4YE Quick List: I’m Late To The Party And Finally Saw Hamilton!

Exactly one week ago, this girl finally got to be in the Room Where It Happens. And, boy, did it happen!

You might say, “Abby, Hamilton has been out for 3.5 years. This isn’t new.” And yes, you’re right. Here’s the thing: for being such a theater nerd, I resisted Hamilton for so long that it is embarrassing. I did not give in until late 2016 when my friend literally locked me in her car and forced me to listen to “Burn.”

Two years later and I still had yet to see the musical I had fallen in love with. Well, time was up. Finally, when I was nailing down my itinerary for my treat yo self trip to New York last week, Hamilton was on the list. The opportunity presented itself and I was not throwing away my shot.

You might wonder why, when I live in Illinois, I wouldn’t just get tickets to see the production in Chicago? With access to the production, you would think I’d have gotten tickets once I finally got with the program. Alas, I had not. And you know what – I couldn’t tell you why. I don’t have an answer other than “I could see it any time.”

Sit back, friends, and listen to all the ways that finally seeing Hamilton changed the game for me. Please file this list under ‘love letters to Mandy Gonzalez.’

Credit: NBC

I understand that there are people who have been wanting to see this show since the get-go, and I know I am not one of those people. However, I have wanted to see it for two years, and it has felt like two lifetimes. Once I finally decided to go, I could hardly sleep. The buildup and anticipation of seeing the most talked-about musical in my lifetime was more than I could take. Having such high hopes going in is not wise for a lot of shows, and I have felt my share of letdowns. Hamilton, however, passionately smashed every expectation.

Credit: David Korins Design
  1. THE SET

There has got to be 1.5 million moving parts to the Hamilton set. Everything about the set is fascinating. From the second you see the stage and take it all in, until the lights go down for the last time, it is nearly impossible to see it all. Complete with a rotating stage, moving staircases, and an upper level, the set is truly a work of art. In conjunction with everything else, this set made for a spectacular show. Which brings me to…

Credit: David Korins Design

The lights were by far my favorite technical part of this production. It seemed that every move, no matter how small, had its own lighting cue. Light designers and operators are so underappreciated, so I’m taking a minute to recognize them. It was flawless and seamless, and made the show that much better.


When that first chord played (you know the one), I immediately had chills. The musicians were incredible and every note was perfection.

Credit: Joan Marcus

Honestly… Just… Wow.


!!!!!!! ???? !!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!! …. << Kind of sums up my feelings. Obviously I knew this show was emotional; I’ve listened to the soundtrack backward and forwards. This should not have been a surprise. But, damn. I’ve never been in a theater where the majority of patrons openly wept. No one even tried to hide it or stop it. And no, it was not one glistening tear down the cheek… SO. GOOD.


“Look around, look around at how lucky we are to be alive right now!”

Yes, Hamilton is about history, but it is more important than ever right now. There were so many relevant and beautiful themes and lyrics throughout the show. Hearing them through your ear buds is one thing, but seeing these lines brought to life is truly exceptional. I’ll share a few of my favorites below.

  • “If you stand for nothing, Burr, what’ll you fall for?”
  • “When I meet Thomas Jefferson, I’ma compel him to include women in the sequel. WERK!”
  • “Immigrants: we get the job done.”
  • “I am the one thing in life I can control. I am inimitable, I am an original.”
Credit: Joan Marcus

Listen… Everyone in this production is talented beyond belief. There was not one single person or thing that I did not adore about this show. However, I would be remiss not to mention how unbelievable it was to see Mandy Gonzalez perform. I have been a fan of Mandy’s for several years now, and to be able to watch her in such an iconic role was very special for me. Her voice and the feeling she put into Angelica was remarkable. Her performance is one I will never forget.

Credit: Abby Bertrand/Instagram

I will conclude this list by saying that Hamilton was out of this world! I wasn’t being pun-ny when I said it smashed every expectation. If there was ever any doubt, the hype is there for a reason. It was everything I ever could have imagined, and then some. Please see above the obligatory set picture that I took while I was trying not to freak out.

When I left the Richard Rodgers Theatre, I was crying, silent, and in awe. I’m still struggling to put my thoughts into coherent sentences. I immediately wanted to watch it 15 more times, because I know it will only get better. The show is a piece of art that should be appreciated forever. And ever. And ever, and ever, and ever.

Thank you to the cast and crew of Hamilton for creating a show that is more of an experience than any other. Thank you, also, for making this girl’s day/week/year. If you haven’t yet seen Hamilton, just you wait. As for me, I’ll be back.

Abby Bertrand