So… On Friday night I saw Hamilton.
So… On Friday night, I also met the principal CAST of Hamilton.

Let us go over the magical list of random events that made this night magical, shall we?

-I am a big fan of the musical Hamilton. BIG FAN.
-Knowing I was going to be in NYC for Free Comic Book Day, I frantically told a friend that if we didn’t have tickets to Hamilton while I was there, I would go full Game of Thrones and there would be nothing left of New York. I would tear it apart brick by brick by the sheer will of my vengeance and fan girl disappointment. Only the Fraunces Tavern would be left standing so I could have a place to get a drink after I was done.

-We got tickets.

-I have been posting Hamilton fan art. Yes, fan art from a musical. Shut up. No YOU’RE a woman in her 30’s that’s weird.
-note: I am a professional illustrator and writer. I have worked on Star Wars, My Little Pony, Marvel Comics, DC Comics, my comic Gronk, Fraggle Rock. All that stuff and more. www.katiecandraw.com. *cough* pre-order my new Star Wars children’s book, ABC-3P0, coming out in June */cough*
-I donated some art to a charity, like you do.
-A cast member from Hamilton saw said art, liked it. Through PURE, DUMB LUCK that a person saw a thing I did and the kindness of another person, I got an invite backstage. That person should know I am SO GRATEFUL. I thanked you in person, but really. Thank you. Amazing.
-OMFG What the hell just happened?
-I thought briefly about not telling my husband (Ryan) or the friends (James and Carmen) we were seeing the play with about this… But this was too good to keep in. I tell Ryan. I tell James. We decide not to tell Carmen… Who has already SEEN Hamilton 5 times. It’s her addiction. HA!
-I decided to pull rank as a cartoonist and, if I was going to go backstage, I wanted to meet eeeeeeeeveryone. What the hell is my skill set? CUTE CARTOONS.
-I did a 6"x6" watercolor piece of each of the main cast. (See pictures)
-then I unapologetically tweeted the paintings to each of them, offering to give them to them since, you know, I’ll already be around? Really, my main goal was to be within two feet of Leslie Odom Jr. So I could stare at him. Awkwardly. Smitten-like.
-a friend saw these tweets and then contacted a relative that works for the play and really cinched my fate for Friday. Thanks to that group as well, absolutely stunned. (No, I won’t give you that contact, so no ask-y)
-FRIDAY COMES. I have an amazing pre-show round of drinks with Ryan, James and Carmen as we all get hyped. Carmen, THE ONE WHO DOESN’T KNOW what’s about to happen, starts to make dinner plans for after the show and we all stare at the ceiling in muttering agreement. At one point she said “what the hell are you all laughing about” and I don’t know how no one said anything.
-I have all the paintings in my bag. I worry constantly that something is going to happen to my bag.
-I don’t drink very much because we decide tipsy-Hamilton is probably not wise until… Like, the 7th time you’ve seen it.
-TO THE THEATER.
-TO THE MERCHANDISE BOOTH!
-TO THE BAR (Did you know that when you get a drink at the theater, it basically comes in a sippy cup? My wine was in a sippy cup.)
-TO THE BATHROOM! (In case you don’t know, Hamilton is a LONG performance and I’d been nervously sipping at cocktails for the past couple hours)
-TO THE SEATS!
-At this point, I’m dying from the excitement of just BEING there ( …in the room where it happens) and on the playbill we see we’re getting all the main principal actors. No fill-ins tonight. CRAZY… And Lin-Manuel Miranda was Hamilton.
-Though I want say I have heard Javier Munoz is an AMAZING Hamilton and that hearing him sing “Say No to This” is a goddamn life-altering experience. I hear people change religions to the church of Javier after seeing him perform. I hope I see him on stage one day!
-Hamilton Starts.
-Mind blown. Amazing. Holy hell. The cast recording is something, but seeing it live is just this whole level of appreciation for how it’s crafted and staged. I’ll never forget it.
-Now is a good time to point out this is my husband’s first time seeing a play on Broadway. It’s like taking someone to a comic book convention for the first time and it being San Diego Comic Con.
-Trying to pee during intermission is a harrowing tale of struggle and pain worthy of its own 2 hour dramatic movie.
-All through the final number I am a combination of dead from excitement and nerves that maybe this whole backstage this was a giant joke to get me to excitedly present myself only to be turned away. I have a lot of issues left over from high school. I’m FINE. IT’S FINE. WE’RE ALL FINE.
-It’s OVER. Everyone is shunted out of the theater to the lobby. Bodies everywhere. Everyone leaves in a stunned silence because OMFG you don’t know what to say after seeing something that good.
-Rory O’Malley as King George is hysterical. He’s so talented and so funny. Amazing.
-You are not prepared for Daveed Diggs as Jefferson. The swagger. THE SWAGGER.
-I know in my head I am supposed to look for a specific person to MAKE SOME MAGIC!
-I don’t know where this person is.
-We go on a bit of an up and down journey around the theater. All over the goddamn place, the whole time, Carmen… She of the uninformed bit of our party, is very much in “What the HELL are we doing? The doors are THAT WAY” mode. I can’t blame her. She is in heels and there are lots of stairs. I’m currently hoping Carmen is not planning to stab me with a stiletto.
-We find the person, yay!
-I give my name. This is where the plan will fail if you just try to do this willy-nilly, guys. My name was on a list. Like, a cool list? Not the type of lists I’m probably normally on.
-We go on stage. Eeeee! My lil’ fan girl self is dying at this point.
-Carmen has turned to me and said “What the hell is happening”. Urge to say “I’m about to change your life” rising. We’re all pretty much shell shocked at this point just because we’re backstage at goddamn Hamilton.
-Now it’s a whirlwind of meetings and conversations that are exciting, brief, bizarre and I act like an idiot half the time. A smiling idiot. No apologies, guys. I was excited.
-You see that picture of Lin and I where I look like I’m freaking out? I was. I was freaking the hell out.
-Leslie Odom Jr. Is wonderful, I’d build a creepy shrine to him if I didn’t have to explain it to my daughters.
-Everyone in the cast was very kind and polite. All seemed to enjoy my silly drawings of them. I have something nice to say about each person I met. They’re all very nice people who were all willing to take a few moments to say “hi” to me.
-Noticed at the end that I didn’t grab a photo with Phillipa Soo. I was super nervous, guys. I almost went back to her after I gave her the painting but she was talking to someone else and I didn’t want to bother her. I had to remind myself that the cast were people and not Pokemon. I did not need to catch them all. The experience was enough. She’s so talented.
-Thank you to Lin-Manuel Miranda for being so nice to me and laughing at the cartoon I did. You’re inspiring to those of us in the creative trenches that aspire to create something special. Maybe, one day, if our paths cross again, I won’t come off as such an idiot.
-Thank you again to everyone that made Friday happen for me.
-we may never top this for Ryan’s second Broadway experience. Maybe if, one day, I can talk Steve Martin into giving Ryan a lingering hug.
-Raise a glass to those of us who managed to leave Carmen speechless. A Herculean task. Love you, Car and James. If we could have shared this with anyone, I’m glad it was you!

And that was my Hamilton experience. It was a night to remember!
-Katie

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