waving through a window

ben platt won a tony the other night! it was incredible. he’s done so well this season. unrelated intros aside, hello. welcome back. welcome for the first time. i like musicals and apparently write about my new favourite during tony season. COOL.

dear evan hansen is an incredible musical. it’s about a kid, evan hansen, who draws very much into himself. he gets caught up in a lie that changes a lot and hurts a lot, and is just…a lot. here’s the trailer:

in one of the earliest songs in the musical, “waving through a window”, we learn about evan & his strategy for getting through. we learn about how saying something means nothing if nobody hears you. we learn about his experience as an outsider, and it hurts. it’s relatable – too much so. if you’ve never been an evan, you know an evan. it hurts.

step out, step out of the sun if you keep getting burned. step out, step out of the sun, because you’ve learned.  it’s strange how this lyric connected with me, but mostly because i do the exact opposite. who? self preservation?

giphy

on a slightly darker note (as expected), there’s a part of the song during which evan talks about falling out of a tree. he broke is arm, but (SPOILER SORRY) he didn’t just fall from the tree. evan tries to kill himself by falling from a tree. he says:

when you’re falling in a forest                                     did i even make a sound
and there’s nobody around                                           did i even make a sound
do you ever really crash                                                it’s like i never made a sound
or even make a sound?                                                  will i ever make a sound?

it makes me question the nature of suffering. george berkeley famously asked, if a tree falls in the forest and there is no one around to hear it, does it still make a sound? if you’re suffering and nobody sees you, are you still suffering? the nature of suffering is isolating and lonely. it has the power to turn everything into insignificance. it’s sad. it’s like i never made a sound, will i ever make a sound?

evan asks, “will i ever be more than i’ve always been”? and i wonder the same about myself. is there more? we all start off thinking there is, but for some of us, that disappears as we grow. every sun doesn’t rise, and we’re left wondering what happened to us. nobody tells you where you went wrong.

i think yes. i think there’s more. i think that despite waving through a window and having nobody see you, receiving no response, seemingly not making a sound…i think that you will be found. if a tree falls in the forest and there’s no one around to hear it, it still makes a sound. that was my answer to berkeley’s question when i was 9, it was my answer during first year philosophy, and it’s my answer now.

you are not alone. if you fall, you will be found. you are not alone.

love and light,
shalom xo

ALEXANDER HAMILTON

This is the Hamilton post I’ve been talking about. I am far too excited to write this.

If you live in the US, you probably thought he was a president for a while. He’s the guy on your ten. You most likely had no idea where he was born, or that he was a bastard, orphan, and son of a whore. Not before Lin-Manuel Miranda & the amazing cast and crew of Hamilton The Musical shared Lin’s extensive (like, six years extensive) hard work and creative genius with the world at The Public Theatre, on Broadway, at the Grammys AND AT THE WHITE HOUSE.

(skip through to 8:50 to see the performance.)

Hamilton is a history Broadway rap musical about the life and work of founding father Alexander Hamilton. A lot of those words shouldn’t go together in a sentence. Briefly, Hamilton is the best thing to happen to the theatre business in a long time, the hardest ticket to get your hands on for the next year and a half, and also really fucking amazing.

Watch the video. For real. Just watch it.

Okay SO. When Lin-Manuel Miranda – the Tony, Grammy and Emmy award winning writer, actor, librettist and genius – thought that the first Secretary of the Treasury of the US embodied the very essence of hip-hop, a lot of people thought he was crazy. Most of those people supported him anyway, because they’re not stupid. And because they know that Lin’s a genius. I’m a big LMM fan. Can you tell?

I learned about Hamilton in November 2015, thanks to tumblr. (Thanks, tumblr.) I had heard about In The Heights (which I’m listening to as I type this), Lin’s first musical the same way. After my final drama exam in November 2015, I ran on the street yelling about my unemployment, slept over at a friend’s house, and got the cast album.

HOLY COW.

landscape-1436381491-cosmo-august-15-hamilton-5

Burr (Leslie Odom Jr) and Hamilton (Lin-Manuel Miranda). Cosmopolitan.

