Noah had been dropped off at Starbucks to use their WI-Fi to complete the final for his last class of high school, an online class. I picked him up after a meeting and we drove through a favorite Sushi place to grab a tuna roll to take home and celebrate. As we waited for the order to be filled, I pulled out my phone and scrolled through Facebook. There in front of me was a post that had just dropped, Lin Manuel Miranda was announcing tickets on sale for the sold-out Hamilton the Musical. Excited, I went over to Ticketmaster.com and suggested Noah call their number, just to see if per chance we could get tickets. As I continued to input dates, just to receive a SOLD OUT notice, Noah called the back end of the dates available. For about six minutes we both hit failure after failure. And then, from the speaker phone, we hear, “Verifying five tickets to Hamilton the Musical for December 7.” I looked up. Noah looked at me. We both screamed!
In September of 2015, while we were in New York for Noah’s 16th birthday, we had been told about the phenomenon of Hamilton. It was not until the following February that the children began to listen to the soundtrack. About five seconds after listening to the cd, they played it again. And again. It played pretty much non-stop from there on. They were hooked. If it was not playing, they were singing, at the top of their voices, every word of every song. The show had been sold out for longer than we had known about it. The dream of seeing the show was at the top of their list.
I quickly pulled out my debit card and confirmed the purchase with only the slightest hesitation. This amount surpassed the amount Jonesy and I agreed we would spend without checking with the other. This being the only hesitation, I figured if he was opposed, selling the tickets would be no problem. As the computerized voice called out the confirmation code. I started to tear up. Noah was so excited he could hardly speak, and I knew Macy and Molly would go crazy. Emma and Jordon, at the time 7 and 9, were too young to see the show. In this moment, I had in my hand the ability to make three children’s dreams come true, and 5/7s of my Christmas shopping would be finished. Tuna Roll in hand, we headed home. In laughter, we tried to think of the best way to tell the girls.
We walked in the house to find Jonesy and the four unaware children sitting in the den. We joined them, looking at each other with excitement. We were both so excited to share our news. I addressed Jonesy, first.
“Hey, I need to tell you something,” I started. “I spent a little extra money this evening.”
“Oh yeah,” his attention turned to me. “What’s that all about?”
“Well, I bought tickets to see a show in December.”
At this point the girls were looking at me with inquisitive eyes. Jonesy searched my face confused.
“But we are going to have to spend more money to make this happen. We will have to purchase a few plane tickets.”
The girls were completely focused on this conversation now.
“And we will have to pay for a few nights hotel stay.”
“Ok, where are we going?” Jonesy questioned, trying to figure out what I had done.
“Well, we will need to go to New York City.”
Molly and Macy looked at me and then at Noah. Our smiles so big, their curiosity exploded, “What show are we going to see?” The question was full of anticipation. There was just one show on their mind.
“Well, As Noah and I were getting dinner, I saw there was a block of tickets dropped for Hamilton.”
Molly gasped and covered her mouth.
“And I bought five tickets. We are going to Hamilton in December!!!”
There was screaming. There were tears. Macy had questions. Molly fell to the floor crying. I was crying. Jonesy was confirming it was ok to have purchased without consulting and Jordon was wanting to know why he was too young to go. It was one of those chaotic moments, forever locked into my mind. So much fun.
From May to December, we planned and anticipated. Noah moved to Nashville and he had to make arrangements with professors, as December 7th fell right in the middle of his first finals week of college. All the planning fell into place and the five oldest Joneses made their way to the City. This was Macy’s first time in New York, and the rest of us had never been during the holidays. We couldn’t wait to enjoy the city, adding Weehawken, New Jersey to our itinerary. Trinity church, where Hamilton was buried also made it onto our must do list.
A favorite song from the show states, “I wanna be in the room where it happens.” And we were in the room, but barely. As we made it to our seats, we were in the very last row of the theater, high above the stage. We were so excited and were grateful for the full view of the stage. There were a handful of the original cast still performing, but most of the biggest names had left the show in the summer. In fact, Jasmine Cephas Jones, bowed her last bow the next night. Excited we chatted as we waited for the lights to dim. The hush filled the room and with the first five beats of the music, Noah grabbed my hand, I am convinced, unaware, and held it tightly until intermission. It was everything we had hoped it would be and more. The smiles on our faces were full and unmovable. We left the theater and made our way to the stage door to meet the cast. The kids were able to meet Jordan Fischer, who was added to the cast after we bought the tickets, much to the girl’s delight. (While in line, I got to meet Josh Groban as he came out of The Great Comet, so it was a big night for all the Jones girls!)
Just a few weeks after our trip, Macy and I were planning her sixteenth birthday trip, when we happened upon Hamilton tickets in Chicago. Wayne Brady would be playing Aaron Burr. We decided to add the show to our trip. We didn’t spend much time investigating the seats, just purchased and moved on. On the night we arrived at the theater in Chicago, the usher took us to our seats, just three rows from the stage. We couldn’t believe it. Wayne Brady walked to the edge of the stage just in front of us and started the show. Having seen the broad view of the show in New York, this time we were enjoying the details. The facial expressions, the details of the costumes, and the energy coming off the stage. This show was just as magical as the first time. Maybe more so.
Last May, I received an email from the Hamilton app, letting me know that once again, Broadway tickets were going to be released. I had planned a girl’s trip to New York for September with my three girls. I called Jonesy and asked if he would be willing to check and see if there would be any tickets available for the three days we would be in the city. He texted me a few minutes later and said, “Hey, went ahead and purchased you seats. I think it will be a great experience for Emma.” So back to the Richard Rogers Theater we went, the four of us to walk through history one last time. Michael Luwoye played Hamilton and what he did with that character still gives me chills.
I don’t know if we will ever see the show again. It will be playing on tour in Louisville and Nashville, but we have opted to be content and not try and get tickets. There are new shows now, and Paul McCartney concert tickets are the new dream.
I share all of this, not just to capture these memories with my children, but because this week I am going to focus on the Mueller Report. As I have been reading the findings of the report, I have gone back to Hamilton, not only the musical but the book by Ron Chernow. It is hard not to make parallels between Trump and Hamilton. Both, polarizing and often in trouble by what they say. Both using the most recent methods of communication to share ideas. Trump less eloquent, yet equally blunt. Their public lives full of scandal. Their financial impact on the country significant. I am reminding myself from men most despicable, good things can come. And no man is fully evil. Nor any man fully good. I hope you will enjoy this week as Sara Jones Presents: Hamilton and Trump. History has it’s eyes on you.