It's taken me a week to even put coherent thoughts together on the show. For four days of that, I was on a high from seeing it. For the last three days, I have been depressed I won't see it again. In the words of the NYT review — "Yes, it really is that good."
I mean, you don't need a synopsis; the show is about Alexander Hamilton. You know it's popular; it's totally sold out, with literally no tickets available, and block-long lines nightly waiting for any chance of returns. You know I love the show, because you have put up with me listening to it and quoting it and referring to it for months. And if you have caught even the briefest snippet of it on video (because really that's all that exists), you know it's good.
So it's good, but why is it important?
And I don't know that I can put that into words.
Because sure, language is crucial in Hamilton. Crackling, fast-paced, high energy words shot across the stage like revolutionary bullets, each phrase with an entire page of backstory (just look at Genius if you don't believe me, but don't blame me when you lose the better part of a weekend going down that rabbit hole).
But so is the music. The nods to hundred different sources. The incredible voices. The (unseen) pit musicians, playing do furiously that you can't even imagine what it's like down there, but you can feel the energy coming up through the spinning floorboards.
And the staging — the corps representing a hundred different moments, always in motion (except when they need to be perfectly still), surrounding the main characters. The performances of the main characters, each one so very precise and different from each other yet fitting together so well that you can't possibly imagine the show in any other iteration than you are seeing at that very moment. You fall a a little bit in love with every one of them every minute.
The visual impact, where the entire story just maybe could be told through the lighting design. Or that set, which has its own pop-up card sold with the mercy. Or the costumes...
So when you ask me if Hamilton lived up to my expectations, I have to answer no. Because there is no way I could have imagined the magnitude of it. There is honestly no other way to describe it except life-changing. It both makes me believe in the power of theatre and simultaneously despair, because nothing else could possibly be that good.
To Lin-Manuel Miranda, and the entire cast and artistic crew, thank you.