Here at uforia, we’re always looking to find the time and space to think outside the box. Inspiration comes in many forms and sometimes you have to step away from your daily routine to see what else is out there. Our uforia Rockstars inspire us everyday and to give back to the amazing people who lead us in embracing the sweat, we’ve created the uforia Inspiration Scholarship. Whether it’s a trip to a fascinating city, a workshop in their discipline, or investing in exciting new training, this scholarship sends our Rockstars on an Inspiration Journey that they chronicle with journaling, photography, and videos.
This winter, Rockstar Tessa inspired us with her application to live out a dream: seeing Hamilton the musical!
It’s Saturday, January 16. New York City hasn’t seen much snow yet, but the temperature has dropped significantly. It’s 4:00pm. Andrew and I have just gotten back from a classic(-ly late) Manhattan brunch, and Peter’s already playing the Hamilton soundtrack. It’s go time. This is the last time we’ll listen to the 42-song soundtrack before it comes to life tonight. The next time we hear it, we’ll remember the roar of the audience at all the right moments. The visceral delivery of every syncopated word. The revolving stage, rewinding and fast-forwarding us through Hamilton’s journey. The precision of every step, turn, breath.
We sing along in the hotel room, humbled by our inability to nail every word, even after six months of determined listening. We wonder which castmate will be our favorite. We debate how Lin-Manuel Miranda — the genius who wrote Hamilton and plays him in the show — might change his performance tonight: it’s his birthday, after all. A small part of us wonders if maybe, just maybe, he’ll decide to take the night off to celebrate. No, LMM would never do that. This is exactly how we wants to be celebrating his life. And exactly how we want to be celebrating ours tonight. And when our children tell our story, they’ll tell the story of tonight.
We meet up with our fellow Hamilton friends Annie and Heather, and after a semi-frantic dinner in Greenwich Village, we make our way to the Richard Rogers theater. Manhattan traffic has never crawled so slowly. For a moment, I wonder if we will miss the start, and my heart tightens. We ask the driver to stop and decide to walk the last few blocks. I can see the yellow light of the Hamilton sign in the distance. I am not throwing my shot.
The theater is pulsing. Patrons are trying to maintain their best theater-going civility, but the panic is palpable. Still thirty minutes until curtain up, but people are pushing past each other with tight smiles. We’re finally here: in the room where it happens. We find our seats, perfectly centered in the Mezzanine. I thank my past self for my flawless ticket selection. I take a few deep breaths. Remember everything. Remember everything. The lights flicker. Our eyes widen. Wait for it.
Despite my best attempt to hold on to every moment of the three hours that followed, everything that came after the opening blare of drums and trumpets (dum-dum dum dum dum dum-dum) was a blissful blur. I’ve tried my best to summarize my thoughts on the experience, written and in-person, several times, and I always come up short. I’m no brilliant writer like Mr. Hamilton, so I won’t try to walk through all the reasons why it changed me, all the moments and details that set it apart from anything else I’ve experienced. Trying to detail the magic of Hamilton is like trying to capture lightning in a bottle.
Here’s what I will say: Hamilton — the musical and the man — has made me see life through a different lens. Truly. It has challenged me as a person by forcing me to explore — or re-discover? — what I stand for, what’s worth fighting for. As an artist, it has reinvigorated the singer in me, reminding me why I fell under the spell of music in the first place. It’s inspired me to write, to listen more closely, to be more engaged in politics (perfect timing!), to see more live music, and to commit to making more music of my own. And of course, as a uforia instructor, it’s reminded me why I do what I do on the bike: to help people feel whatever they need to feel that day. And of course, to work.