Confession: I am not hip. I’ve been told I act like a grandmother, but my grandmother takes offense to that statement because she is much more hip than I am. Every now and then I try to dive into pop culture to see what people are making a fuss about. Lately, it has been the Tony and Grammy award-winning musical Hamilton (the teens are talking about something called Pokemon Go, but that is over my head). I was skeptical when I first listened to the cast album, but I’ve quickly grown to realize that hipsters might be onto something.
The musical focuses on the life of Alexander Hamilton and explores themes such as time, legacy, friendship, and loss. The music is uplifting, heartbreaking, inspirational, a call to arms, and much much more. I could say a million things and still not have said enough.
Here are a few lines in particular that stand out to me:
1.Look around, look around at how lucky we are to be alive right now.
This line comes in the middle of our introduction to the Schuyler sisters, the ladies of Hamilton. Eliza, the woman who will become Alexander Hamilton’s wife, sings this line in the middle of the number and, while it was true for the revolutionary women then, it remains true now. We have access to more resources than ever; anything is possible if you are willing to identify your goal and stick to it! I’m fortunate enough to have had a wonderful education, work with amazing people, and have the resources to follow my dreams. I am truly lucky to be alive right now
2. Death doesn’t discriminate between the sinners and the saints; it takes, and it takes, and it takes, and we keep living anyway.
Hamilton takes an emotional turn during the ballad “Wait For It.” The line that Aaron Burr sings about his family having passed away when he was a child and the legacy he feels compelled to live up to resonates strongly with me. “Wait for It” is my favorite song in the entire musical because it is a reminder that we are all mortal. And, as scary as it may feel to think about, each of us will die no matter what. I’ve had friends die young, yet even in the face of death, I continue to live. I don’t know what is coming, so I continue to live and make plans. This line reminds me to live in the moment and to cherish what I have, experience all that life has.
3.If we lay a strong enough foundation, you will blow us all away.
Hamilton and Burr both had children toward the end of the revolution. In the musical, they sing a lullaby type ballad to their infant children. Both men grew up without families and wanted their children to have what they did not. The lyrics are candid, the words indicating that they won’t always be around – the men were trying to build a new country after all- but they would do everything they could to ensure a stable and safe home for their children. They were laying a strong foundation for their children to blow them away. This makes me think about all that my mother did for me growing up. She raised my sister and me by herself and gave up innumerable luxuries so that she could give us the chance to succeed in life. She fought to lay a strong foundation, and I only hope that I will blow her away.
The musical has other significant motifs including the idea of not throwing away your shot, but these three lines are (at least for me) the most thought provoking. The musical is sold out until May 2017 and tickets resale for $500+, so I am making due with the cast album. I was skeptical at first (a hip-hop musical about the first treasury secretary?!?), but the message is amazing.
Yep, I think the hipsters are definitely on to something.