My love for Broadway musicals goes all the way back to 1978. I could not stop listening to the cast recording for “Annie” the musical that came out in 1977. I had it on vinyl and absolutely loved it. I would play the song “Maybe” over and over and sing along. When I got to see the show at the O’Keefe Centre, I was sitting next to a little girl who obviously owned the album too, as we both noted when they changed a lyric (they sang “The swimming pool is to the right” and we both said “it’s supposed to be left”). That was one of the first experiences that lead me to a self-imposed rule of not listening to the cast recording before seeing the show.
Over the years, I got to see quite a few shows in Toronto. We’re lucky here that we get quite a few shows before they hit Broadway. I regret not going to see “Ragtime” which ran here with Audra McDonald quite some time before eventually going to New York.
One show that ran a long time in Toronto was “Phantom of the Opera”. That was the other show that really contributed to my rule. The music changed quite a bit between the original London production and the Canadian one. I also found knowing the music in advance kind of ruined the surprises of the plot.
I’ve been lucky enough to get to NYC quite a bit in the last few years and I’ve gotten to see quite a few shows. I got to see Neil Patrick Harris in “Hedwig and the Angry Inch”, Idina Menzel in “If/Then” and Christian Borle in “Something Rotten”. (If you’re not a Broadway person like me you might not recognize that last one.)
If you know anything about Broadway now, you know that tickets to “Hamilton” are very hard to come by (like impossible) unless you’re willing to fork out over $1000 (I paid over $200 to see NPH….that’s about my limit.)
10 minutes after this year’s Tony Awards were supposed to end, a block of “Hamilton” tickets went on sale. I had orchestra seats in my cart for my birthday next March. The Ticketmaster served died and my tickets disappeared. The entire block sold out within minutes. I was so bummed.
The next day I figured I’d break my rule and order the “Hamilton” cast recording. It came a few days later and I haven’t stopped listening to it ever since. I’m completely obsessed with the songs, with their creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda, with the story (what’s accurate and what’s not), the whole thing.
A little over a month ago, Lin-Manuel tweeted a reminder that tickets for the sit down production of “Hamilton” in Chicago were going on sale in an hour or so. (A sit down production is a run of the show that’s just for that city….different than a touring production which will stop in a city for a limited amount of time). Somehow, I managed to get tickets for my birthday while connected to Ticketmaster on my phone with a bad connection! It was touch and go…at one point it looked like the server was going to die again.
So I had tickets but I was way too far gone with the obsession with the cast recording to stop. “Hamilton” is an almost-entirely sung-through show (meaning there is not a lot of dialogue between the songs) but apparently there is a least one song that doesn’t appear on the cast recording so I guess that’s something…one song I won’t know!
Mom and I will be in NYC for one night after our Disney cruise in the fall. Even though we have tickets for Chicago, we’re going to try to get tickets through the Hamilton Lottery. They have a limited number of tickets in the front row for $10 each show. There will be two shows to try for that day. Meanwhile, I’ll be listening to the cast recording “Non-Stop*”.
*”Non-Stop” is the last song of Act I. Like I said, obsessed.