It took until my 20s to fulfill my big dream to see a moose. I thought it would quench the thirst, but it only burns stronger every year. Maybe I’ll have to go to Finland and adopt one as a pet one day. Under the northern lights and next to a blue whale. If blue whales even go to Finland? Perhaps an albino moose under the northern lights with a whale breaching nearby.
Actually, it started with a Regina Spektor concert. We went to one last November – just Cassidy and me – and we didn’t have the most connected night ever (or even in the running), but Regina was just exquisite. As a quick aside, my ex went to high school with her and took me to see her at The Knitting Factory and she was so gracious and humble when she met me and I’m still smiling about it, over a decade later. Anywho, after the concert, Regina was fresh in my mind so I’d ask our Alexa to “Shuffle songs by Regina Spektor (please).” What’s funny is that I’m writing this draft aloud on voice command while it’s fresh in my mind and Alexa heard me dictate this and started playing Regina Spektor, and yes, it’s THAT SONG. Listen:
When I first heard the song, I could hear a male voice in the chorus that I recognized as Ben Folds – another favorite of mine. I did a quick Google search and found out the name of the song, but had no idea what it was. I just loved it.
It kept coming on shuffle, not always first or second, but always in the mix. Finally I had to figure out what it was – I hadn’t even realized it was a cover from Hamilton! Also, Hamilton Mixtape as a whole is somewhat astonishing to me. I started playing the song for Scarlet more often, because she had been there when I had first heard it. We got obsessed at the same time. What a beautiful song, and what does it mean? And what else could be embedded in such a captivating soundtrack?
We had Alexa play the soundtrack on shuffle and made Pandora stations to listen to in the car. Eventually, on a long drive to New Jersey, Cassidy put the whole thing on in order. We had the sickness so badly. When we heard Hamilton was coming to Hartford and Boston, we sucked in our breaths. It seemed like a distant dream. Yet after years of winning or scoring Phish tickets like a pro, Cassidy got four tickets. His dad got one for the same day, but that ticket was passed around to Cassidy’s brother and eventually to Cassidy’s mom. It wasn’t just the excitement, but it was nerves too. Could I pull this off?
It wasn’t just that it was such an emotion-producing event, but it would be a full theater without a lot of legroom. And it’s a three hour show. Would I get that trapped feeling? Would I be fighting rising panic? Or more likely – would I numb down some of my feelings about this event just to cope with it? I’ll say that none of those three things happened, beyond minimally. Scarlet dressed in her Peggy Schuyler Halloween costume and I imagine she felt like Cassidy does on Halloween. Everywhere, people smiled at her, told her she was awesome, told her she had made their day, or thought she was IN the musical!
Then, the show started. And I’m not going to lie. I can be a bit of a clock watcher – even during amazing things – just because of anxiety. I’m not going to lie again when I tell you that this play is a magical musical masterpiece. It’s beyond words and beyond the hype. It doesn’t just meet the hype, but it beats it, rock paper scissors, no holds barred, strike three and you’re out. You won’t be the same after this. There are so many themes that will hurt your heart and brain – about love and legacy, family and sadness and work/life balance, freedom and patriotism, happiness and sadness, and hope and regret.