The Hamilton Experience - Part 2
Waiting in line for tickets - We Get the Job Done
The minute we got off the plane we went to see Spamilton, a satire show based on Hamilton. What a treat! We were finally surrounded by people who knew what Hamilton was. We were planning to go to the theatre and ask around to see at what time we should wake up the following day to hit the cancellation line (after a thorough research we placed our bets on the safest option) and have an actual shot at scoring tickets, but we didn’t have enough time. Luckily, sitting next to us was a woman from Chicago who had already been through this and not only did she share her experience with us, but she also gave us a few tips since she was staying near the theatre and had seen the current lines. Long story short, being a holiday and all, we wanted to be there early. So, on December 26th, at around 6 AM, we were on our way to the Rodgers Theatre.
At a distance, we made out four to five people already there. Two girls, who were total pros and had brought sleeping bags with them, had arrived at 5 AM. Later we would find out that they had made a deal with someone on-line and they were queuing in exchange for a ticket and this was going to be their 10th time seeing the show. We were hopeful, but we’re not sure how we would have reacted if they had made it in and not us. It doesn’t seem fair, even if they did put effort into it. There was another girl wrapped in a throw blanket who came from out of state, she later learned about the deal these other girls had made and somehow found someone to pay for her ticket as well. Then, there were two teens, siblings, who arrived minutes before we did and were also getting tickets for their parents, which meant that they were all getting two tickets each and we were 11th and 12th in line. Still trying to be hopeful, but we were getting a little worried after doing the math. We weren’t going to be completely sure until the last minute and that was nerve-racking. At around 9 AM, more people came and stood behind us. They thought that it was possible to buy tickets right after the box office opened, yet when we told them how it worked, some gave up and left, and others decided to spend thousands of dollars on the best tickets that became available. At 10 AM, a family from Texas, two men from California, a guy from China and another family from Georgia joined the line and we all became line buddies.
We shared stories of where we came from and how Hamilton had made it into our lives. Claudia, from Texas, is a Spanish teacher whose parents came to the States from Mexico. She was on holidays with her husband and their teenage son, but he had no interest in seeing the musical. Can you imagine? The girl from Georgia could not wrap her mind around this fact. Unfortunately, her family decided to leave the line and try to get tickets for another show. She was so heart-broken. The guy from China was doing this solely for the experience; it turns out that in China it is not allowed to queue.
We wondered if Lin knows the monster he has created in this sense. We couldn’t have been from more different backgrounds and we were all sharing our life stories in the streets of New York and all because of a Broadway show. One of the men from California had also migrated years ago when the 1990’s Balkan Wars erupted and then we got to meet his family. We can’t even begin to tell you how moving it was to hear him talk about his daughter’s achievements, soon off to college, knowing that in a few weeks Trump was going to take office and, with the stroke of a pen, simply erase the brightest of futures for many refugees like them.
Time went by so fast, we took turns to go to the bathroom and we went on coffee (and soup) runs every other hour since it was freezing. At last, someone from the box office came out to tell us that on average they were expecting to release 16 tickets that day. We couldn’t believe our luck, we were all getting in! Ana’s hands -her whole body, actually- was shaking, and it wasn’t because of the cold, when at 5 PM they called the first few people in the line. They all got the unclaimed lottery tickets from the front rows. We were next. We stood in the front of the line, not knowing when they were going to call us nor how long it would take for us to pay, get to our seats and let it all sink in before the first chords were played. Those who had tickets were queuing next to us and looked at us as if we were freaks. Others asked how long it had been since we were waiting and if we were getting tickets. They cheered us on when we were finally called inside.
We had no idea what tickets we were getting; we just paid and went in. We still had 10 minutes to spare, so Mariel went to the bathroom. Ana just paced from one side of the room to the other, waiting for her. When we got to our seats, our jaws dropped. We had a view of the whole stage, front and center, the best view we’ve ever had in a theatre. We took a couple of pictures of the stage. People around us were laughing at our excitement. The couple sitting behind us offered to take our picture and then, the King announcement came on urging us to turn off our phones during the performance.
Watching the musical - What’d I Miss?
Mariel rarely sleeps on a plane and is yet very good at skipping jet lag altogether -maybe not sleeping on the plane is actually the trick. However, not being able to sleep much the night after arriving did not work in her favour. Throughout the day, the excitement beat the cold, the hunger, the tiredness, the stiffness in her back. And after so many hours of waiting, it was finally time to enjoy the show! She was full of adrenaline and nothing would break her.
The first act was incredible. She sang along to each and every song and put her back in to it particularly for The Schuyler Sisters and Satisfied. How did they make it here again? Well, maybe if there hadn’t been an intermission this would have continued… the final song of Act I is called Non-Stop after all. But the last 48hs had finally taken its toll and no matter how much she tried to keep going the adrenaline wore off; throughout Act II her body slowly caved in and her eyelids just kept fluttering shut. She finally decided she would choose the songs she would draw her final effort to be awake for and took tiny naps in the ones she didn’t feel so terrible about missing out. It was a bit sad to make it all the way there just to become sleeping beauty, but I guess you have to pick your battles and she’s always been good at prioritizing. Philip didn’t manage to blow her away but she did get to hear who told their story.
Back to reality after the show - What Comes Next?
After the musical, we went to have a drink. Ana wanted to have a pint of Sam Adams –because, when in Rome, why not– and we just sat there in silence, staring into space. We don’t know if it was because we were tired, physically and emotionally drained, or if we were still processing what had happened… Truth be told, it was an extremely cathartic experience. Being in New York after the 2016 election, getting to know all the amazing people we met in the line, getting to clap our hands until they hurt when the lyrics “immigrants, we get the job done” were sung and celebrating a woman like Eliza Hamilton, it was as if we, as citizens of the world, were able to have a platform to express our support in a time when it’s most needed. It truly meant a lot to us, to be there at this specific moment in history. Ana might never have dared had it not been for Mariel’s determination and conviction, which so desperately made her want to be there and experience it in the flesh. We are always planning the next trip, and we hope to see Hamilton in London at one point. Dream big or go home, right?