Dear Everyone Associated With “Hamilton”

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


Richard III Under The Parking Lot: “Now Is The Winter of Our Disinterment”

This whole Richard III thing has got me all jazzed up and put me back in touch with the intensity of my Shakespearean fangirl past.

I was an English Lit major at Northwestern and spent the first six years of my professional life teaching high school English. If I died tomorrow I might be most proud that I was the one to introduce the Bard of England to a certain small group of Minnesotan 8th graders in the early 1990’s.  Shakespeare must be seen and heard, not just read! was my motto, and so I invited actor friends to appear in my classroom with scripts in hand and to launch into scenes from the play with no introduction. The students would file into class and Patty and Stuart would simply BE there, BEING Romeo and Juliet. In love, pining, swooning, and making sweet literary love. I was the Nurse once or twice, I remember, fussing after Juliet and worrying about her secret marriage. The kids were transfixed. No one was late to class during that unit of study: in fact, they rushed through the halls to get there on time.

Parents called me and said, “I can’t believe it. He’s in his room reading this thing out loud. What did you do?” I’d say, “I didn’t do anything. Thanks Mr. Shakespeare. He makes great reading.”

My own real introduction to Shakespeare was a baptism by fire in 1982 when I was asked to play Hermia for a summer production of “Midsummer Night’s Dream.” I was 15, a sophomore in high school.  The company was entirely student-run and featured the most precocious theatre talent I was ever to know including Jase Draper and Jim Lamb, both now deceased. Jase, a successful actor who had an agent from the time he was about ten and worked out of New York City, has assembled a group of ridiculously talented peers from Fairfield County, and imported a few from Northwestern University where he was a student (a freshman, I believe). They were an extremely intimidating crowd and I was scared to death to accept the role but too thrilled to have been asked not to. I saw myself as the weak link in the cast and spent hour after hour sitting on my bed studying the unfamiliar iambic pentameter so I wouldn’t make a fool of myself alongside the likes of Jim and Jase and the amazing Ellen Reilly who designed and made all our costumes in addition to knocking the role of Helena out of the park.

“Midsummer” remains one of the most personally meaningful works of art for me and believe it or not, I have always seen Bottom as one of the most poignant of Shakespeare’s characters. Poor guy, making mad, delirious love with the Goddess in one moment — divine rapture! waited on by faerie attendants! – and then waking in a field the next with nothing but a vague memory of ecstasy and a foolish sense of his own gross mortality. Dude, I know how you feel.

Continue reading “Richard III Under The Parking Lot: “Now Is The Winter of Our Disinterment””

Fly Away: Inspired by The Mincing Mockingbird

It’s not like I can become a major art collector, but I do like to try to collect pieces that I really love and have a special connection to when I can.

There has been a lot of death in our congregation in the past six months. Yesterday, while thinking of the latest lovely lady to leave us, I came upon the works of The Mincing Mockingbird in a South End Boston gift shop. I had gone into the shop to buy some baby gifts, but I fell in love with the birds on my way out the door, as they were hanging behind the cash register.  They have such personality, such soul, and such humor.

I took home a small collection. They know who they are and who they represent, and why. They also represent a time in my life in ministry that feels connected to bird song and flight.

You can look at the droll and delightful work of  The Mincing Mockingbird on and here.


isn’t that a li’l cunning bird?


I want all of these hilarious magnets.