We were in New York this past weekend in order to see “Hamilton,” the musical that seems to have taken the entire country (okay, maybe just the East coast) by storm. The tickets and a backstage tour by Leslie Odom, Jr. (the actor who plays Aaron Burr) were a Christmas gift to the kids. (I know—I want to come back as one of my kids in my next life, too.)
We flew up Friday afternoon. Saturday morning, Marcus and I went to a Star Wars costume exhibition at the Discovery Museum. Contrary to my expectations, at least, the exhibit was surprisingly extensive and well-curated. It was interesting to see what materials were used (the Jedi robes were often made of raw silk—easier to clean and fast-drying—to simulate the look of cotton and linen), what cultures they borrowed from (the Imperial uniforms were taken directly from a Nazi division), and what the costumes were supposed to represent (Darth Maul’s costume resembled a samurai warrior’s).
But the highlight of the weekend was “Hamilton.” While it is somewhat difficult at first to wrap your head around a 3 hour musical about the Founding Fathers in rap form, it really is a marvelous performance. The soundtrack is amazing—clever and unusual—and the performance is very visually appealing. It was as good (if not better) as we all hoped it would be. Even Jim, the skeptical one, thought it was much better than he expected, although he didn’t like the ending (he likes happy endings).
After the performance, we went backstage (actually, onto the stage) where we were introduced to Leslie Odom, Jr. With all due respect to the rest of the cast who were all fabulous, I thought he was the best pure actor of the show. (And fans of Person of Interest will know him as Peter Collier, the head of Vigilance.)
He also was about as nice as a person can be. He found a Sharpie, signed the kids’ programs, chatted with them, and then introduced them to Daveed Diggs, who played the Marquis de Lafayette/Thomas Jefferson in the musical.
After that, the kids met Jonathan Groff (who played George III and has the funniest lines in the show) who was also exceptionally friendly.
And, finally, they met Anthony Ramos, who plays Laurens and Philip Hamilton, who was lovely.
They also caught a glimpse of Lin-Manuel Miranda backstage as well. Jade was so beside herself with excitement over all of this that she couldn’t talk (this is a rarity, by the way).
Once everyone could breathe again, we walked over to Per Se, the New York restaurant belonging to Thomas Keller (of French Laundry fame). Per Se recently had been panned by the New York Times restaurant reviewer, but we saw no sign of slippage at all. The food was amazingly fabulous (the egg custard with black truffles served in an egg shell was an especially memorable dish for me), the service was attentive and friendly but not obsequious, and all was well in the Per Se world. We even got a tour of the kitchen, which is huge, especially by New York standards.
All in all, it was about as perfect a day as it was possible to visualize when we first arranged the trip.
Our apologies to all of our New York friends. We would very much have liked to have seen you but ran out of time. (A 3 hour musical will do that.) We will try and see all of you on our next trip!