Hamilton is just. UGH. I’m gaggingly awful at doing reviews of things that I love. From the first song, the musical is a fast paced whirlwind – some might even call it a Hurricane. (that’s a Hamilton pun you won’t get unless you’ve heard Hamilton.) I’m super grateful for the cast recording – the musical is sung through, so there are no scenes in between the numbers. Just…some force of crazy magic propelling the cast, chorus & Betsy Struxness (the chorus member who is just…pure…magic?). Hamilton makes the hip hop heads reconsider musical theatre, and makes musical theatre nerds start listening to rap.

 

1035x679-HamiltonBway0341r-Daveed-Diggs-as-Thomas-Jefferson-and-the-ensemble-of-HAMILTON.jpg

That guy in the purple? That’s Thomas Jefferson. (Daveed Diggs) Joan Marcus.

The founding fathers in the musical don’t look like the ones on the money. Daveed Diggs as Thomas Jefferson has much, much better hair. With a cast of black, Latino and Asian-American founding fathers & their phenomenally strong female counterparts, Hamilton does something that seems extraordinary, but is quite simple at the core: “This is a story about America then, told by America now“.

hamilton-musical-broadway-03.jpg

From left to right (and their names): Thomas Jefferson (Daveed Diggs); James Madison (Okieriete Onaodowan); George Washington (Christopher Jackson); Peggy Schuyler (Jasmine Cephas-Jones); Angelica Schuyler (Renee Elise Goldsberry); Eliza Schuyler Hamilton (Phillipa Soo); Phillip Hamilton (Anthony Ramos)

Alexander Hamilton was a crazy, non-stop workaholic. Like, write 51 essays with a quill and ink in 6 months. HAMILTON WROTE THE OTHER FIFTY ONE. Lin, like Hamilton, has this awareness of mortality and the need to live, create and leave legacy now because it could all be over very, verrrrry quickly. (Click boom.)

1035x694-HamiltonBway0050r-Lin-Manuel-Miranda-and-the-cast-of-Hamilton

I think that’s why I connect with this musical so much. It’s so bizarre and insane and fun that someone would write their way to the top and then write their way write back down because they don’t know when to shut up. It’s 100% a Shalom thing to do. It’s the issue of knowing that death could be today, and what do you leave? What story do people tell? “If I throw away my shot, is this how you remember me?” Legacy has always been really important to me. I think the major difference between me and Lin & Hamilton is that my sense of time cripples me. Search ‘birthday’ on my site for references. What is a legacy if you’re too afraid of not having one to create one?

landscape-1436379811-cosmo-august-15-hamilton-1.jpg

Hamilton threw me into crisis.It’s the hardest ticket to get in the world. Sold out until 2017. I loved every second of it. I adore the idea of cabinet meetings as rap battles. I AM OBSESSED with the fastest song in musical theatre being a rap about brining Alexander Hamilton back to fight in the war. (6.3 words per second. Daveed Diggs, everybody.) When the smartest character in the show is Angelica Schuyler -the badass sister that reads Hamilton so quickly you’ll miss it if you blink, and makes sacrifices like you cannot believe- how could you not? This show is evidence of a mind at work (work).

Hamilton will turn you into a US history nerd. I already was – am?- but it just. UGH. YES. While it’s almost entirely historically accurate, it is a Broadway show. Lin takes dramatic license with a few events and characters, only making the show even more amazing.

tumblr_nthnnaD5Xw1ssmm02o2_1280.jpg

Marquis de Lafayette (Daveed Diggs), Hercules Mulligan (Okieriete Onaodowan), John Laurens (Anthony Ramos)

I don’t know if I connect with this show more because of its sheer brilliance, or because I, like Hamilton, am also a fast talker with a death wish. I don’t know. I DO KNOW that the Original Cast Recording is available FOR FREE on spotify, and if you’re in a part of the world without spotify, the YouTube playlist is here.

There’s a million things I haven’t done, but just you wait…

love and light,
shalom xo

(drop a comment if you caught the hamilpuns. seriously.)