By In Family


I was going to do one of those year in review things where I wrote about all the good things of 2016. And then I remembered: I already wrote that …

* * *

”How does a bastard, orphan, son of a whore
And a Scotsman, dropped in the middle of a
Forgotten spot in the Caribbean by providence
impoverished, in squalor
Grow up to be a hero and a scholar?”

— The opening words of “Alexander Hamilton.”

* * *

The idea took hold a few months ago. It’s hard to say exactly what sparked it other than … well, have you ever been the parent of a 14-year-old girl? It is a daunting experience. Elizabeth is a good person. She’s a good student. She has a huge heart. She’s a loyal friend. She’s funny too. She likes Death Cab and Spinal Tap and comic books and reading. The other day, she told me that her favorite movie of all time is “The Godfather.” I mean, she is more me than I am.

But she is 14, and in some ways that explains everything. In some ways it doesn’t. There are times I feel closer to her than ever … and times I feel so much further away. Farther away? Further away? One gorgeous day in autumn, I was sitting on the porch, working, and she came outside and sat next to me, and it became clear after a few choice words about tattoos and nose rings and such that she had come out for the sole purpose of starting a fight. There was no specific reason for it other than she’s 14, and I’m her father, and this is the timeless story.

There have been other things, trying things, unforeseen things, a punishing year, and one day I came up with this idea. I would take Elizabeth to see “Hamilton.”

We have a flaw in my family, one that goes back generations: We tend to grow obsessed with, well, stuff. What kind of stuff? OK, my mother through the years has had been possessed by countless activities including (but not limited to): paint-by-numbers; cross-stitch; stamp collecting; Harlequin Romances; computer programming (the most profitable of such obsessions); various soap operas; various reality TV shows; crossword puzzles; cookbooks; Candy Crush; all sorts of collectibles and, most recently, coloring books. She recently had coloring pencils shipped from Sweden or Switzerland or some such place. She’s very good at coloring. You can find her work on Facebook.

This is just how the family mind works, I guess. I have known all my life about my weakness for growing obsessed by things. This is the reason I haven’t seen Game of Thrones or The Americans or Downton Abbey or House of Cards or any other recently popular television show. It isn’t because I dislike television — it’s the opposite. I like television too much. I know the only way to avoid free-falling into that television hole is to never start watching in the first place.

I don’t mean this theoretically. For years, people have been on me to watch “Mad Men.” Three weeks ago, I caved in and decided to watch. I have now seen every show, all seven seasons, 92 episodes. That’s in three weeks. In other words, I have spent roughly four of the last 21 days doing nothing but watching Mad Men. That’s not healthy. I mean, the show was superb but I’m glad it’s over. I would rather obsess about something else.

Elizabeth is one of several million people — so many of them teenagers — who have become obsessed with the Broadway show “Hamilton.” It is funny, if you think about it. Kids all over America are smitten by a show about a previously minor Founding Father who probably would have gotten chucked off the $10 bill had it not been for the genius of Lin-Manuel Miranda.
When I was Elizabeth’s age, we all wore Rush and Black Sabbath T-shirts and sang about how Mommy’s alright and Daddy’s alright, they just seem a little weird.

These kids are singing about Alexander Hamilton’s argument with Thomas Jefferson over a plan to establish a national bank and assume state debt.

All of Elizabeth’s friends seem to be into Hamilton. One of them will periodically and for no obvious reason break into “You’ll Be Back,” a song where King George tells the colonies they will eventually return to England’s rule (‘’Cuz when push comes to shove/I will kill your friends and family to remind you of my love.”). Another somehow got to see the show back before it became a national phenomenon and this has turned her into something of a superhero.

But of course, Elizabeth is more consumed by the show than most. She has memorized every word of the musical, read every word she can about Alexander Hamilton, and, naturally, she has asked us to start calling her “Eliza” after Hamilton’s wife Eliza Schuyler. She wears one of her three Hamilton T-shirts every single day that she’s allowed, and she regularly says things like “Thomas Jefferson was the worst,” though it has nothing at all to do with what we were talking about, and she will actually tear up a little thinking about poor John Laurens.

This is all hilarious, of course — a 14-year-old girl utterly fanatical about the Founding Fathers — that is until you realize that it isn’t going away.

All of this reminded me, strangely enough, of the Cleveland Browns. They were my first obsession. Even now, I’m not sure I can put into words how consumed I was with the Browns. In classes, when I should have been learning how to find the area of a circle or how circuits work or what the heck Hawthorne was talking about (things I still don’t know), I was scribbling stupid little stories about the Cleveland Browns. You might think this was because I wanted to become a sportswriter, but no,I had no idea about sportswriting, no ambitions to be a writer. I was writing these Browns stories because I couldn’t stop thinking about them — no, more to the point, I did not want to stop thinking about them. I was happiest pondering Bernie Kosar and Earnest Byner and Kevin Mack and Hanford Dixon and all the rest. I was happiest dreaming up imaginary plays that might work, strategies that might pay off, preview stories that might come true.

Now, of course, I see it: The rest of life was kind of scary. School was scary. Girls were scary. My parents were scary. Homework was scary. All the other kids seemed to me to know something I did not know. They knew who they were. They knew how they fit in. They knew what they wanted to do with their lives. Of course, they did not really know any of that, but they sure seemed to know, and here I was, too small for one sport, too uncoordinated for another, too stupid or lazy (or both) to excel, too homely to ask out the cheerleader, too nearsighted to give up the glasses, too shy to be the class clown, too unimaginative to play Dungeon and Dragons, too uncool to be first, too uncommitted to think about it all very much. Ah, but the Cleveland Browns. That was a world I understood. I did not want to leave.

Elizabeth does not have any of my weaknesses — she has lots of friends, works way harder and does way better in her classes, is beautiful … but it’s only when you get older that you realize that ALL kids have at least some of these emotions. It is scary being a teenager. But it’s also exhilarating. She finds herself seesawing between childhood and and adulthood, enjoying a few minutes of peace doing girlish things but then growing outraged when the waitress gives her a kid’s menu, proudly interviewing and getting a summer job but then wanting to know why she can’t just stay home and read. It’s all so confusing.

