Home > Entertainment, Family, Music > Wait for It

Wait for It

Same as every other Sunday, my family began our weekly shopping early.

Unlike most Sundays, we first stopped by the bookstore so I could buy a hard copy of Ready Player One (upon multiple recommendations).

On our way to the cash register, my husband, Anthony, pointed out one particular display to me: “Hey, it’s the book that inspired Hamilton.”

If you’d asked me three months ago whether I’d read a book on Alexander Hamilton for fun, I’d have said no, but only after laughing. A lot.

Then, two months ago, one of the bloggers I follow posted links to a couple of songs from a show called Hamilton. I can’t even remember which one I listened to or who posted it (so sorry!/thank you!), but I clicked through to one of the songs and listened. Anthony quickly joined me at my computer and we listened together.

“How have I not heard of this?” I asked him, as if I’ve watched more than a single musical (Wicked) live. Anthony’s the musical lover in this house.

I didn’t think much more of it until two weeks ago, when Anthony pointed out the soundtrack available at the register.

We set a copy on the conveyor belt and began listening to the first disc immediately when we got in the car.

“Did this really happen?!” exclaimed our six-year-old from the back.

“Yes, sweetie. These things happened … not in these words, exactly, but these are how we can imagine them based on what we know,” I told him.

We only got to listen to the first five or six songs before reaching home, but we were captivated.

I listened to the remainder of the soundtrack driving to work the next couple of days. I wept first to “Wait for It,” track 13 on the first disc, but cried through several more songs on the second disc.

I felt vaguely guilty, not waiting to share the experience with Anthony, but there was no way I was waiting with those discs tantalizing me from my passenger seat. I already knew I’d listen to them several times, beside, and that we’d share it before long.

I listened two times through before Anthony and I resumed listening together last weekend.

Yesterday, having benefited from a date afternoon courtesy my sister Amelia, Anthony and I finished our lunch before driving around near our home long enough to finish listening all the way through together.

(There were zero dry eyes in the car, not that you needed me to tell me that.)

Before awakening this morning, then, I dreamed I was flying to New York to take in Hamilton there. It’s coming to Los Angeles, sure, but it won’t be here for more. than. a. year.

Me on my second visit to NYC, back in law school

Me on my second visit to NYC, back in law school

When I awakened, I checked–with Anthony’s blessing–on New York ticket prices. They are well outside our price range, so that my accountant self had to restrain the rest of myself against the very real urge to pay $700 per ticket for my family.

The thought I’d be so deeply entranced by a musical would have had me laughing three months ago. A historical musical? My laughter would’ve been all the more incredulous! I’ve had to sit through several history classes in my life, after all, and knew far too well that history was boring things done by boring people many, many boring years ago. “History” meant matching those boring events to specific dates, and hoping I’d remembered those dates well enough to pass each test.

Listening to Hamilton, history is alive and present. It’s far from boring; so much so that even a six-year-old, surprised, would ask, “Did this really happen?!”

Seeing history–and Hamilton–in this different light, with no expectation I remember specific dates, has been invigorating. It’s not only made me so desirous of seeing the musical that I dream it, but made me so much more intrigued by history outside the bounds of high school lessons.

It’s made me wonder how I can make the subject of history more engaging and interactive for my sons than it ever was for me. If I have to write songs to do it, so be it! I’m nowhere near as skilled at songwriting or storytelling as Hamilton‘s author and Hamilton actor, Lin-Manuel Miranda, but I’ll surely get better with practice! Visiting historical sites? Reenactment? I’ll do that, too.

So, today, I bought the book Hamilton after standing in a bookstore walkway chuckling at historical segments anything but dry, hearing in my head the songs Miranda wrote inspired by the book.

And I walked away from that bookstore with my own copy in my bag, excited to learn more about Hamilton, history … and engaging kids in history that is so much more complex and fascinating than matching dates to events.

"Oh, Deefy. You take such silly pictures." -- my husband, today

“Oh, Deefy. You take such silly pictures.” — my husband, today

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  1. May 8, 2016 at 12:58 pm

    Ready Player One is an amazing book!! I’ve heard a lot about Hamilton and watched some clips and interviews. I hope to see it myself, but it’s apparently sold out for the next two months!

