It should surprise exactly no people that in high school, I was a big musical theater nerd. I’m talking Life Transformed By a Regional Production of Les Miserables, Holding a Cassette Recorder Up to my TV to Capture Songs From the Movie Version of 1776 Because I Shockingly Couldn’t Find the Soundtrack at Camelot Records level nerd. The first CD I ever owned was Highlights From the Phantom of the Opera.
Sadly, I appeared in only a few shows before my dream of basking in the footlights of Broadway was cut short by a director who informed me, after I asked why I had been placed behind the scenery to sing in most scenes, that I was “not thin enough and not pretty enough” to make it in theater. This is definitely something a sixteen-year-old girl needs to hear from a trusted adult at some point during her life, so I very gratefully took her constructive criticism and retired from theater, while beginning an active career as a writer of bitter, rhyming poetry.
But my love of musical theater stayed with me even if I was too fat and ugly to actually participate in it, and even now, I find myself geeking out over new shows and choosing which part I would play if I happened to find myself in attendance at show where the character of my choosing were to suddenly be overcome with explosive diarrhea.
My current obsession is Hamilton, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s hip-hop bio of the life of Alexander Hamilton. Every song in the show is genius, and thanks to Kanye West, I have secret ninja rap skills that make me perfect for it. One would think that I would want to play Alexander Hamilton, but my loyalties lie with Aaron Burr, because his character is more complex and nuanced, and also I have a freakishly low Darth Vader voice and Hamilton’s part is too high for me.
In fact, my part of choice is almost always the villain in any given show– Judas kills it (both literally and figuratively) in both Godspell and Jesus Christ Superstar, and Rizzo is far superior to Sandy in Grease. Aaron Burr literally murders Alexander Hamilton on-stage, and I think you’re not supposed to like him for that? But I’m just like, damn, dude, I’d murder someone, too, if I got to sing “Wait For It.”
Unfortunately, Hamilton is still only on Broadway, and tickets cost more than my wedding, so it’s unlikely that I’ll get to make my debut as Aaron Burr anytime soon. I am offering on-demand performances in my car on I-90 most mornings, if anyone cares to drop by. And when the national tour finally makes it to Cleveland, I will be strategically situated in the front row with a three-day-old burrito in my purse to offer Aaron Burr before the show starts. Just in case.