Good people of the revolution – and King George,
My name is Robert, but you can all me The Hook. (Everyone else does.)
On Wednesday, the fifth of April, my daughter and I did journey from our humble home in Niagara Falls, Canada, to the great sprawling metropolis known as New York to view your production concerning the life and turbulent times of one Alexander Hamilton. It was a journey that began many months earlier when my daughter, with the permission of her mother, began to save the moneys she accumulated by laboring as a hostess in order to afford the sum of two thousand Canadian dollars to spend an evening with you.
It was an evening etched in our collective memory.
But first some background is necessary. My daughter’s privacy is invaluable so I will be brief, but know this: my child was bullied relentlessly until she reached high school. Now she is eighteen and has shed more tears than a person three times her age. She has felt like an outsider her entire life as she has searched for a place to belong, a cause to make her feel welcomed. So great has her suffering been that it has manifested itself in a medical condition that normally affects less than 2% of females.
But she has found a light to guide her through the darkness.
Each of you emitted a ray of that collective light the night we watched you perform.
Several flight delays and a cancellation threatened to keep us from New York that day but my pleas to the airline allowed us to prevail and reach our destination. A smile wider than any I’ve ever seen began to form on my daughter’s face when we arrived on Broadway hours before showtime and it grew even wider when we finally took our seats. And when the show itself came to life?
I watched an ember glow to life in my progeny’s eyes as Alexander Hamilton told the tale of his beginnings. That ember became a series of sparks when Mad King George bandied about the stage spouting gibberish. Those sparks became a roaring fire when Philip Hamilton met his untimely and tragic end. That roaring fire became a raging inferno when Eliza laments her losses and vows to live on for her fallen son and husband.
My daughter and I answered the call when you asked for donations for the less fortunate and our contributions were repaid a thousand-fold when four of your company emerged from the stage door and signed autographs and posed for pictures. My child was far too star-struck to tell any of you just how much your efforts meant to her. She could not find the words to express the impact watching Hamilton has had on her soul.
So I’ll speak for her.
To Sarah, Hamilton is a tale of an outsider’s quest for friendship – which he achieves one night in a tavern after meeting the man who will become his adversary and ultimately, his executioner.
To my child, Hamilton is the story of an immigrant’s struggle to rise far above his meager station – which he does after serving under one of his new country’s greatest leaders.
To my daughter, Hamilton is a recounting of one man’s search for love – which he finds in the arms of a woman who never truly wavers in her devotion and children, one of whom is literally willing to die for his father.
To my progeny, Hamilton is all this and so much more. She has been consumed by the writings of Alexander himself. Every tome concerning your production adorns her shelf at home. The cast recording now sits in an honored location in our mini-van. (Trust me, that’s more of an honor than you’d think; my “Best of Hall and Oates” compilation CD didn’t make the cut.) Sarah spent over three American hundred dollars on Hamilton merchandise at the pop-up shop – and had to hold herself back from cashing in our tickets home to purchase more.
The fire you lit in my child began to smolder long before she arrived at the Richard Rodgers Theatre, but it overwhelmed her when she witnessed your collective brilliance for herself.
That fire still burns though, if she could, my child would watch you perform every day for the rest of her life.
And I would happily join her.
So from the bottom of my frozen Canadian heart, thank you all. And to Lin, who will always be at the heart of every performance, you have my undying respect and admiration, good sir.