It’s so much safer in the world of Alexander Hamilton.

So, one day, I decided to take on a speaking engagement for the sole purpose of raising enough money to take Elizabeth to see Hamilton. You probably know that it’s hard, almost impossible even, to get Hamilton tickets. This is true but it’s also not true. It’s true that getting Hamilton tickets involves lotteries and luck and trying to buy tickets months in advance and knowing somebody who knows somebody who knows somebody.

But … it’s also true that you can simply buy resale Hamilton tickets — that is, if you are willing to spend more money than you could ever imagine spending. How much money? I still can’t say the number out loud.

Rain fell in New York the night we saw Hamilton.

And Elizabeth held my hand tight and couldn’t stop crying as we walked into the theater.

* * *

“I may not live to see our glory
(I may not live to see our glory)
But I will gladly join the fight
(But I will gladly join the fight)
And when our children tell our story
(And when our children tell our story)
They’ll tell the story of tonight

— The Story of Tonight from Hamilton

The thing about seeing Hamilton RIGHT NOW at its peak moment is that even before it begins, the entire theater is filled with wonder. Every single person would rather be here than anywhere else in the world. As a sportswriter, I often feel that sort of energy at the biggest events, at the Masters or the Super Bowl or the Olympics, but it’s even more pronounced in this theater. People look at each other with the same wide-eyed expression: “Can you believe we’re here?”

And then the show begins, Aaron Burr on the stage, talking about that bastard orphan Hamilton, and within about two minutes you realize the thing makes Hamilton magical is this: It’s going to be even better than you had hoped.

How do you know only a minute in? You just do. The charms of Hamilton are so overwhelming and come at you from so many different directions that it’s hard to pinpoint. The music is fantastic, of course, and of every style. The actors are all thoroughly wonderful. The set, which is so simple, is ever changing as people bring things on the stage and take things off, almost without notice. Lin-Manuel Miranda’s lyrics are so fun and surprising and joyful and glorious …

Here, the Marquis de Lafayette is the “Lancelot of the Revolutionary set.”

Here, George Washington is not the white-haired truth-teller known for annual white sales, he is the only hope when the Colonies are “outgunned, outmanned, outnumbered, outplanned.”

Here, the Revolutionary War is not some bloodless classroom lesson, but the answer to the question: “How does a ragtag army in need of a shower/somehow defeat a global superpower?”

Here, duels are explained in rhyme:

Number one!
The challenge, demand satisfaction
If they apologize, no need for further action
Number two!
If they don’t, grab a friend, that’s your second
Your lieutenant when there’s reckoning to be reckoned.

And maybe this begins to explain the sorcery of Hamilton: It is new and it is familiar all at once. You know these characters and don’t know them at all. You know the story and don’t know it at all. I can’t remember anything quite like that. When the second act begins, Aaron Burr introduces Thomas Jefferson (“You haven’t met him yet, you haven’t had the chance/‘cause he’s been kicking’ ass as the ambassador to France), and then Daveed Diggs’ Thomas Jefferson rolls out wearing a glorious purple suit, looking for all the world like a revolutionary version of Prince …

… and it’s JUST RIGHT. Do you know what I mean? You might be aware that Thomas Jefferson really didn’t look like Prince and he wasn’t much of a hip hop performer. He was a Virginia slaveowner. But by the time the second act begins, no, this is Thomas Jefferson. It feels exactly right. This is the closest experience I’ve ever had to that feeling inside a dream. You know: In the dream, you are talking with your best friend only he’s actually a grizzly bear wearing a stethoscope, and you’re inside a car that’s not exactly a car and you’re parked inside the Taj Mahal but it’s orange and looks a bit like old Shea Stadium … and none of it seems out of place. None of it seems unfamiliar. It doesn’t just make perfect sense, it feels perfect. There are goosebumps detonating because, my God, look, that’s Thomas Jefferson.

No, I guess I cannot put you there in the theater, though I wish I could. I wish you could see it if you have not. I don’t even know you, but I wish you could see it because you will be happier after you see it. You will be happier after watching Hamilton and Jefferson have a hip-hop rap off about whether the U.S. should honor its treaty with France. You will be happier after watching Angelica relive the moment that she introduced her sister Eliza to Hamilton. You will even be happier after seeing the Burr-Hamilton duel, which is indescribably powerful and so utterly simple all at once.

My friend Michael told me something before I saw the show and after he found out how much I paid to see it — I think he was saying it to make me feel better about the expense. He said it is the one thing, maybe the only thing, that lives up to the hype. He was exaggerating to make a point. After all, the Golden State Warriors, when right, live up to the hype. A Bruce Springsteen concert lives up to the hype. In ’N Out Burgers live up to the hype. Playoff hockey, The Great Gatsby, Paris, The Gettysburg Address, first kisses, baseball day games, chocolate cake, all of these live up to the hype. There are many other things too — Messi and Harry Potter and Adele and Kansas City barbecue — that rise up to our highest hopes.

What made Hamilton different, I think, was that in addition to rising up, in addition to surpassing those hopes, it felt familiar too, as if we’d already seen it long ago and are now happily remembering.

* * *

“Let me tell you what I wish I’d known
When I was young and dreamed of glory
You have no control
Who lives
Who dies
Who tells your story.”

— The closing song of “Hamilton.”

Throughout the show, Elizabeth would periodically grab my arm and squeeze it as tight as she could. It was as if she was trying to hold herself up.

“Dad,” she whispered in my ear during a quiet moment, “I cannot believe I’m here.” She was sobbing.

One of the enduring curiosities of parenthood is that you have no idea what moments will endure. I can vaguely remember, so many times, doing something with Elizabeth — holding her when she was just a child or taking her to her first something or other or having one of those important heart-to-heart talks — and thinking: “Oh, I’ll never forget this exact moment.”

And I’ve forgotten them. The details are lost. Oh, I’m sure they’re in my mind somewhere, and maybe they will emerge at some point, but right now they are gone. Her first day of school? Her first ballgame? Her first full-throated laugh? The unforgettable time that she … what did she do again? Gone.

