I love musicals. I've always loved musicals. From Irvin Berlin's black and white masterpieces to contemporary theatre and, of course, the occasional Disney tune. I've always been a sucker for them. However, when Hamilton started gaining traction in the theatre scene, I wasn't originally sold. Sure, some of the tracks were catchy, but I'm not really a hip hop kind of girl, and I dismissed it as a 'not really my thing'.
Gosh, how wrong I was.
A few years later, I saw some fan made anime music videos on Youtube. They featured scenes from Yuri on Ice set to various Hamilton tracks, and I suddenly found myself completely and utterly addicted to them. The songs were incredible, with sharp, witty lyrics and hauntingly beautiful numbers fuelled by a passion that made my heart ache. I found myself listening to the soundtrack on repeat for weeks. Hamilton soon found its way to the top of my list, with its inspirational story that lit a fire inside of me. It soon became the soundtrack to my convention prep work. If Alexander Hamilton could spend his days writing like he's running out of time, if he could push himself forward with such drive and determination, surely so could I? After all, I only have to paint some pieces to sell at comic conventions. It's not like I was busy, I dunno, trying to defend the newly written constitution, after all.
So Hamilton became an important part of my work process, and an inspirational mantra I'd call upon when I needed that little push.
When I heard that it was actually coming to the West End, I desperately wanted to see it. But, Hamilton is a powerhouse of modern theatre. Tickets sold out long before I even knew they were going on sale, and they were sold out until the end of time. I even looked into flying out to New York when flights came up really cheap. but Broadway prices are expensive, and again, very, very sold out.
I figured I stood next to no chance to ever see it live.
And then I did.
Hamilton has a 'lottery' app you can download, which gives you a chance to win extremely cheap tickets. The show opened previews on a Wednesday, and on Thursday I got a phone call at work. My friend Sarah, who had been playing the lottery with me, had won two tickets to see Hamilton the very next day. After a lot of screaming, crying, jumping for joy, work-shift-juggling and excitement, I was on the train on my way up to see Hamilton! On its very first Friday performance in London.
And it was amazing.
I'd initially been a little worried about seeing a different cast perform the roles I'd grown to know so well from the original Broadway run, but I needn't have been. Within moments, I was fully entranced with their performances, captivated and enthralled. I adore Lin-Manuel Miranda and I honestly don't think you could get a better Hamilton, but Jamael Westman made the character his own, too, even though he lacked the staple Hamilton ponytail. I'll forgive him. Just.
And then... I got to do it all over again!
Early this year, they extended its run at the Victoria Palace Theatre, and with the new dates of course came new tickets. My friend Archer and I dove at the chance, because the extension went through July, which meant we could see it for our birthday! Archer is one of my very best friends, and we happen to share the same birthday. Which is super ironic, because we were both born on the Fourth of July!
It was wonderful seeing it a second time around, because this time we were able to invite our friends along for the ride. Archer's sister Becca joined us, Moose and Luke joined and Sarah's boyfriend Matt came along, too. We got a Saturday matinee because Archer and Becca had come all the way down from Sheffield for the show, and this time I came extra prepared.
There's a website I am obsessed with called Artscow, and through them you can design and make your own clothing. I already own a bunch of Artscow dresses with my own art on them (and have even sold a few at conventions), but I knew I had to make a Hamilton dress for the show. I designed a simple golden dress with the famous Hamilton star logo, teamed it with a small black cardigan (which promptly came off in the extreme heat of our Summer this year!)
I teamed my dress with a badge from H0lyhandgrenade, another artist in the UK con scene, and an official Hamilton pin I'd purchased my first time seeing the show. I'm not too modest to say that my dress got a lot of attention! While outside waiting, a guy approached me and said he loved my dress and that he loved Hamilton. He wasn't even going to the show, he just knew what my dress was about! In the auditorium I had comments from the staff and some audience members, and a guy even found me on Twitter by following the hashtag and said his daughter had fallen in love with my dress at the show. It made me so happy! I'm so glad I took the time to design it. I really, really recommend Artscow if you ever want custom clothing. They've never let me down yet.
This performance of Hamilton had a couple of cast changes, including Hamilton himself. We had a different Lafayette/Jefferson too, who I think was a stand in for the main cast member, and I honestly preferred him to the regular guy. He was so dynamic and so fancy in both roles, absolutely perfect for the part. The main actor for the part is incredibly talented, but I just think he doesn't fit the role as accurately. Lafayette, and especially Jefferson, are such huge, showy characters. By contrast, I wasn't quite feeling the substitute Hamilton. Again, that's absolutely not to rain on their abilities at all. They are all phenomenally talented, but sometimes they just missed the mark a little, in my opinion.
Hamilton is absolutely my favourite musical, and I'm blown away with how lucky I've been to be able to see it twice in such a short space of time. Technically, because I saw it first in December and then again the following July, I've seen Hamilton once a year since it opened in the UK. 2019 is just around the corner. Y'know, it'd be a shame to break a now-annual tradition...
Hi! I'm Selena an artist, blogger and gamer!
Dream Somehow is my little corner of the internet where I talk about life, the universe and everything! Here, you'll find travel, adventures, vintage style, life in the South West of England, a little bit of Disney dreaming and a whole lot of geeky nonsense. If you'd like to learn a little more about me, click here!