    • May 8, 2016 at 1:01 pm

      Anthony’s been recommending Ready Player One for a couple of years, but I’ve kept saying “oh, maybe next week” until Victo Dolore also recommended it this morning. We’d already planned on a bookstore trip this morning, but without a specific book in mind.

      Writing this post, I searched youtube for the imageless songs posted a couple months back. Someone had posted lyric videos including captures from the show, so that I sat watching those few videos with goosebumps and tearful eyes. Never have I been so moved by anything theatrical that the listening alone has moved me so!

      The tickets Anthony and I found were scalped/resale tickets. All the non-accountant parts of myself were shouting, “It’s worth it!” but the rest of me was pretty adamant that seeing it here at home for a fraction the cost will be worth the wait. 🙂

  2. May 8, 2016 at 1:03 pm

    I have always been interested in history (an interest I am lucky to share with both my partner, my father and a couple of friends) but I think it is a challenge to make history accessible and interesting to children (and therefore the adults they grow into). I am glad you have found something that has ignited that fire in your family.

    • May 8, 2016 at 1:05 pm

      My younger brother has always loved history, so much so that he’d nab my history books and read them for fun, but I never felt that way. Now that I do, I mean to find ways to build upon it. I feel so hopeful, like anything is possible, listening to what’s past and knowing what all happens now will be part of what kids in the future listen to as they try contemplating what all came before …

      • May 8, 2016 at 1:18 pm

        I wish you all much joy and leaning on you journey.

  3. May 8, 2016 at 1:30 pm

    Woohoo!!!!! I am so glad you got Ready Player One AND Hamilton. Not sure why I feel so validated by these purchases of yours but there it is. I do!

    • May 8, 2016 at 1:36 pm

      The fact you recommended it this morning made all the difference! I was glad to have the chance to pick up another book, but not so excited to do so wholly up to chance. When you posted your comment about RPO earlier, I was like, man, this is a sign. So I bought it and Anthony said, “You’ll read it in a sitting or two!” I told him I didn’t want to read it that quickly, but savor it … and then quickly remembered I’d still have several hundred pages of Alexander Hamilton to read. 😀 😀 😀

  4. May 8, 2016 at 3:32 pm

    We were taught history as dates, rulers and battles. And it bored me to sobs. Much, much later I learned to look at it as a snapshot into people’s lives. And have been hooked every since (the dates and the rulers still often escape me though).

    • May 29, 2016 at 2:33 pm

      I’m about 300 pages into Alexander Hamilton, the biography that inspired the musical. I find it so riveting I have to read lighter, less agitating fare at bedtime … I’d never have believed that possible based on my prior perceptions of history, which were based on history lessons similar to yours!

  5. May 9, 2016 at 6:24 am

    Howdy, Deb!! Now I’m intrigued! I’ve heard great things about Hamilton and want to see it. Fortunately, Manhattan is drivable for us, but $700 a ticket?! Yikes!!
    Hope you and your family are doing well. I’m finally checking blogs in the 2.3 seconds that the baby naps! I might even get to drink a cup of coffee! 🙂 Take care!

    • May 11, 2016 at 8:12 am

      Always remember that you are that little baby’s hero, the little cutie just can’t tell you that yet. Also, I hear you on that cry for coffee! Why is there not a coffee shop that delivers? If there already is one then why do I not know about it? Anyway, you rock for being a mom and I agree that coffee is a must in all walks of life 😀

      • May 12, 2016 at 3:37 pm

        Wouldn’t it be great if Amazon had a Dash button for Starbucks? You push it and within 15 mins they’re knocking at your door! 🙂
        Thank you for your nice comment. I’m actually that sweet baby’s Nana. I get to watch him while my daughter and son-in-law work. I’m very lucky. 🙂

        • May 13, 2016 at 6:50 am

          We should write amazon a letter about that dash button and you’re your baby’s hero. She’s just a bit older than I though 😀

    • May 29, 2016 at 2:35 pm

      I love it! I love seeing your name and imagining you taking care of a grandchild! What a wonderful world it is. 🙂

      As far as Hamilton, I’ve been thinking of writing another post. The entire musical’s soundtrack is available on YouTube, so that I’ve listened to portions of it at work when I couldn’t listen to my own albums. I know it might be discomfiting to some to listen without the visuals, but for others … I think they might find heart and mind moved far, as were mine!

