This Is 50: I Was in the Room Where It Happened!

Unless you’ve been living under a rock lo these last few years, you’ve heard of Hamilton! The Musical. I admit I was a little late to the party when it came to the soundtrack, but I more than made up for it once I started listening to it. Put it this way: I had to institute my own 12-step program to wean myself off of it. Just talking about it right now makes me want to queue it up. Hold on a sec …

Anyway, yeah. Hamilton. Once I heard the soundtrack, there was little I wanted more than to see it performed live. Of course, everyone else wanted to see it, too. Even Espen, who hates musicals, was willing to come along.

But then we checked ticket prices. When you start looking at prices and get to the point when you say, “I found some for $600 each … that’s not bad,” TICKET PRICES ARE TOO FUCKING HIGH! So I gave up the hope of seeing it and instead worked to convince myself that there was no way the actual musical could be as good as the production I had going on in my head. It worked. Mostly. And when my dear friend Neva and and her wife, Jill, managed to get tickets, I swallowed my envy and wished them well. Neva’s messages during intermission about how awesome it was made me really happy for her despite my personal feelings of resignation. Like Angelica, I would never be satisfied.

But as they say, never say never. Turns out that it was so good that Neva wanted to see it again. And this time, she explained, she wanted to see it with me. So she and Jill treated me to a weekend in New York City as a combination 50th birthday present and going-away present. Turns out that I was actually going to have my shot!

Back during my birthday party when Neva proposed this trip, she asked if we could schedule it after June. Our flight to Norway was scheduled for July 15. That left just one weekend for this adventure … one weekend before I was scheduled to make the biggest move of my life. But for Hamilton?! Yo! There was no way I was going to miss that! I hadn’t given notice with my employer that I would be moving. Heck, I had yet to even plan a visit with my parents and family for our own goodbyes! No matter. I decided that things would work out fine and that a weekend in NYC to see Hamilton would be an excellent way to bid farewell to the U.S. of A.

Spoiler alert: It was.

“I have good news and bad news,” she warned when she emailed me about the tickets. “The bad news is that I couldn’t get three tickets together. The good news is that I don’t think you’ll care.” Man was she was right. This was my view of the stage:

Stage

Jill sacrificed sitting closer to the center so that the two old friends could sit closer together. Neva’s seat was directly behind mine. We were chatting back and forth when something amazing happened. The guy sitting beside me asked Neva if she wanted to trade seats with him so we could sit together. Who does that? This dude moved back a row just so we could sit together! I had to take a photo of him as proof that angels exist.

Angel

I don’t even have the words to describe the musical itself. But I will say this: That I managed to not sing every song out loud and dance around the Rodgers Theatre is nothing short of a miracle. There was so. Much. Lip-synching! I was shameless. I could not have cared less how I looked! And yeah … there were some tears too. Yes, I’m that chick who cries at a musical. What can I say? I was helpless!

The rest of the weekend was equally memorable. There was our delicious dinner at Ilili that Friday night followed by drinks on the roof of our hotel.  There was the tour through Hamilton’s house, where we were joined by Victoria, another one of my longtime friends. Neva got to meet Joanne B. Freeman, one of her literary heroes, and Jill got to scratch off high tea at the Russian Tea Room from her bucket list.

It was an extraordinary weekend. I knew it would blow us all away, but I had no idea how much.

And lest anyone feel sorry for Espen, my right hand man who I left behind on the last weekend before our big move abroad so I could galavant around Manhattan to see Hamilton, rest assured that he was partaking in his joy-bringing equivalent: hiking up a mountain on the Appalachian Trail. Should we have stayed home to take care of some last-minute details, including working a little harder to get rid of more furniture? Probably. Do we have any regrets for having fun instead? Nope.

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