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Jul 11

They laughed at “Hamilton”

By Peggy Haymes | Life well lived

It’s been a big week for lovers of the Broadway show Hamilton. Show creator Lin-Manuel Miranda gave his last Broadway performance as Alexander Hamilton. And on this day in 1804, Aaron Burr killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel in Weehauken, NJ.

It’s a testimony to the musical’s reach and influence that this day is noted as somehow more than a dusty footnote. It’s a testimony to Miranda’s genius that people just cannot help themselves: they have to quote the musical in response to posts marking the day. (Everything is legal in Jersey.)

Hamilton is a force on Broadway and beyond. It won a Grammy for best cast album and brought home an armload of Tony awards. More than that, through its use of hip-hop and storytelling it’s turned kids on to this figure from long ago American history. One column advised parents how to survive their kids’ Hamilton obsession. This ten dollar founding father has made quite a splash. (See, even I’m doing it.)

But a recent appearance at the White House by the Hamilton cast wasn’t the first Hamilton sighting there. When Miranda was invited to the White House Poetry Jam in 2009 he introduced a new hip-hop concept album he was working on based on….

the life of first Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton.

Well, they laughed. Including the President and First Lady. They laughed, because what else could you do with such an absurd idea? 

Here’s the temptation of such a moment, to listen to the laughter instead of your dream. The temptation is to let the laughter sidetrack you and make you doubt yourself.

They didn’t get it. Maybe no one will. Maybe I’m just being stupid.

Have you ever let the laughter or criticism or doubts of someone else turn you away from an idea that was so powerful in your soul that it made you get up in the morning and made it hard to go to bed at night? Maybe it was something you wanted to write or to sing or to dance to to paint. Maybe it was something you wanted to do or a business you wanted to start. Maybe it was a need that you saw a way of meeting, even though no one else had.

What do we do when they just laugh?

The fact is, sometimes we are off track. And sometimes we’re just ahead of time.

But sometimes times that dream rumbling around inside is an important gift for someone somewhere. Even if that someone else is us.

Believe in yourself.

Believe in what you have to offer.

Like that ten dollar founding father, be a self starter…