No, I did NOT love Hamilton.
My wife and I went to see the hit sensation, “Hamilton,” last night. I bought the tickets directly from the box office nine months ago as an anniversary gift to us. Face value. Yeah, boyyyyy!
I don’t think the build up could have been any greater. Everyone said the show was amazing, whether they’d seen it or not!
“It’s the greatest!”
“I’m so jealous!”
…were comments on my and my wife’s Facebook pages, in response to the selfie we shared celebrating the fact we were about to witness greatness.
The comments were almost unanimously (more than) positive. Save for an outlier who inquired if it was really worth it, although I couldn’t quite get a read on whether his tone was sincere.
But I get it. It’s an amazing feeling to revel in the afterglow of having experienced something you enjoyed so intensely, and let’s be honest, affords some level of exclusivity. And then share your opinion in public backed by such a loud majority who share the same view.
But maybe the silent minority doesn’t outwardly dissent because they’re intimidated for fear of criticism? Being a sheep is so much easier.
Before I go any further, I am NOT saying I hated Hamilton. I didn’t. I liked it. I just didn’t love it. On a scale of 1 to 10, I gave it a “7.” (And this is a pretty good score as I have been more than willing to gong shows before — giving grades of 1 or a 2 — I’m looking at you, “Fela!” and “Lion King!”) But 7 does fall well below a bazillion, which seemed to be everyone else’s score on the same scale.
But here’s the thing, I felt there was more to it than not liking the script or the songs. Because the script (what I could decipher) and the melodies were pretty impressive.
I felt there was too much hype and the show was set up for failure. And when I didn’t instantaneously LOVE it, I spent the next five minutes not being present and thinking, “what am I missing here?” And this happened intermittently throughout the show.
And for what it’s worth, the first ten minutes? I mean those two songs were part of the loudest, most incomprehensible scenes I’d ever seen. Possibly due to the sound system? Regardless, we were at loss for what was going on.
Maybe it’s on us — we should’ve familiarized ourselves with the characters, songs and script before the show, but we really wanted to be blown away the first time we saw and heard it. And we just weren’t.
I never read the book but I’m reminded of some of what my wife shared with me from Jeffrey Steingarten’s, “The Man Who Ate Everything” about a certain New York City sushi restaurant that rhymes with “Somoe” that was supposed to be “the best.”
There were always lines around the corner to get in. And everyone always raved about it. You had to, if you wanted your opinion considered. Well, Steingarten went and did NOT like his experience. And realized that everyone followed suit because they had to justify the waiting in line and the expense associated with the visit.
Again, I’m not suggesting Hamilton was bad. It wasn’t. I just didn’t think it was the greatest.
And as Aaron Burr sang at the end of the show, “the world was wide enough for both Hamilton and me.” So allow me my opinion.