One of the things which I have realised when writing these blogs, and then reading back throughout our series, is that I will usually talk a lot about experiences, whereas Darren will usually talk about his passions and what he enjoys. That’s not to say we both don’t talk about the other as well, but it just seems that one of us will focus on one topic more than the other. However, this time, due to what I am going to focus on, I thought it would be good to share a passion of mine.
I love theatre.
To be able to go to London West End, or any theatre for that matter, is a real joy for me. To be able to be within that space for 2 or 3 hours, immersed in a completely different world, usually full of bright lights, amazing characters and, dependent on the show, loud and impactful music. I like to see plays, to see actors bringing a story to life, but for me a musical cannot be beaten.
I’ve seen many musicals throughout my life, and the majority of them having actually been only within the last 5-6 years. Each of them always brings something different to the table, a new story, a range of characters and a powerful soundtrack. It always makes it difficult to pick which I really feel is my favourite. I don’t feel it would be right to tell you all of this, without putting somewhere within here a list of all I’ve seen, so here it goes and I don’t think I’ve missed any…(Those at the end and in italic are London West End shows but not a musical):
Rent, Joseph, Godspell, The Lion King, Rocky Horror Show, Wicked, Mary Poppins, School of Rock, Eugenius, Mamma Mia, The Christmasaurus, Wonderland, Aladdin, Matilda, Summer Holiday, Kinky Boots, Les Miserables, Dear Evan Hansen, Waitress, Hamilton, War Horse, Blood Brothers, Harry Potter & the Cursed Child
If someone told me I had to pick a top 5, I would really struggle.
At this moment in time it would look something like
5. Waitress 4. Kinky Boots 3. Wicked 2. Dear Evan Hansen
and sitting at the top spot in number 1 would be Hamilton.
However, this would change in every conversation I would have, the only one that would stay pretty set is my number 1… Hamilton, and that is why that is today’s focus.
Hamilton is the story of American Founding Father, Alexander Hamilton. It follows his life as he tackles his ascent out of poverty into power and his relationships with those around him, against the backdrop of the American War of Independence.
I don’t know why this musical, written and composed by Lin-Manuel Miranda, had so much more of an impact on me than others have. I don’t know if maybe it’s the different style it’s done, the basic scenery, the quick moving action, and the soundtrack based all around a hip-hop styling. But from the moment I heard this soundtrack, I was hooked. For weeks and weeks, I tried to get tickets to see it in London, and finally in December 2018 I was sat in the Victoria Palace Theatre being in ‘the room where it happened’!
It did not disappoint, it was so impactful, so many emotions were running throughout me and I just wanted to see it again.
Well this year, not only was I given the opportunity to see it again, but so was everyone else around the world on Disney+. However, this time watching it felt different. I wasn’t just spotting the amazing things around the production, but I was seeing the finer details. The emotions, the meanings, the real story behind it.
We see Hamilton’s rise throughout his life, we see his ups and his downs, as well as how it affects all those around him. But without Lin-Manuel Miranda, without him reading the book by Ron Chernow which he based the musical on, none of this would have been able. We wouldn’t have seen any of Hamilton’s life, and for most people, Alexander Hamilton would continue to be an unknown name which we may not have heard.
A line repeated throughout the show is ‘Who lives, who dies, who tells your story’ and we were lucky. We were told Hamilton’s story. Based on the writings of his wife, Eliza, we managed to see glimpses into his life.
But although this musical may be fun, although it may be exciting to watch, it also shows us that we shouldn’t throw away our shot, as we’re told in the show. Everything we do, we don’t know who it can leave a mark with, or the difference it can make. All opportunities which we have in our lives are good ones, whether we feel it or not, as it gives us all learning opportunities. If everything was great and smooth sailing within our lives, we wouldn’t be able to learn and work towards our goals in life. The good moments are only good, because they’re highlighted by the bad. So don’t take any opportunities for granted, because whether you feel it or not, all of the chances we are given, all of the experiences we have, they all build up to something because everyone is made for greatness in their own way.
I am the one thing in life I can control
– Aaron Burr (In the song 'Wait For it')
I want to leave you with that message. You are in control of your life. You can say yes or no. But I would encourage you to take all opportunities if you can, and don’t let anyone put you down, because you never know the impact you’re having.
However big or small an opportunity may be - Take your shot. Share your story. Create your own ‘Hamilton’.
This week’s resource…
Can be found: Disney+
About: Hamilton, An American Musical, is the story of American Founding Father, Alexander Hamilton. It follows his life as he tackles his ascent out of poverty into power and his relationships with those around him, against the backdrop of the American War of Independence. Written and Composed by Lin-Manuel Miranda.