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In case you don’t know, Hamilton is Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Broadway musical based on Rod Chernow’s biography of Alexander Hamilton. It takes a non-traditional approach for a play about a bunch of dead white people; most of the cast is nonwhite and the music features a lot of hip-hop. It is very well reviewed and incredibly hard to get tickets (unless you are rich, famous, or lucky). If you’re reading this, you have an internet connection, so how could you not know about Hamilton? If my twitter, tumblr, and facebook feeds are any indication, Hamilton is the only thing people wouldn’t shut up about this year. In fact, I’m posting this on New Year’s Eve as a concession to the fact that the last thing the world needs is another thinkpiece about Hamilton. This won’t even be the best late year think piece about Hamilton that concedes that it’s written by yet another person who won’t shut up about Hamilton.
And yet even though I know no one wants to or maybe even should read this, I was lucky enough to see Hamilton this month and it touched me in such a way that I feel compelled to add to the pile of words spilled about this show. This best way to quantify how strong it affected me is to describe how much I cried. I am not a crier. I don’t say this to sound tough becaused I am decidedly not tough; this is just a fact about me. I teared up a little when my wife and I had to put down our cat Professor and when my sister-in-law’s childhood friend gave a speech at said sister-in-law’s wedding about my wife’s late Grandma (who I spent a considerable amount of time with in her final years), but I can’t actually remember a time I’ve cried in the last decade. By the end of Hamilton, I was sobbing uncontrollably.
Why did it touch me so?