January 18th, 2016


In which Seanan goes to the room where it happens.

If you're at all aware of the U.S. musical theater scene (and there's a sentence), you've probably heard of a show called Hamilton. In case you haven't: it is, quite literally, a musical about the life, career, and death of Alexander Hamilton, the first United States Secretary of the Treasury. I...yeah. If you were to make a list of "historical figures about whom a musical should be written," Alexander Hamilton probably wouldn't make the top fifty. He is, sadly, too obscure (or was until very recently); most people think of him as "the dude on the ten-dollar bill," if they even know that dude's name.

So it was a bit of a shock to basically everyone when suddenly Hamilton became the hottest ticket on Broadway. Written by Lin Manuel-Miranda, who had previously written In the Heights and contributed to Bring It On: The Musical, the show seemed to go from zero to ABSOLUTELY FUCKING EVERYWHERE. Several of my friends became obsessed. As is often the case with the people I tend to surround myself with, they began talking about it constantly.

Have I told you about the power of my irritation?

See, when something starts to annoy me, I have a very narrow window to learn to like it or wind up hating it forever. As I was about to go to New York, I declared my intent to see Hamilton, so as to keep myself from hating it. Several people pointed out that it was, you know, sold out until next year. Whatever, I replied. I was going to see it.

Come the day we had reserved for Hamilton-going, Diana and I went to the theater, where she already had a friend at the front of the cancellation line. Said friend was able to get us three tickets at face value (one for each of us, one for herself). Sarah and Katie joined us, and put their names in for the lottery. Now, when you do a show lottery, the popularity of the show pretty much decides your chances. A show like Hamilton means they're not...good. So we're standing there as the names are being drawn, and name after name does not belong to any member of our party.

"This is our last draw for the night," announces Daveed Diggs (Lafayette/Thomas Jefferson)...and reads Sarah's name. Our entire group makes a terrifying, drawn-out screeching noise, like we have been possessed by the spirits of every velociraptor currently in residence at the Museum of Natural History.

The five of us proceed to a local Italian place for dinner, bolt our spaghetti, and meet up with Josh in line. Josh has secured a ticket through the simple, if nerve-wracking expedient of waiting for the StubHub prices to drop back to "just trying to recoup my investment" levels, and then running from their last-minute ticket office to meet us. So yes. The power of my spite* got six people into a completely sold-out show at the last minute, all with good seats, no one paying scalper prices. Behold the power of spite.

(*Odd as this may seem as an ordinary superpower, I have never lost a ticket lottery. Either I or someone in my immediate group has always won. It's weird, but useful.)

Hamilton is very simply staged: there are few props, even fewer sets. It's mostly just stark wood and people implying their surroundings through context. The cast is intentionally diverse, representing America as it is today through the faces on the stage. And it never stops. Not for one second. Even the slow moments are fast by the standards of most shows.

I hoped to like Hamilton. I didn't expect to love it. I certainly didn't expect to sob through great swaths of it. The soundtrack is available now, and there is so little speech in the show that just listening to it is more than enough; you'll get basically the whole show.

But I am so glad I got to be in the room where it happens.

Everybody loves a road trip.

Just in case any of y'all managed to miss it:

There is a new Fighting Pumpkins story in the world! Read "Fiber" now at Tor.com.

For those of you keeping track, this is the same iteration of the Fighting Pumpkins as appeared in "Gimme a 'Z'!" and "Turn the Year Around" ("Dying With Her Cheer Pants On" ended in a total party-kill). This takes us to four published stories about everyone's favorite genre-savvy cheer squad. (I estimate we need ten for a Fighting Pumpkins story collection.)

Gimme an "F"!
Gimme a "U"!

If you want to support more Fighting Pumpkins in the future, "Fiber" also appears in the anthology Unbound, which is fine and swanky and would look great on your shelf!