14 years old
My 14th birthday included many celebrations but the one that blew my mind was the surprise tickets to Hamilton. On Saturday, my mom and I headed to The Richard Rodgers theater to see Chris Jackson’s last Saturday night performance. Before the show, we were greeted at the stage door by Chris aka George Washington. He told me to enjoy the show and that he would see me on stage after.
I had goosebumps from the first note of the music. Each song was better than the next. I could not believe that I was actually in the theater. Then out comes Chris Jackson, and boy did he command the stage. I smiled knowing that I knew this incredible performer and I was in awe. I knew the Hamilton soundtrack and had almost all the songs memorized – but to connect the songs with the dancing and the acting and the scenery was a whole different experience.
Act I was so good and I couldn’t imagine how Act II could be better – but it was! The part that I liked the most was when Chris sang, “One Last Time.” It meant so much more as it was his second to last time singing that song on this stage. He got a standing ovation at the end of his song and it was so deserved. He is brilliant and bigger than life. You want actors like Chris to get the standing ovation because he is humble and thankful and such a good person. This show brought out so many emotions and I have never felt that before at a show. Everyone in the cast was fantastic, I could not clap or scream loud enough during the bows.
After the show, we headed backstage. There I was standing on the stage where some of the best shows have been performed – Chicago, In the Heights and now Hamilton, An American Musical. The set was grand and the revolving floor was super cool. We got to see the costumes, the dueling guns, the run list and George Washington’s sword. While waiting for Chris we got to talk to many cast members: Seth Stewart (Thomas Jefferson), Brandon Victor Dixon (Aaron Burr), Lexi Lawson (Eliza Hamilton), Anthony Ramos (Philip Hamilton), Andrew Chappelle (King George), Javier Muñoz (Alexander Hamilton), Jasmine Jones (Peggy Schuyler) and Thayne Jasperson (Samuel Seabury). We finally met up with Chris, and it was insane. I was so nervous to talk with him but he was exactly how he has always been with me – genuine, kind and inspiring. He asked what shows I have coming up (I’m an actor, too) and gave me advice that I will never forget. He said, “No matter what the show, what the role, you need to prepare and become the character.” He finished the night by taking pictures with me and giving a backstage grand tour.
It is hard to believe that for a night I was surrounded by brilliance and I felt blessed to be there. I left Hamilton with much more than a sweatshirt and program, I left with a memory the I will never forget because for that moment I was in the Room Where It Happened.