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Happy Friday! And happy Hamilton day! Are you taking time to check-in with yourself and give yourself the care, love, and attention you need? If not, it’s perfectly okay to TAKE A BREAK and set aside time for yourself to do whatever you want/need to do during ‘me time.’ Maybe it’s yoga, meditation, running, reading, tending to a pallet garden you built, sewing some pillowcases for your home decor, making a dress to match your homemade mask, or even playing animal crossing with family and friends (or, a new favorite of mine since my boyfriend and I got our new couch - taking a nap!). Whatever you want to do during your assigned ‘me time,’ make sure you’re doing it and giving yourself a break. Speaking of ‘me time,’ who else is watching Hamilton later?! Since today marks the day we can all watch Hamilton on Disney+ and you'll no longer have to WAIT FOR IT, I figured it’d be a good time to take a pause from my travels in Northern Ireland and write about my experience seeing Hamilton live! If you didn’t get a chance to read yesterday’s post - “bow to your lord mayor” - you can click here to read all about the fun I had touring Belfast City Hall. Otherwise, let’s get crackin’ on one of my favorite musicals of all time!

My journey to getting to see Hamilton on stage started a couple years before I actually got to experience it live. Between marathon-training, gym workouts, hanging out with friends, driving in LA traffic, discussing the complex internal rhymes with my musical comedy friends, and even an odd karaoke night, I was HELPLESS in my attempts to avoid listening. I must have listened to the Hamilton soundtrack hundreds - if not thousands - of times before I actually got to see the show live. I have tried to get my boyfriend to listen to it before tonight’s viewing, but he wants to go in pure. I respect him for it and am a bit envious that he's been able to go this long without listening. He is a strong man, but if you are someone weak like me who has listened to the soundtrack countless times before ever getting to see a live performance (or even tonight’s performance), I will say that knowing the words to all the songs did not ruin the experience for me one little bit. If anything, I was overjoyed to sing along to my favorites in my head.

The actual performance was unlike anything I could have ever imagined in my wildest dreams. I recently had a phone call with a couple friends of mine here in LA whose TV show is getting picked up and produced by a network, and there was a reference made for a show idea to the staged version of the song “Satisfied,” which was one of the most surprising, exciting choreographed stagings I’ve seen maybe ever (also, those friends are two of the most deserving people I can think of to have a show picked up.. congrats you two!). If you’ve seen Hamilton before, you know exactly what I’m talking about, and if you’re seeing it for the first time today/tonight, I really want to hear your thoughts! I absolutely gasped at the theatre (multiple times) when I saw it and can’t wait to relive it again this evening.

I saw Hamilton in 2018 at the CIBC Theatre in Chicago while I was in town performing musical comedy at Improv Olympic. I got to stay with my former college roommate Therese for a week and decided to see a Wednesday night show. I ended up spending just under $100 on my ticket since I got it last minute for a Wednesday showing and ended up sitting 6th row in the center. WHAT'D I MISS seeing the show in Chicago versus New York or Los Angeles? Absolutely nothing. From the moment the curtain rose to the emotional final scene, I sang along in my head and had to repeatedly remind myself to breathe. There were moments I laughed out loud, moments I had to choke back tears, and moments where I said ‘screw it’ and let the tears stream down my cheeks. Let's just say that for me THE WORLD TURNED UPSIDE DOWN

As someone who loves musical theatre, rap music, and history, Hamilton was a tour de force for my heartstrings. My friend Bryce also got a ticket for that night when I told him I was going, and I remember talking to him about the show immediately after it ended and declaring, “I wish we could all sit back down and watch it all over again.” I still feel that way now two years later. Tonight will be my second time seeing Hamilton (but definitely not the second time hearing the soundtrack lol), and I hope the filmed stage production does it justice. During my Masters program in Ireland, my classmates and I often discussed the problems of transferring live performances to a screen, and I just hope upon hope not much is lost based on direction, the choices of camera angles, and the various lens positions. I also hope my boyfriend doesn’t kill me due to my innate tendency to sing along to soundtracks I love. I bet that he’d sing along, too, if he’d heard the soundtrack before, and I am willing to bet that I will be allowed to play the soundtrack NON-STOP after we watch it together tonight! JUST YOU WAIT!

Are you watching Hamilton tonight? Let me know! I would love to hear your STORY OF TONIGHT and see if it brings you as much joy as it has brought me! I guarantee after you watch, you won't be able to SAY NO TO THIS, and YOU'LL BE BACK for more! Also, FYI, if you have Apple+, there's a really great episode of "Dear" all about Lin-Manuel Miranda! I dare you not to cry when you watch it! Subscribe in the e-mail submission box below and RAISE A GLASS TO FREEDOM, follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and reach out to me on the “contact” page. I’m so happy you're here and that I’ve been receiving a lot of really incredible stories, questions, and feedback from a community all over the globe! Other people’s stories that I’ve gotten to read via e-mail, text, tweet, DM, etc. recently bring me such smiles, and I am so grateful for all of it! I hope I get to hear all about whatever stories you’ve been thinking about as we’ve been on this virtual journey together! Also, I've said it before and I'll say it again, if you have any restaurants/eateries/pubs/coffee shops/ice cream joints/theatres you would recommend in other countries or even in your current home town or city, I'm absolutely 100% all ears!! I couldn’t do this without you! So thank you! From the bottom of my heart, ONE LAST TIME, thank you.



P.S. - If you want to catch up from the beginning on this series of adventures, here's a cheat sheet to the posts (in order in which they were published):

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