The Broadway show Hamilton began to seep into our lives through our ten-year-old daughter, one staccato rap couplet at a time. Pretty soon she had a whole song. Then another and another. She was Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr, Lafayette and George Washington, famous sisters Angelica and Eliza Schuyler, Hamilton’s wife. Choreography followed and then of course, the pulsing red desire to PLEEEEEEEASE SEE THE SHOW.
Problem is the tickets are so in demand that they’ve been scooped up by third party vendors who sell at top prices. (We’re talking 4 digit prices.)
Yes, we enter the Ham Lottery every day. (For $10 a piece, two lucky winners a day are ushered into front row seats in an endorphin-soaked daze. We actually know someone who won!) No, our kid can’t miss school to sleep out overnight in front of the theater for days on end with the encampment of others on the show’s ticket cancellation line.
What she can do, we agreed, is earn her way in.
Lemonade stands and busking in Central Park didn’t do it. But was there another way for our daughter and two Hamiltoniac friends to go?
Kickstarter! And while they were at it, the three fifth graders found a worthy cause to donate any extra proceeds—a theater project for kids, 52nd Street Project. The girls have come up with worthwhile “rewards” for their backers including an On-the-Road-to-Hamilton Diary bursting with tales and images of the wild up’s and down’s of their journey, and for big donors a pen-and-ink old-fashioned “Hamilton-style” personal letter or an original rap song.
When he first saw Rent, the long-running, game-changing rock musical based on La Boheme set in downtown New York City, Lin-Manuel Miranda, creator of Hamilton says that it was as if a starter pistol went off in his head. A young, fledging musical theater, rap-obsessed playwright at the time, Miranda says that Rent gave him permission to “write musicals about what you know in the present. It’s fair game.”
Rent was Miranda’s creative tipping point.
In life we get only so many creative tipping points…if we see them. If we seize them. We’re hoping, even though they’re young, that for our daughter and her friends and the kids whose love of theater they’re supporting that seeing Hamilton is one in a long series of creative tipping points.
We’re their future audience.