To Whom It May Concern,
A, D, D, D, D, F sharp, A / will be the first notes of our show… And, indeed, the first notes of my letter. This is the very first line from [title of show], a one-act musical about two guys writing a musical about two guys writing a musical that ran on Broadway for 102 shows in 2008. I was introduced to the wacky cast of characters: Hunter, Jeff, Susan, Heidi (and Larry!), by my good friend Elyse, by way of their YouTube channel. I had no idea what the show was about when I began watching their videos, but after laughing hysterically at their introductory video, “What Is [title of show]?”, I immediately texted Elyse: WE NEED TO GET TICKETS. (Elyse lives in Louisiana, but was planning on coming to New York for a few days and wanted to take advantage of her temporary proximity to Broadway theaters.) I then systematically watched every single one of the videos in their hilarious “the [title of show] show” series, learning to love the characters, appreciate their chemistry, and adore their quick-witted and often downright silly style of humor.
By the time the show rolled around, I was ready. Elyse, having ‘met’ the show long before I did, was even more ready. We sat in the orchestra and cried with laughter. I’d never seen a show on Broadway that made me laugh quite so hard. And with so little fanfare - there are the actors, four chairs, and a keyboard - no other props, no elaborate set design, no dancing chorus. The magic of [title of show] lies in the bare bones reality of putting your all into an artistic endeavor, recognizing that you can either soar into success or crash into failure. It is unflinching in its potential for crashing, but it is also insistent on its potential for soaring. The chemistry between the friends is incredible and light-hearted and real: if they haven’t actually been friends for decades, I don’t want to know. I still listen to the soundtrack about once a week. Honestly, I feel bad for anyone who hasn’t had the pleasure of seeing it. It’s the kind of show that feels criminal to not be able to share with the world.
But let's talk about the very first musical I fell in love with. In high school, I discovered The Phantom of the Opera.
I saw the movie first. It’s 2015; you are no longer allowed to judge people for saying this. My mother and I were in Blockbuster one night, poring through the bargain bin, when she picked up a copy of Phantom - the 2004 remake, with Gerard Butler and Emmy Rossum - and asked me if I was interested. I nearly yelped in excitement, surprising the both of us, as I’d never expressed any particular yearning to see it before. I had seen the trailer a few months back, thought, “That looks interesting”, and then forgot all about it. The prospect of seeing it that very night was thrilling. We went home, put it on, my mother immediately fell asleep, and I watched, with a strange mixture of contempt and skepticism. Despite my misgivings, when the credits rose, I jolted my mother awake and demanded she watch it with me, again, right now, because it was pretty much THE BEST MOVIE I HAD EVER SEEN.
I had begun traversing the path of the obsessed, which, post-movie, led me to unceasing soundtrack blasting, in my room and in my car, film analysis, lyric analysis, pages and pages of fanfiction, and, finally, reading the original 1909 novel by Gaston Leroux, and the glorified fanfiction that was Susan Kay’s 1990 novel Phantom. I had little interest in seeing the other movie versions, as it was my firm belief that you cannot improve upon perfection (Gerard Butler), and so the only thing left was to see the show on Broadway. The ads had always existed, but suddenly they were everywhere: THE LONGEST RUNNING SHOW ON BROADWAY. This phrase taunted me every time I heard it. I begged and I pleaded. And finally, one blessed day, after a bout of depression that made school and its attending nuisances completely untenable, my mother brought me to New York for a few days and took me to see the show.
I was completely beside myself. I knew everything that would happen, as I had read numerous descriptions and reviews online, but I don’t think I even need to emphasize how exhilarating the reality of being in the theater is. The music boomed and the organ crashed and I thought I would die, literally die the most rapturous death known to man when the chandelier fell at the beginning of the first act. I wept at the end. My mother probably rolled her eyes. It was one of the best damn days of my life.
I won't continue to bore you with all of the details of every musical experience I’ve ever had. My intent is not to rhapsodize endlessly about my love for the theater, my eternal longing for the disposable income that would allow me to be a regular patron. I don’t even want to talk about the time that I sat in an audition for a college production of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, sweating through my mini-skirt as I gamely attempted to psych myself up to get on a stage in front of people and perform a one-woman version of “Take Me Or Leave Me” from RENT (I walked out before they could call my name and nearly vomited). So I will cut this short, because I can’t imagine how many of these you have to read.
I just want you to know how deeply musical theater has touched my life. How fortunate I consider myself to have seen the shows that I did, to have met the actors I have, to have sung the songs I have sung. Once I see a show, it belongs to me, in a way that is wholly real and magical and invigorating. I fully embrace my nauseating nerdiness in this regard - no day but today is absolutely one of my life mottos, so perfect in all of its tacky, pleather-coated kitschy-ness. When I am giving change to a homeless person on the subway, you better believe I am silently wondering if they are the shadow of my former wife, forced into begging after a traumatic experience that left her destitute and alone. I have not seen every show; I probably would not win any award for having memorized the most obscure lyrics or met the most actors by the stage door. I am an excellent shower singer and in the shower is where my singing should stay. I am an okay dancer, when it’s dark. I have crippling stage fright.
But I want more. I need more. I may have passed every history class I’ve ever taken but that’s because I’m good at memorizing facts, not because I actually cared. It’s full of old white guys and wars, I thought. Boring. But Hamilton, oh, Hamilton, makes history come alive in a way that has never been seen before. The music is unlike anything that's been heard on a Broadway stage before, the cast is refreshingly diverse. It’s an experience that all should experience, but so few - including myself - will. Well, here is my slaying of that vampire. Please consider me for the 2015 You Want to See Hamilton But It’s So Damn Expensive You Need A Grant To Afford Tickets Grant. Here I am, baring myself, humbly, prostrate at your feet. Yes, I missed In The Heights and there is not a day that goes by I don’t regret it. Lin-Manuel, I’m sorry. But everyone keeps talking about Hamilton on Twitter and it is becoming physically painful. And Jonathan Groff is King George. Jonathan Groff! I haven't seen him on stage since HAIR!
Thank you very much for your consideration.