Meanwhile, other moments, silly things, pointless things, they stand out, like something red in a fog of white. A bad pun she said once. The time I helped her study for a fairly meaningless quiz. That soccer game when she stood around talking to a friend even as the ball rolled by her time and again.

So, while it’s fresh in my mind now, I cannot imagine forgetting any detail of sitting with Elizabeth while we watched Hamilton. But I will forget. I will forget the details of this difficult but hopeful year. I will forget the size of eyes as she stared at the stage and tried to memorize it. I will forget because the years pile on, and memories cloud as they bump into each other, and I barely remember where I was yesterday.

But she will remember. That’s the thing. She will remember every detail. She will remember it the way I remember what it was like inside Cleveland Municipal Stadium with those stupid steel beams blocking every view of the field and the wind howling off of the Lake and the smell of stale beer and cigarette smoke. She will remember every little thing about that theater, about that stage, about Lin’s voice, about my jacket being around her shoulders, about Burr’s unplanned little laugh when watching King George dance, about that night.

As we walked out into New York, the echo of the show still ringing, she held on to me tight, and she stumbled because she was still inside the dream. She leaned up and kissed me on the cheek.

“Are you going to start crying again?” I asked her.

“No,” she said, but she did, just a little, and she clung to me tighter, and I leaned down and sang in her ear:

‘They’ll tell the story of tonight.”

She smiled and wiped away her tear. “They’ll tell the story of tonight,” she sang back.

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230 Responses to Hamilton

  1. Dr. Baseball says:

    You are the writer I wish I could be.
    As always.
    You have such a way with words…and can tell such wonderful stories.
    Thank you.
    Again and again.

    • Lee says:

      The main problem with writers like Joe (and to be fair, that’s a Tiny group) is that they destroy the dreams of the rest of us, I’ve always been a pretty good writer and at times I think maybe I should start blogging and try to build an audience, but then you read a Posnanski piece like this and you realise, why bother, I’d just be wasting everyone’s time, why pollute the world with my 2nd rate rubbish and waste peoples time who instead could be reading real quality over at Posnanskis blog!! He is just unfairly good at this, but I am so glad he is. As an aussie I know nothing about baseball but can read his most obscure baseball pieces and just take joy from the way the words fit together, to have talent like that in the world is a great thing, even if that great thing combines with my self-criticism and (probably more importantly) laziness to stop me from trying something I would love to do

  2. DevilsAdvocate says:

    I don’t know how you matched your story about Harry Potter World. When can you pick up your Pulitzer?

  3. Jennifer says:

    As a girl whose dad took her to Phantom when she was 13 because it was her favorite thing in the world even though she’d never seen it, I can promise you, Elizabeth WILL remember this night with you. My dad is gone now, and I hadn’t thought about my own “story of tonight” for quite a while now. Thank you so much for bringing it to mind.

    • Jesi says:

      My dad took me to Wicked in Chicago when I was 14. Like, you, my dad is gone now. And like you, I will always remember that trip with him.

  4. Elizabeth says:

    Thank you for this. My best friend and I saw it with that same wonder, that same strange familiarity and squeezing each other’s arms

  5. Alyssa Brady says:

    This is lovely.
    I’m 16 and find I have a similar situation with Elizabeth regarding Hamilton.
    Never seen it, though. She’s so lucky she got to have this opportunity.
    Reading this was like reading my greatest dream. Kind of wonderful in a way.

  6. Pablo says:

    I’m still hoping to see “Hamilton”, but I feel happy because your daughter saw it. I think we can all relate to that feeling of happiness when you are at the exact place where you’d wish you’d be. This is a great story and one that definitely needs to be told.

  7. Jessica says:

    I’m 34 years old and I sat in the second row of the Richard Rodgers theatre with my hands clasped together and a giant grin on my face as I leaned closer to the stage. Even as I was crying during Stay Alive (reprise)/It’s Quiet Up Town, I had a giant grin on my face. But like your family, I get obsessed with things and my current obsession is Hamilton. Thankfully I bought my ticket back in September before the Grammys and the peak of hype.

  8. AP says:

    This is really inspiring. I feel the exact same way and share the same feelings about it as Hamilton. My friends always make fun of me or at least did because I never listened to music I just didn’t like it, but my best friend introduced me to Hamilton and now I listen to it literally every day, have learned all the words, and it’s my favorite thing to listen to. So Lin has honestly made the first music that I actually enjoy listening to. I really don’t think Lin would ever see this, but if he does and if any of you can make it possible for him to see this, I just wanted to say thank you Lin for making music, the only music, that I actually enjoy, that I love, and listen to everyday of my life with a passion. You have truly changed my life with your talent. Thank you.

  9. Bridget says:

    This was PERFECT.
    Thanks for sharing.

  10. Sam says:

    This was beautifully written. I’m glad you had such a lovely night with your daughter and I’m indescribably jealous that I will never see the original cast of Hamilton.

  11. You have never wavered from your ability to paint moving, emotional pictures with you words. I know and remember you vividly when you wrote for a little paper we call the Kansas City Star. I never missed a column. As a father, your words remind me of the most important “job” I have. My daughter is my life and in your elegant descriptive prose above, I know your daughter is as well. Well done, sir. Well done!

  12. CSchwarz says:

    This is my 15 year old daughter! We too are trying to get her there to see this before the show ends (or at least before the original cast is no longer in it).

  13. Becky Burkert says:

    My husband did what you did…forked out an obscene amount of cash to take my 16 year old daughter and I (she and I sing “Farmer Refuted” as a duet) to see Hamilton in March. He said at one point he looked at the two of us…she was grinning from ear to ear, I was crying. Says it was the best money he’s ever spent!

  14. Nicole says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this story. I saw the show this weekend, and felt so fortunate to be there. After buying the tickets 7 months ago and listening to the soundtrack countless times, I thought it would meet my expectations, if that. But it was pure magic. There’s no other way to describe it. Thank you for putting into words the wonderment I’ve been feelings for days.

  15. Shannon says:

    I saw this, with my 12 year old son, though I was the superfan. You captured it so well. He won’t forget it, though he never knew he wanted it.
    From another sportswriter’s daughter

  16. Rebecca Dalton says:

    You should write a book about your daughter–these are my favorite pieces you write!

