy Miss V went to the show last month and reportedly said "I'm so excited I can't control my body!" I know EXACTLY how she feels. I had an almost overpowering physical urge to stand up and start fist-pumping at various times throughout the show. It felt like my heart was going to spontaneously combust. It didn't, thankfully :) That energy and emotion leaked through my eye-holes instead. But I sniffed and snuffled in good company.


Then, I wanted to cry because it was over!

As soon as the lights came up, DM said, "Lets come back and see it again tomorrow!" Luckily (for our credit scores), there wasn't a show Monday.

Oh yeah, also, I was interviewed about Hamilton for a Japanese television show. LOL.

I was going to make DM stand in the Stage Door line with me, but I had to pee SO BAD (I held it the whole time! The line for the ladies was INSANE at intermission and there was zero percent chance I was missing one second of the show. I'd just as soon pee in my Hamilton sippy cup. Anyway, by the time we got outside it was utter mayhem. Fuhgeddaboutit. (Though I found out after the fact that Lin did Stage Door and I have major FOMO.)

I've daydreamed about what I would have said to them, though. Conducting entire imaginary conversations in the shower with people I will never meet has, heretofore, been solely my husband's gig. But things change, apparently. Honestly people, I don't even know myself anymore! I don't usually get star-struck. Celebrities don't excite me, as such. If I was sitting next to Beyonce and Jay-Z at a restaurant I'd be like, "Neato." Actually, I might ask to move to another table because God forbid Jay-Z accidentally looked in my general direction, I wouldn't want Bey to skin me alive and wear me as a bodysuit.

On the other hand, if I encountered any cast member from Hamilton, I'd probably melt into a wheezing puddle on the sidewalk. But this is what I would like to think I would have said:

To Leslie Odom Jr. (Aaron Burr): How many times a day do people walk up to you and say, "Are you Aaron Burr, sir?" Also? Will you be my husband's boyfriend? ;) (Is there a way to say that without sounding creepy?) Seriously though, SO GOOD dude. I've heard Lin say he thought about playing Burr instead of Hamilton. I can't imagine. I'm so glad you followed your heart to this part. You were made for it!

To Daveed Diggs (Lafayette/Jefferson): You were my fave! Purple velvet suits you. Also, I love "Small Things to a Giant!" A rap referencing Edgar Allen Poe and Beavis & Butthead? Who'd'a thunk?

To Phillipa Soo (Eliza Hamilton): You are the glue. There wouldn't be a show without you. Swoon.

To Chris Jackson (George Washington): You should totally audition for the role of the 45th president of the United States! Central casting is presently fucking that shit up!

To Renee Elise Goldsberry (Angelica Schuyler): Can we do a Choose Your Own Adventure version where you get the guy???

To Okieriete Onaodawan (Hercules Mulligan/Madison): Can we be friends? And make a music video together where you rap all DMX-style and we walk down the street in slo-mo? Cool, thanks!

To Lin-Manuel Miranda (The One and Only Alexander Hamilton): Who am I kidding. I'd definitely say something like "I carried a watermelon," or "Uhhhhhh.... *Starts ugly crying and babbling incoherently.*" Oh am I talking too much? Sometimes I get overexcited, run off at the mouth... Well, now, if I ever run into him, I can say "HI! I wrote a blog post about kidnapping you and/or becoming one of your sister wives!" That's sure to go over well :)

Anywho. I can't explain how or why Hamilton grabs you and has its way with you and leaves you saying, "Thank you, Sir! May I have another?!" But it's "a thing." It's not a moment, it's a movement.

The Bible says "Nor will they say 'Here it is!' or 'There it is!' for the Kingdom of God is within you." And I think that's kind of what's going on in Hamilton, too. It feels like, somehow, this super famous, twitter-trending, cultural phenomenon has something to do with you. Yes, YOU. Like, it's tapping into this shared history or some past life. "I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together." The Beatles, I Am The Walrus. Or, if you prefer, Snoop Dogg: "He is I, and I am him, slim with the tilted brim... What's my motherfuckin' name?" ALEXANDER HAMILTON! (See what I did there??? ;))

I hope you'll forgive me the biblical reference. I'm probably being a tiny bit dramatic, but it really was like a religious experience. For me at least. (Or, so I've heard, anyway. Not ever having had an actual religious experience firsthand ;))

The moral of the story is, I left my heart in Richard Rogers Theatre. (And I don't even care that they spell it the asshat way.)

Mkay. I'm gonna go write the next Great American Novel now! Byeeeeee!

It's all happening!
"Slummin' in the city in my fancy heels." #TheSchuylerSisters. #Werk
Just in case you missed me squeeing on the interwebs...




Didn't actually sing out loud (I don't think?), thank God. But the girls next to me did, quietly and reverently, so it probably would've been okay ;) 
Also, my friend does this. The $10 Founding Father. It's nice to know I'm not the only one with an unhealthy Hamilton obsession! <3

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