The Richard Rodgers Theatre, 226 W. 46th Street, New York City
Dear Creative Team and Cast of HAMILTON,
I had not imagined that when I finally got to see the show on November 17, 2016 that we would be in a period of shocked horror and mourning. I had so hoped to wait in line for your autographs with joyful crowds.
I have been thinking about all of you in the past week because you are bringing your full spiritual and creative selves to the work of inspiring people and you haven’t had any time off for a death in the family since last Tuesday night, but I know many of you are feeling like there has been one. Me, too.
Your cast album has been on my exclusive play list for at least six months and I have fan-girl’d on Twitter, watched all the #Ham4Ham videos on YouTube and followed anything Hamilton-oriented I could find. I have said to fellow members of the clergy that one reason this show is such an extraordinary, ground-breaking cultural phenomenon is because it is not only a brilliant artistic achievement on every level but that its creators (led by Lin-Manuel) very intentionally created COMMUNITY around it.
The community that you have all so generously created around “Hamilton” the show and the spirit is the community that looks like the America I love and believe in. The first time I heard “My Shot” playing on a college radio station (Best of Broadway on WERS, Emerson College in Boston) and heard, “I’m joining the rebellion/’cause I know it’s my chance/to socially advance/instead of sewing some pants,” I was in my car. I had to pull over and just listen to every word and every voice and every instrument and not do anything else but that or else risk an accident! I immediately drove back home and downloaded the entire recording and spent the next several hours listening to it. It was like, “Cancel all my appointments! I just downloaded ‘Hamilton!’”
I knew the show was hip-hop inspired. I knew it was a multi-racial cast. I knew I would think it was cool (I loved “In The Heights”) but I did not anticipate that it would hit me in my heart and soul like it did. “Hamilton” instantly became the soundtrack for my ministry and work for social justice with partner organizations (many of which advocate for immigrants – who do get the job done), my life in an extremely diverse neighborhood, and my hopes and dreams for my country in the midst of the rise of Trump.
I am also a theatre person. The disciplines that I have learned through performing have stayed with me in my work (stuff like: Take care of your instrument. Don’t ever phone it in. Keep studying your craft to improve it. Make quiet time for your soul every day. Trust the holy energy that is working through you. Respect its intensity. Eat your vegetables. Don’t skip warm-up). But you guys. You guys are the Olympians. You are the champions. You are the magic-makers whose sweat and water bottles and cough logenzes backstage the audience will never see and whose quick costume changes they will never think about. You are the stars.
I simply want to thank you for all that you are giving of yourselves in the telling of this story and for holding up to audiences what America really does look like – not just its future but its NOW. I want to thank you for all the time you have dedicated to the young people who are inspired by this show, who have fallen in love with history through it, and who can see themselves as leaders because of it.
This coming Thursday night, my two best friends and I will be in the house. If you feel extra beams of admiration and adoration coming from ORCH (Left) G 17, it’s just me shining back at you.
Your obedient servant, V. Wein
The Reverend Dr. Victoria Weinstein