  17. Susan Mueller says:

    Thank you for this! A perfect description of parent-child struggles & joy. Such a loving thing for you to do!
    You may be responsible for me spending the obscene amount of money to see this show. And travel from Texss to do this. I’m more than 50 years past 14, but have the same obsession about this genius work as your Eliza. It’s so illogical. I need it, though.

  18. Brooke W says:

    As a fellow 14 year old girl obsessed with Hamilton, I relate to this so much. I am sitting here sobbing because of how beautiful this story is. Hamilton really is history in the making and we are so lucky to see it happen. The way you recall that night makes me so unbelievably excited to see Hamilton in November! Thanks again for this incredible story. Also remind yourself and Elizabeth: look around, look around, at how lucky we are to be alive right now 🙂

  19. Candace Hill says:

    My husband suggested a weekend in New York City in October, before visiting his family upstate. Hamilton had not yet opened on Broadway and there was none of the hype that you see now, just little hints I’d seen on Twitter from the Public Theater. We got seats from Ticketmaster at the going rate. The CD wasn’t released until the two days before we saw the show. My husband had no idea what he would be seeing. But I did. I did. I am still hugging myself that I got to see that show, in New York City, with every single member of the Original Cast. And I grew up in rural Oregon. Highlight of my life, right there. Right exactly there.

  20. sanford sklansky says:

    That was great. Just one quibble Hamilton was hardly a minor founding father. If you daughter hasn’t read it she should read Ron Chernow’s bio on Hamilton. They used his book as a basis for the play. It is Chernow’s contention that Hamilton was the most important person not to be elected president. He was Washington’s right hand man during the revolution, he started the central bank, and wrote most of the Federalist Papers.

    • invitro says:

      Baby steps. If the kids are interested in the Founding Fathers to any extent at all, I think we should count that as a win and not press them any further.

    • Rohnn Lampi says:

      Agreed. Hamilton was NOT a minor founding father. But the article itself was breathtaking.

    • Nick S. says:

      Richard Brookhiser’s biography of Hamilton would also be a good starting point.

    • MikeN says:

      Among non-Presidents how should we rank the Founding Fathers?
      Is their anyone to include in the Inner Circle with Hamilton and Franklin?

      • Mike Schilling says:

        John Jay?

        • Joe Harkins says:

          This may stretch the definition of “Founding Father” but it undeniable that the firebrand Joseph Warren who died at Bunker Kill (or Breed’s Hill to the exact-minded) was as important to the start of the Revolution as any of those who survived that struggle and went on to shape the new nation.

          I haunt the used book racks in NYC at the corner of Broadway and 13th Street. There I found, for $1.00, “With Fire and Sword: The Battle of Bunker Hill and the Beginning of the American Revolution” by James L. Nelson. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in how it happened. It’s still available on Amazon.

          Although the revolution might have happened anyway, had he not been who he was, Warren’s words and actions are so key to it, it’s also possible to believe it might not have happened without his leadership and courage.

  21. Jennifer Wolfe says:

    Of course Lin-Manuel’s retweet of this sent me here. And I’m so glad it did.

    It gave me cause to recall a certain 14-year-old girl, who herself was difficult beyond measure, and often argued with her father. He had a love of history, American history to be specific, and it was often the only thing the two of us could agree on. And as I struggled through the Federalist Papers and Constitutional Convention, he would quote Jefferson to me, (for you see, he was a “Jeffersonian Democrat”), and I would roll my eyes because my father loved bragging about being a Virginian, like his heroes, Washington and Jefferson. It was, in a word, rather “nerdy” and at 14, I was embarrassed enough about my father.

    Musicals were a staple in a house full of musicians, all of us were singers. I was 18 when he introduced me to his 2nd favorite musical, “1776”. It was then I finally “got it”. Why it was my father loved these people so much, that they were real men, making such difficult decisions. And I learned to love history more because he made me understand that. It continued to be our touchstone, that mutual love of music and history. He urged me to study voice, which I did for three years, until I ended up forgoing that for history. I pursued Roman and early Christian history, delving into theology, which had been his life’s work as a minister. He would listen patiently as I would discuss with excitement whatever new information I’d hit upon in my research. And whenever I would visit, he’d sing some random show tune and get me to sing along. It was how we bonded.

    My father died a year-and-a-half ago. Diabetes and early-onset Alzheimer’s took him far too soon, well before “Hamilton” became a household name. I first heard of the play months later, and laughed. I had always had an abiding love of hip hop and rap, one my father couldn’t stand when I was 14, which is perhaps why I liked it. But the story reminded me so much of “1776” and how we bonded over music and history and the telling of these stories. And as I fell in love with the soundtrack, which was inevitable, I wished very much I could make him listen to it, to hear him grumble, to point out the inaccuracies, but to see the magic I felt in it, the excitement, the sheer delight I took in the word play and the storytelling. While I’m closer to Lin’s age than your daughter’s, I too was sucked in and wanted very much to share that with my father.

    On a mad impulse driven by overwork and recent finals in my Ph.D. program, (of course it is history), I hit on the idea of spending my meager savings to go to New York to see the show. A friend of mine agreed, and we are going in a month. On my mother’s birthday, ironically, and she is very jealous. But I will think of my father, and wish he was there to see the magic, to hear the words, and to see the familiar story through my eyes and through those of the play. And I will remember being 14, when he and I didn’t get along except for our mutual love of history.

    All this is to say, cherish this very beautiful moment with your daughter, because it is one of those magical moments she will remember for all of her life. There will be graduations and a wedding, grandkids, all those amazing moments, but looking back, it will be this magical moment with her daddy, when the two of you got to bond over something as special as a once-in-a-lifetime musical that she will treasure the most.

    And thank you for such a lovely, beautiful review. I clicked on it as Lin said it made him cry, and you know what, I’m sobbing quietly in California. I totally get it. Thank you for your words.

    (And you are right on Kansas City Barbecue – being from there originally and flying home frequently to get it. And I live by an In-N-Out, and that is true as well.)

