I was lucky enough to visit San Fransisco over the weekend and within 36 hours, sat through two of the most defining pieces of theatre in history: Hamilton and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.
Who lives, who dies, who tells your story?
From the moment I first heard the music, I knew Hamilton was special. When I saw it in January of 2016, I cried through almost the whole show. It was overwhelming. Much has been written about Hamilton and how spectacular it is and I don’t pretend to be a theatre critic. But- I have seen a lot of theatre in my life and Hamilton was unlike anything I had ever experienced. I loved it. I couldn’t speak after I saw it the first time. Even today, I can’t always put into words how I feel about it. It was truly the best musical I had ever seen.
In the room where it happens
Since 2016, I have been fortunate to see it four more times, most recently in San Fransisco this past weekend. As I sat through the now familiar story and music, I was just as mesmerized as I was the first time. I didn’t cry through the entire show, but tears were still shed. The cast was spectacular. Their voices were beautiful . The show has only gotten better in my eyes.
I found myself watching different aspects of the production this time. I focused on the ensemble members, who have to be the hardest working performers I have ever seen. They work SO hard. The amount of choreography they know is mind-boggling. Watching them makes me want to dance! They are inspiring.
After the show, my family and I had our usual post show discussion. We had all seen Hamilton and had discussed it many times. We again debated if the “Hamilton” in Hamilton is Alexander or actually referring to his wife, Eliza. The individual who lived to tell his story. It’s always interesting to hash it out and as usual, we did not come to a conclusion.
The bottom line for me is, Hamilton is easily the best show I’ve seen. It’s always hard for me to answer when someone asks me what my favorite show is. I can’t name just one. I have a top five and a top ten. Hamilton sits above them all. Thank you, Lin Manuel Miranda for giving us something so very special.
In addition to Hamilton, I attended Parts One and Two of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.
“I solemnly swear I up to no good”
Wow……. that was an experience.
I read the script like every good Harry Potter fan when it came out a few years ago and was intrigued by the story. But honestly, reading a play is not at all like reading one of the books. The imagery is just not there for me. I read it and put it out of my mind because I knew I wasn’t going to London anytime soon to be able to see it. When it opened in New York it was closer, but it still wasn’t in the cards for me to get there to see it.
Then it came to San Fransisco and we got tickets. Glee was felt all around!
Upon entering the theatre (after going through extensive security) you get immersed back into the world of Harry and friends. The Fact that many audience members came dressed in house garb just made the mood even more exciting!
After all this time…..always
I will not give away any of the story, but suffice it to say this piece of theatre does not disappoint. The play is so much more than what I thought after reading the script. It is truly magical from beginning to end. The Polyjuice Potion? Just…… wow! The story is terrific and it was like catching up with old friends. I hadn’t realized how much I missed Harry, Ron and Hermione.
The effects are really special. The magic in the show is just amazing. I didn’t even find myself trying to figure out how things were being done. Everything just worked and made the whole experience unlike anything I have ever seen in a theatre.
I was also a little apprehensive about the two parts and how long this play is. Well, after seeing both parts, I can say I wished it was even longer. I didn’t want it to end. I just loved it.
Straight plays are usually not my thing. When given a choice between a musical and a play, I will always choose the musical. I sit in plays and wonder, “where is the music??” or, “that’s a great place for a song!” This was not how I felt at all during Cursed Child. The story was so good and the actors so strong, I did not miss the singing at all – and that says A LOT!
We had a lengthy post-show discussion after Cursed Child as to who exactly is the Cursed Child? Like Hamilton, the title could be interpreted a variety of ways. Again, I don’t want to spoil anything, but there are multiple cursed child possibilities in this story.
How lucky we are to be alive right now…
So how lucky am I that I saw both these pieces of theatre in one weekend? I feel they both have re-written the rules a bit for theatre. The impact of Hamilton will be felt in new musicals for years to come. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child has given us a whole new world of special effects and theatre magic. If you are able to see either or both….. GO! Don’t pass up the chance to be in the room where it happens. You won’t regret it