If you haven’t heard of the show ‘Hamilton’, it’s the critically acclaimed musical written by Lin-Manuel Miranda about one of the founding fathers of the United States – Alexander Hamilton. The casting announcement opened for ‘Hamilton’ in London in December 2016; tickets went on sale January 30, 2017. So in true fashion, my friend and I were at our computers the day, hour, minute and second the ticket sales went out to the public. I waited in a “virtual” queue for multiple hours until it was my turn to snag four tickets for the January 11, 2018 show. January 11th happens to be Alexander Hamilton’s birthday, too! Didn’t know it until after we saw the show. Originally, the first show was scheduled for November 2017, which seemed disappointing at the time to have to wait until our showing in January. In retrospect, it worked out because those who got tickets for November/December shows had to be moved since the production wasn’t quite ready.
So, the four of us got to experience what all the fuss was about. It really did live up to the hype! During the whole show I was in awe of just how creative, catchy, and informative(!) it all was. The choreography was outstanding/demanding, and to think they usually do two shows a day! I don’t know how they do it. I did check out instagram after the show to start following a few of the actors from that night, one of them posted a pic of a box full of “Shack Burgers” from Shake Shack. Maybe that’s how they do it!
Who would’ve thought to make a hip-hop musical about Alexander Hamilton, and then think it would work?! If you get an opportunity to see it, don’t throw away your shot!
In October 2015, my friend Emily asked if I would be interested in tickets to the upcoming Harry Potter play in London. Of course I was! She proceeded to wait in a “virtual line” for six hours. She originally wanted to obtain tickets for Summer 2016, but by the time it was her turn she was offered tickets for late October 2016. A whole year away! Nevertheless, I was thrilled, it was no question, we took them!
Finally, a year passed, we collected our tickets and found our seats. At that moment, it finally hit me that we were in f*ing London to see the new Harry Potter play! I felt like we won the lottery. It was totally a “pinch me” moment. The play was in two parts, over two nights – the first part was on the 20th and second on the 21st. I made sure not to read anything about the production or the book so I wouldn’t be disappointed if it turned out “just okay”. Everything from the cast, costumes, set and special effects were fantastic. Going into it without knowing the details of the story made the play even more magical. And, did I mention we had awesome seats? It was such an incredible experience that our Christmas card for 2016 had a picture of us in front of the theater. It wasn’t the best picture, but it was a moment in 2016 that captured pure joy.
Speaking of amazing plays, and fun stuff happening in the West End….the critically acclaimed Hamilton play is making its way to this side of the pond in Fall 2017. This time around it was my turn to wait in virtual line to get tickets as soon as they went on sale in late January 2017. By the time it was my turn, I snagged tickets for January 2018. A full year away…again! So excited and can’t wait to share our experiences of it early next year!
We did other London things too. Hubs and I took the time to have high tea at Claridges, which was really nice and relaxing. After trying many afternoon tea places over the years, my favorite is still at the Connaught Hotel. Other than the play and high tea, we didn’t really have anything else planned except to eat! We went back to some of our favorite eateries and found a few new places to try.
I love metropolitan cities. It sends my senses into overdrive. Since we live in a country where English is not the primary spoken language, London holds an even more special place in my heart, now. Last year, it helped with homesickness. We used to visit NYC each year, just before Christmas, to see all the decorations and lights. This year, we’ll bring our tradition to this side of the Atlantic and maintain it as long as we’re on this side of the world. I love visiting London. I love being able to read all the signs, get around, and openly converse with the locals without a struggle. It’s like a much needed palette cleanse for the mind.
We had a great time having high tea (how proper!), seeing a show on the West End, and enjoying cuisines that we’ve missed. Hubs and I feel refreshed and already contemplating our return to this amazing city.