  22. Eboney Moore says:

    That was absolutely beautiful. I love listening to other people’s experiences with obsessing over anything that happens. I’m crying right now over this story, it’s just so cute. It’s so nice that your daughter had someone to share her obsession with 🙂

  23. Jen says:

    My only question is, how did you not know you’d be a writer? This was beautiful.

  24. Mandy S says:

    This is perfect. Thank you for this.

  25. Stacy K says:

    I cannot thank you enough for putting this into words. Your description could easily double as my own.
    I have always struggled to explain my “obsessive” mind to those around me, as I sense them growing increasingly bored or annoyed with my latest fixation. It has been even harder as I have been trying to explain why I dropped an unspeakable amount of money on a back-of-the-mezzanine ticket and flew solo to NY for one night to see Hamilton last week. I made a day of my “PilgrHAMage”, visiting any relevant sites I could in the city. I even customized on old pair of black and gold Toms to read “Who lives, who dies, who tells your story?” and photographed my journey. I wasn’t entirely alone, though. At every stop, I came across other people just like me, sharing stories and making instant connections.
    One thing I know for certain is that I will always tell the story of that night; how I absorbed every line and movement, living in the moment, allowing myself to be taken on a journey with the explosion of talent on the stage. Now I am counting down the days until the Chicago company takes the stage.

    • Siva says:

      I did the same back in March! Since I live in New Jersey, I began my trip from the Weehawken Ferry just steps away from the site of the duel! Then, saw the related sites in Manhattan before seeing the play.

  26. Sylvia says:

    Eveeytime Icone across a personal recounting from anyone attending the play, I sit and read it with anticipation, because I bought my tickets during an open window back in January. My tickets are for November, and I will be attending the show with my husband and 21 year old son. The kid is a bit of a history buff, so I hope that he likes the play as much as everyone who has seen it.

  27. invitro says:

    I’m a little ashamed to say that I find most of this feely pieces rather cornball and schmaltzy. But I will admit a few things:
    – Joe clearly has a gift for writing about rites of passage. Just look at those comments, holy cow, has any other sportswriter *ever* reached so many teenage girls, or even women? I agree with the commenters that Joe should try to find a book to write about growing up… maybe with Elizabeth’s help, or about himself, or who knows.
    – Joe is one hell of a dad. (If he’s not spoiling his first daughter.)
    – I’d never heard of this Hamilton business, and Alexander Hamilton is just about the very last person I’d think teenage girls would found their latest craze around. Bizarre, in a really neat way, I suppose.
    – I really want to see a family picture of Joe, Marge, …and Elizabeth with her tattoos and nose rings.

    • Steven Williamson says:

      This was so much more about his relationship with his daughter, in my take anyway. Dads, good dads, anyway, spend their time trying to figure things out and chasing moments to remember. His words about what he remembers and what he forgets were dead on and made me cry–imagine that, a grown man with a grown daughter.

      Thanks Joe, for this piece that was about what it means to be a dad with a daughter.

    • Jim Burns says:

      See, that’s the dirty little secret about Joe. He really isn’t a sportswriter – he’s a peoplewriter, who just happened to write a lot about sports. I’m a KC guy (now living in Charlotte) who used to read Joe religiously, but lost touch after he left the Star and then SI (and, frankly, the Paterno book). But this piece will bring me back.

      And if you are new to Joe, love this, but want to read more about sports, find his Buck O’Neil stuff. You’ll still be teary-eyed.

  28. Deborah Taylor says:

    What a wonderful piece! I’m a sixty-something who has always been that person whose interests border on obsessions. My youngest daughter fell in love with the cast album as I did; her older sister, was more skeptical. We had perfectly reasonably priced tickets purchased months ahead of time but the blizzard in January shut down Broadway on the day we were to go. I bit the bullet, added a lot more money to our refund, purchased resale tickets and we saw the show in March and I totally agree that nothing prepared us for the sheer magnitude of seeing it. I admit, I was the one silently cheering as each cast member came on during the opening number. At intermission, I turned to my oldest and she nodded. “I get it.” Another cast album sold and in constant rotation.

  29. Judith Reifsteck says:

    I saw Hamilton with my husband in January. Then I began my 10 month mission to send our kids to NYC with their spouses to see Hamilton. Emily and Chris went in April; Julia and Ben will go in June. And Will and Kelle in November. As I told my son, “for the rest of our lives, I want you to be able to say that was the year we all went to see Hamilton”. Why ? I had the exact experience you describe here. Inspiring. And elevating. I listen to the CD every day. Thanks for the sharing. From one obsessed fan to another… May all of us find the strength and inspiration to write and live like we’re running out of time.

    • Emily says:

      Thank you for a memory I will never, ever forget, mom. This article made me want to go turn the soundtrack on and belt out a few lyrics before bed.

  30. Gemma says:

    It’s so reassuring to know that other people have those same obsessive tendencies. I, myself, am one of many teens obsessed with Hamilton to some degree or another, but I’m like that with regards to TV shows and particular actresses especially. When I read about you thinking about the Browns all the time, fantasizing and creating for the sake of thinking about them, that felt so familiar. My obsessions are like safe-havens. It’s easy for things to feel like too much, so to have that kind of safety net within my own mind can be wonderful, important, relieving, and occasionally destructive. On the one hand, it’s extremely hard to face responsibilities and life in general when it’s not going so great, when it’s easy to retreat into episodes, or YouTube clips, or my own overly-imaginative mind. On the other hand, those things can make me feel immediately safe, warm, and light whenever I want. I’m not really sure how much I’ll grow out of it, or whether it’s healthy or not, but it’s nice to know others’ minds work the same way.

  31. Meghan says:

    This was wonderful. It’s nice to see someone else who understands what it’s like not to just like something, but that you can have it completely consume you. I also have to be careful with what I give my attention to, because I throw myself so completely into it. Hamilton was a happy accident that I never thought I would become obsessed with, but you’ve perfectly captured the emotion behind the way that something like this can take over you. I was lucky enough to get tickets for almost 6 months from now, and I spend a lot of time wondering what I will feel in that moment. Will I just stare in wonder trying to drink it all in, will I cry uncontrollably, will I go through the normal range of emotions and laughs that is expected of the audience. There’s no way to know, and that anticipation of my emotions and the knowledge that I will actually being able to truly experience this obsession as it was meant to be experienced is almost as strong in my mind as the actual show itself.

