I estimate that I’m at least five years behind in pop culture. I expect that gap to grow each year.
I just watched Hamilton a few days ago. Although, I haven’t finished it yet–don’t tell me what happens!
When the show began, I didn’t know what to expect. I knew vaguely that it was about the founding father. I did not know that most of the show would be rap or spoken word!
Despite the initial shock, I was immediately captivated by the writing. Every word in each song meant something. The amount of information communicated in a short space was astonishing.
Right off the bat, it was obvious that the writer had a deep understanding of the human person. One line after the other dripped with the drama of the human experience through the telling of Hamilton’s story.
To me, it was the audible version of the experience of seeing Bernini’s sculptures in Rome. These massive marble slabs that had been skillfully chiseled into absolute movement–of flowing robes, outstretched or commanding arms, and stern or mournful or triumphant faces– were monuments to the nobility of man and left me in awe of the saga of human history.
This feeling was not unlike when I hear Andrea Bocelli sing. I clutch my heart and say something about his voice being the point at which the human and divine touch. My family teases me.
My attention turned to the man cast as Hamilton. I thought it was an interesting choice. He didn’t have a classically strong singing voice. He didn’t appear to be a dancer. As I watched him move about the stage, I wondered what it was about him that landed the role. I wondered if those in charge of casting saw something inside him that really embodied the spirit of Hamilton. Through his delivery of his lines, he certainly seemed to have a handle on the words.
I shared my thoughts with my husband.
He blinked at me. “Meg, that’s Lin-Manuel Miranda. He wrote this.”
My jaw actually fell off my face. The writer? What a boss move! No wonder he seemed so connected to the story. He wrote it! I studied his face as he sang. It was a pleasure getting to see him. You don’t usually get to see the writer responsible for the show.
A few days later, I was raving about the experience to my brother-in-law. “Did you know,” I asked him, my eyes weirdly wide, “that the guy who plays Hamilton is the writer?”
Being the super kind man he is, he didn’t laugh at me. He maybe smiled. Ah, he did know.
A quick Google search told me that everyone on the internet also knows.
Even my twelve-year-old daughter knows. “Mom,” she said, “that guy wrote the songs for Moana.”
Apparently the whole world is aware of the many talents of Lin-Manuel. I am, once again, late to the party. Just like when I fell in love with John Legend’s voice in the LaLa Land soundtrack. “Who is this guy?” I’d asked my husband. “John Legend? Never heard of him, but I just know he’s going to make it big soon.” I also get teased when any John Legend song comes on the radio. My daughter giggles and says, “Does anyone know who this is? He’s going to break out one of these days.”
Also, I just recently discovered Bookstagram. Did you know that there is a whole group of people on Instagram–readers, authors, reviewers–who take beautiful photos of stacks of books they are reading and talk about their favorite ones? They make reading recommendations and it’s an amazing place to go to discover new authors. It’s incredible!
It’s going to get big soon. I just know it.