      • May 31, 2016 at 6:17 am

        Thank you, Deborah! You inspired my post this morning with your comment. Being a Nana is an adventure. I feel like I notice so much more than I did with my own daughters. This is probably because I’m not quite as sleep deprived!
        I’m off to check out YouTube!

  6. May 9, 2016 at 6:49 am

    I love history and in the context of genealogy, it becomes accessible and personal. I’m always finding new and surprising ways my ancestors are connected to historical events.

    • May 29, 2016 at 2:36 pm

      I remember looking up some of my ancestors on a trial genealogy site access during law school. It was kinda exciting to envision what had preceded me. Then the trial membership lapsed, and my interest faded in the scope of so many other things to do …

      It’s exciting to be seeing a broader picture now. 🙂

  7. May 10, 2016 at 10:28 am

    I really need to get with the cool kids and learn more about Hamilton. Everyone is talking about him. I am just so out of step with the times. Maybe this summer, when the days get long and I’m not taking allergy meds. That’s my plan.

    • May 29, 2016 at 2:38 pm

      I don’t know about the cool-kids part, but I do know I’ve loved listening! Truly, we’d only heard the one song before we bought the album at the grocery store. Listening was such a treat that we’ve become fans without the watching, based only–initially–on song clips from a single blog a few months ago. It’s also available on YouTube, so that I’ve listened to bits of it there. I’d highly recommend the listening, even without the watching. It’s invigorated my heart and imagination so much that we’ve already bought tickets for here when it comes around, and that my physical world library is expanded to include fare related. 🙂

  8. May 11, 2016 at 8:09 am

    I’m in chorus at my school and guess what song we are singing at graduation!
    [insert crazy guesses here] We’re singing It’s Quiet Uptown from the musical Hamilton and becasue of that I looked up the music from the musical. No spoilers guys because I have yet to see the musical or read the book. However, I have now made it a life goal to both see the musical and read the book. Hamilton here I come . . . hopefully soon!

    • May 29, 2016 at 2:41 pm

      Have you already sung? If not, when is it you’ll be singing?! I awakened this morning humming this. I’ve listened to it tearfully in my car several times already, and have no doubt I’ll listen many times more.

      Have you listened to the musical on YouTube yet? It’s delightful, even without watching! I’m less than halfway through the biography that inspired the musical, and just bought my next up (related) read today.

      I’m still astonished and delighted that somebody could make music bringing something so … historically … bland to such modern, exuberant, emotional life!

      • August 9, 2016 at 5:12 am

        Sorry I didn’t reply in time, I use my school laptop to use wordpress. so when school is out I pretty much can’t get on. If any other Hamilton related events happen I’ll try to let you know ahead of time though 😀

  9. May 11, 2016 at 3:19 pm

    I was so blessed by a history teacher in high school! He introduced me to “source literature” and how to find it — the actual words written, the letters sent, the journals kept at whatever point in history, by the people making history. “Hamilton” uses source literature fantastically well! Add the music and it’s sublime!!! What a wonderful way to learn history!!!!

    • May 29, 2016 at 2:42 pm

      Indeed! I’ve been writing bits and pieces of songs as I drive, hoping to inspire Li’l D! Happily, he already seems inspired by bits of history interwoven with science … I hope I can help build upon that!

      And, oh! I’m going to keep on dreaming I’ll get to see Hamilton before it leaves Broadway, even if it is much more likely I’ll end up seeing it here on the Left Coast first!

  10. May 13, 2016 at 7:38 am

    I love the last pic of you. It’s great! I am a musical lover and am so jealous you got to see Wicked in NewYork. I think I will have to make a library run and check this book out. Great post/review/selfie share💜

    • May 29, 2016 at 2:44 pm

      I saw Wicked in L.A., but it was still fantabulous. 🙂

      Anthony and I bought season tickets for next year’s musicals here. I’m super stoked to see them, and in one season to triple the number of musicals seen in my whole life!

      (The book is so captivating I have to set it aside at bedtime, sometimes, because it’ll rev me up too much to sleep otherwise. Never before would I have anticipated that happening!)

  11. June 11, 2016 at 10:37 am

    Deb, Deb…Deb!!! Hamilton is coming to ME for the 2017-2018 theatre season! (As in the Fox here in STL) so I won’t have to buy plane tickets too! I just thought I would share that with you. Because it’s exciting!!!!

  1. May 13, 2016 at 6:24 pm
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