  32. Don Marcos says:

    Wow. I’m a single father. My wife died just after our daughter, Megan, was born. She is also 14 and obsessed with Hamilton. I’ve been out of work since an auto accident and disability doesn’t even cover our rent and household expenses. It would be wonderful if I can take a “speaking engagement” that paid enough for theater tickets, but I used to drive a truck for a living. Even in the best of times, money was always tight. Last week, I was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. I have six months, maybe. My last wish is to see Hamilton with my daughter. Every day, I tell her I’ve almost saved enough money. She’s a smart kid, but she always plays along.

    • HamFan says:

      Sir, if you are indeed on disability there may be a way for this dream to come true, affordably. The NY production offers a *limited* supply of tickets for disability access, with a companion seat available, to select weeknight performances. For about $70 each (plus fees). Pick a few weeknights over the next few months when you could both get away; call the box office in non-peak hours (they start prepping for shows a few hours in advance and get really cranky); and ask for a pair of handicap & companion tickets. You need to give them a few options and they’ll usually only check once per call. But, assuming you can make the trip, I bet you could make this happen…and make an amazing memory for you and your daughter.

  33. Rebekah Cude says:

    So beautiful, as always. I was in NY for work last week and played the Hamilton lottery every day, but no luck. I wish I could have seen it – and wish even more that I could afford to take my daughter – but, as is so often the case, your words are the next best thing. Thank you.

  34. Ann Wrighg says:

    One of the best observations about parenting teens that I’ve ever read.

  35. Gina says:

    Thanks for this. It’ll come up on five years since my dad and I have read your pieces together (most often him, aloud, and for the longest time in the beloved Kansas City Star) and this perfectly captured my own former 14 year old self as well. Hearing you write these words lends me a sort of peace about having my last years with my dad as an equal parts average teenage girl and girl in raptures with her father and hoping that he enjoyed those moments with me just the same. I always treasure your writing, but this piece especially tugs on my heart-strings and I find all I can say is thank you. Thank you, thank you.

  36. Joy says:

    Oh Joe. I didn’t know you could outdo your Harry Potter World piece but you did. I love that my 14 year old seems to love the things your 14 year old does and that you find a way of capturing them perfectly. Can’t wait to see what’s next for them to love in life!

    PS….seen those crazy Royals highlights as of late? SO FUN.

  37. Cathy Richards says:

    Thank you, Joe, for this beautiful story. You’ve put into words what the rest of us Hamilton lovers have tried so hard to define and express. I am 66 and never been a hip-hop fan…until I downloaded Hamilton on Oct 3rd. Within hours, I bought tickets and planned an April trip to NYC. In anticipation, I devoured everything I could find about Hamilton, Lin, and the cast. I worried if the show could possibly live up to my ever-so-high expectations…and it exceeded them in every way. It is hard to explain how this musical touches me so. Even Lin’s tweets hold a superpower. I am a lifelong Springsteen fan, and I feel much the same about him and his marathon concerts. Both he and Lin have the power to create and connect and inspire at a depth that grabs our souls, while being good human beings at the same time. Thank you, Bruce and Lin, for the joy you’ve added to my life. Lin, I will be sobbing all through the Tony Awards on June 12 as your peers reward your remarkable achievements. FYI – for those who are waiting to see Hamilton and already have the cast recording, the amazing book will help to tide you over. It’ll blow your mind to read about all the thought and details that went into this masterpiece. Hugs to Joe and Elizabeth and especially Lin.

    • Chuck Sahagian says:

      I’m just discovering all this right now, as I have been living overseas for the past eight years, and I am so very curious and excited to learn more about this play and the music. I’m a 59 year old music educator and jazz musician and have been infatuated with the great musicals of the past (West Side Story at the top of the list) since a young boy. I want to know about the book I have read about in some posts, and I will get my hands on the music from Hamilton and give it a sincere listen because I have not been too fond of many new releases of this genre and after reading this phenomenal piece by Joe and all these comments I am excited to once again be smitten by the fantastic experience that is the “Broadway” style musical stage production. Whew! That’s a long sentence! Any info for enlightenment would be greatly appreciated!

    • DianeN says:

      I had to reply to Cathy because I was so sure I would be the only Bruce Springsteen loving 66 year old woman (okay, not until August) who was not a rap or hip hop fan but who nevertheless fell hard for Hamilton. I haven’t seen the show and probably won’t for a few years, most likely once the real tour begins. I had a choice between spending money on tickets or on moving from NY to Florida where my only son (a theater lover and performer who also manages a theater) lives. Of course I moved to Florida. My son is not a Ham fan. He listened to the soundtrack once and while recognizing its artistry just didn’t care for it. After his second listen he admitted that he liked it a bit more, so I think he’s coming around. And in other theater news, he’s playing Roger Sherman in a community theater production of 1776 in July!

  38. Kit says:

    Every day I enter the Hamilton lottery in hopes of being able to give the same experience to my obsessed 10 year old daughter. As others have said, you just matched or surpassed the HP piece. Thank you.

  39. Stephenie says:

    This essay is PERFECTION. My husband and I saw Hamilton on May 9, 2016, and we haven’t been the same since. We go to bed with the soundtrack in our heads, and we wake up singing the songs; like a commercial-free radio station or never-ending mix-tape. We try to explain to family and friends what seeing Hamilton is like, and always fall short. This essay does that impeccably. Thank you.

