My 'Hamilton Experience'


September 20, 2018

Reporter Spencer Lee, age 11, with Hamilton directors Ian Weinberger and Kurt Crowley. Photo courtesy of KidScoop Media

By Spencer Lee, Age 11

Special from KidScoop Media

I recently saw the musical "Hamilton" on Broadway in New York City.

I fell in love with this musical since I first heard the soundtrack a year ago. I immediately thought that [show creator and star] Lin-Manuel Miranda, as well as the cast and crew behind Hamilton, were geniuses.

With the smart and catchy hip-hop lyrics, along with stunning vocals. Hamilton truly is a revolutionary creation that deserves a million standing ovations.

I traveled to New York to interview the musical directors of Hamilton on assignment for Kid Scoop Media. This is an organization that helps kids have life-changing opportunities through interviews with politicians, celebrities and activists/leaders.

I was so excited to have this chance to interview Hamilton's musical directors on Broadway because not only is it my favorite show and I had a lot of questions, but I had never seen it on Broadway.

I got to sit in the fourth row, which was so awesome because I was sitting so close to the stage. After the show, I got to meet the people I would interview at the stage door.

I had my questions prepared, and I was ready to go. I got to go on to the stage, and I met the actress who played Angelica! She was really nice, and after saying hello, I went into the director's' office.

I met with the musical director, Kurt Crowley, and the associate musical director, Ian Weinberger. I had a very friendly, casual, interesting and informative interview with them.

They were so nice and willing to take time, at 11 at night, to answer all of the questions that I had. They told me many interesting things that I didn't know about the show.

They both said that as musical directors, they were in charge of every single note of every single song. In addition to conducting the orchestra, they also play the keyboard during the show, and that the keyboard is monitored on a TV screen that the actors see from the stage.

Weinberger said that part of being a musical director is to know when to start conducting again after applause, or to take a longer pause if necessary.

Musical Director Crowley described his experience while conducting the performance that Vice President Mike Pence watched back in 2016. I remember hearing about it at the time and reading that Pence walked out as the cast spontaneously confronted him directly from the stage.

They were protesting against [the Administration's} anti-immigration policy. Crowley mentioned that the cast had always planned to speak to the audience after the show because it was the period of time in which casts all over Broadway were asking for donations.

Crowley explained that Pence did walk out, but it wasn't necessarily because of the actors or the audience. Secret Service often tells the person they're protecting when it's time to go and the timing of his exit may have been coincidental with the curtain speech.

As they say in Hamilton, you don't know the real story unless you're "In the room where it happens."

Crowley has worked with Lin- Manuel Miranda since his first Broadway musical, In the Heights, about eight years ago.

The first time he heard any songs from Hamilton, it was during the White House Performance for the Obamas in 2015. He was impressed but wasn't sure that bigger audiences would appreciate it.

"Boy, was I wrong," he said.

I learned so many other interesting facts, including:

• Hamilton is now "frozen," meaning nothing can be changed about the musical.

• There was a song in the show that is not on the soundtrack, titled "Tomorrow There'll be More of Us." When I asked why that was the case, the directors explained that they wanted to give the audience a little surprise.

• Hamilton is touring all over the world. There are clocks in Crowley's office that show what time each performance begins.

In conclusion, I had a great time interviewing Kurt Crowley and Ian Weinberger. I thought their answers to my questions were very impressive.

I am so glad I learned all of this information, because I think Hamilton is a masterpiece. Since I am its biggest fan, I appreciate knowing all the secrets and fun facts behind it.


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