  40. Chardon says:

    There was a time in my life when I wished I could write this well. Then the report cards came back and the heavily red marked essays came back and that wish vanished. I stopped wishing and started dreaming. Maybe wishes are a waste of time and dreams come true. I had a dream to become a writer. I am a truck driver. I dreamt another dream. To be able to tell a story this well. Same results. Now thanks to reading this post and Ron Chernow’s books and anything and everything Lin writes and everything about Alex Hamilton and the American Revolution I am finally believing in wishes and dreams again. I now know what I do well. I am a re-poster. I am a “you gotta read this-er”. I am a Thank you Joe Posnanski for saying so beautifully what I experienced when I took my 2 adult daughters to see Hamilton at the Public-er-er. Can’t get that on a business card. But that’s what I am. I feel a special bond with you because I live in Cleveland and I share those stadium memories. Not for the Browns. My childhood obsession was for the Indians. Truth be told not all of them. Oscar Gamble and/or Chris Chambliss depending on who hadn’t stood me up the night before in my teenage imagination. It was quite the romance story. Could have made it to Broadway if only I had your gift. Your talent. Your training. Or maybe gad I met and hired yoy to write it. Anyway all that to say Thank you for sharing a wonderful story. You wrote it very well. I will now do what I do well. And that’s tell everyone I know to read it. Think back to Hamilton the musical when the sang Have you read this? That’s me Joe with your story. I won’t dance in circles but I’ll sing it. Everyone I know will know about your time in the greatest city in the world with your Eliza. Thaks again for sharing this gift.

  41. Linda says:

    This is beautiful and beautifully told. Thank you.

    I also have a daughter who is also 14, and also obsessed with Hamilton. You’re so right about the moments we vow to remember, and how they slip away. There is also one memory I wish would fade away – the morning when I was 8 months pregnant with her, when we sat in a doctor’s waiting room and watched two planes crash into two towers in New York. There is something special about the children born that year, something poignant and precious that makes us want to hold their hands just a little bit longer. Be little, be a child one more day, stay close, because the world was very scary when you were born.They don’t remember, but we do. I am so glad you have this memory with your daughter, and truly glad you shared it with us.

    (And I remember Municipal Stadium too, too well! In high school I was in a marching band who played a halftime show there — when it was -10 before the wind chill. And of course there was the baseball, too, and the memorable Dime Beer Night …)

  42. mike says:

    There is another prominent writer who I won’t name, because I don’t think Joe would like it, who I can imagine writing about this in his weekly column. I can imagine him getting lambasted in the comments and on Deadspin for writing about the time he spent thousands of dollars to take his daughter to the hot play of the moment. That is because that writer writes how that writer writes. Needless to say, no one will lambaste Joe for this. That is because JosPos writes like JoePos, and the rest of us have to settle for writing like us.

  43. Thank you for writing about Hamilton through the lense of obsessives. Backgammon, Nancy Drew, Prince, Rolling Stone Magazine, these were my girlish obsessions. Currently they are Prince, real estate, the West Wing Weekly podcast, and Hamilton. I was fortunate enough to see Hamilton in February. Since then I have infected my sister, a public school teacher in Detroit. She, in turn, has infected her 6th and 8th graders, who sing the cabinet battles in the hallways. Lin-Manuel Miranda and the cast of Hamilton have created something magical, maybe even divine.

  44. Dennis says:

    Joe, your beautiful writing describes the moment every dad hopes for with our daughters. Congratulations for bringing the moment to life with your love and commitment.

  45. JD says:

    Beautifully said – thank you for sharing it. If you want something else that lives up to and surpasses the hype, get her obsessed with Angkor Wat. On my list of things that live up to the hype (Pedro Martinez, sleeping in, szechuan peppercorns, One Hundred Years of Solitude…), Angkor Wat is the alpha and omega. I can only imagine hour wonderful it is to see a curious kid explore it.

  46. Craig Hellwig says:

    As a father of 2 daughters 16 and 19 I can relate to how much impresses them and we don’t think 2 times about it,we are Husker fans and I can remember my first Husker game in Lincoln and how obsessed I am with that team like you were with the Browns. A couple of years ago my youngest wanted to go to the One Direction concert but couldn’t get tickets but on the day of the show she got some but no one to go with her so I went with her, a show you would have to drag me to, we had a blast I even got 3 of the 5 guys to give her the devil horn hand gesture because a 6 foot guy with a bass voice gets attention over screaming girls anytime. The things we do as dad’s for our daughters is amazing and walking into my first Husker game was her One D concert, just different tastes it a common love for each other.

  47. Amy Lary says:

    Yes, yes, yes! I apologize. I have never heard of you but we are both navigating the world of having a 14-year-old daughters who love this musical. I, too, forked over a lot of money to buy resale tickets for her and me. And I know it will be worth every penny! I am surprising her the morning we fly up to NYC to see Hamilton that night. I think I should get an Oscar for pretending that she won’t get to see it until it comes to Houston in ’18. My husband told her maybe she can catch the reunion tour. THANK YOU for putting into words what I can’t about my daughter, who is fabulous and dear but in a different world I cannot always reach called teenager-hood.

  48. Rachel says:

    This is so beautifully written. You’ll remember that night. Time doesn’t fade the memory of something so touching.

  49. alambros says:

    Your explanation of Hamilton being like a dream was PERFECT. I’ve never heard it described to perfectly.

  50. Chad says:

    We did the same thing with our kids last month. 9 and 6 years old, they know every word, and the cast album has been in non-stop rotation at our house since November. They act out various scenes/songs, watch any Hamilton thing they can find online (which has now extended to Lin’s first musical, In the Heights, as well). So, despite living in Seattle and being of modest financial means, we bought resale tickets in February, plane tickets in March, and saw the show from the rear mezzanine one glorious April evening. And you’re right, it lives up to – and entirely surpasses – the hype.

    After the show, we were fortunate enough to go backstage/onstage, and every single member of the cast was beyond wonderful and generous to us, especially to our wide-eyed, starstruck kids. They got down on knees to talk with them, let them hold props from the show (Jonathan Groff even brought out King George’s scepter for them to play with!), and made an already wonderful night one million times more memorable. It’s one of the rare parenting experiences I’ve ever had where I just KNEW, in the actual moment it was happening, that we were having a moment none of us would ever, ever forget. At intermission, I asked my daughter, tightly clutching her playbill, how she was feeling. “Is feeling like you’re going to explode from happiness an emotion?” she returned.

    Thank you for writing this. And thank you to Lin, Daveed, Chris, Renee, Jonathan, and everyone else on stage (and behind the scenes) that make Hamilton a magical thing 8 times each week, an obsessive’s paradise, an endless surplus of wonder, history, and awe. How lucky we are to be alive right now.

  51. Great article that made me smile a lot. My son and I are equally obsessed with Hamilton. Seeing it live would be like a dream come true and I’d have to keep pinching myself. I fantasize about getting tickets in some miraculous way that doesn’t deplete my bank account. My son asks me every day if I got tickets to Hamilton. He’s even taught his little sister the songs and it’s so cute to hear her sing them.
    Thanks for sharing your experience!

  52. I'm A General, Wheeeeeee says:

    This is an unbelievable piece. I’ve been fortunate enough to have seen Hamilton over 10 times and I am utterly obsessed in a way that I haven’t been for anything. It is that magical and it gets better every time. I took my 16 year old niece to the show in March, she’s in theater, and it was a life changing event for her. Believe the hype and thank you Joe, as always.

  53. […] *For something completely different: I haven’t yet read this Joe Posnanski piece on the play Hamilton and his daughter, but I’ll include it because everybody says that it’s great. […]

  54. olivier m. says:


    When asked what she wanted for her birthday and 8th grade graduation, my 14 year old daughter Madeline only had one wish : Hamilton. We skipped the party and the birthday gifts and flew to NYC to see the musical on May 6th, and I wanted to thank you for relating an experience which is similar to ours. We all came back inspired, realizing there were a million things we haven’t done ! Thank you Joe and Lin.


  55. Randy Troyer says:

    I may be the only person in the country that didn’t even know there was a musical about Alexander Hamilton. I may be one of the few people to visit NYC several times and not see a Broadway show. I feel strongly, though, I am not the only person to enjoy your wonderful story of your daughter Eliza and you. My “adopted” (she was my son’s girlfriend and has been raising their child on her own since his suicide) daughter gets married in July and I hope I have a story half as good. I am giving away the bride. We’ll tell the story of that night. Thank you.

  56. invitro says:

    Not having a daughter, I’m curious about something. There are so many comments about parents not being able to understand or communicate with their teenage daughters. Now, all 14-year old girls have mothers who were once 14-year olds themselves. Have girls of this age changed so much in ~30 years, or is just hard for adults to remember what life was like when they were teens?

    • Karyn says:

      I think it’s hard for adults to remember what it was like. And we, as adults, get caught up in the day-to-day, gotta get the kids to school, work, grocery shopping, dinner, did the kids do their homework—and forget that the kids have their own dramas, largely unknown to us. We forget that they don’t have the experience or perspective to realize that a fight with a friend, or a crush on an unattainable peer, or what have you, is not the end of the world and life will go on.

      And this doesn’t even get into what happens when the kid is entirely unlike either parent, and it’s hard to relate. Two friends of mine have a tween daughter who’s a bit of a princess, likes pink and frills and all that. Her mother was never like that, and none of her parents or grandparents encouraged it. But there she is, rocking the Hello Kitty lunchbox. Her parents could have chosen to have no patience for it, refused to buy her pink things, etc. But they let her like what she likes, in part to avoid fights.

      • invitro says:

        That’s a good point. Joe does point out how Elizabeth’s social status is very different from what his was when he was a teen.

    • sanford sklansky says:

      I think things have probably changed a lot in the last 30 years. I have 2 adult sons. I was 13 in 1960. It was really a different time back then. Viet Nam was not much of a thought, there was the Cuban missile crisis. But there was no worries about terrorism. No social media. Like Joe my worries were more about the sports teams I followed. Not having a sister I don’t know if things were different back then. Maybe if there are some female followers here of my age they could answer that .

      • invitro says:

        Well, 1960 is 56 years ago, a lot more than 30. I am 44, and 30 years ago I was 14, and life now seems almost identical to what I remember it being then. Fears about terrorism now were fears of nukes then, social media now were phone calls and letters then. The American pop culture was very different then, but that’s the only aspect of life that seems so. But I don’t know, tomorrow I may decide 1986 is worlds away from 2016, though I doubt it.

        • mrh says:

          funny thing. A couple of years ago I emceed a reunion of my Army unit from the early 80s. I called on each guy attending to talk about his first encounter with our commander and his last encounter. To set the timeline, I included a real world event from the month of that individual’s arrival and departure. It’s amazing how many terrorist attacks there were then: Iran, Red Brigades, Baader-Meinhof, IRA, Palestinians, etc. etc. from that time. They have faded from memory now.

    • Brian says:

      And I bet Joe’s wife does a lot of the heavy lifting.

      Everyone is different. I fought with my Dad, which perhaps makes me want to empathize more with my son, who is in a higher social sphere than I ever was.

      My daughter and I, we have zero in common, but we try, because we love each other.

      My wife and I tacitly agreed, she was in charge of my daughter, me, my son. And never, ever under cut each other.

      ‘Your Mom said no? Then that is the answer…’

      • invitro says:

        And, thanks for your replies, guys. I’m fascinated by different perceptions of how things change or don’t with time.

  57. Shana says:

    Joe, I really enjoyed reading this beautiful story about father-daughter bonding and just how incredible a phenomenon like Hamilton really can be when it takes hold. My only tiny sadness (for lack of a better term? let’s go with tiny sadness) for Elizabeth and other folks who got to know the musical so well from the original cast recording is this: I don’t know how to fully describe this in words, but I do think some magic is lost that way. I was insanely, ridiculously lucky last year that my sister had the foresight in March 2015 (the first day Hamilton tickets were available for purchase) to get our family four back row center mezzanine tickets for August 15 (a little over a week after it opened on Broadway), and they were a very reasonable $85 each — no resale gouging involved. (And it is so sad to see what the scalpers have done to the market since then, because I know that means I can probably never go back.)

    But this is one thing that can never be recreated: when you see it the second weekend after opening, when it’s still a month away from the cast album even getting recorded in the studio, you’ve heard the hype but none of the music. You are just full of awe and wonder and there are no spoilers (I mean, duh, there’s a duel and Alex dies — but you don’t know exactly how they’ll present any of it). All you can do is just savor every second of it and I don’t even know how to describe how magical that was. I wish I could. And I wish I could share that with your Elizabeth, because it was the most incredible feeling.

  58. Diane Darst says:

    Nice article. I am sure that was a joyful parenting experience. My sons love Hamilton as much as your daughter does. I wish I had the means to pay what you did to take them to see the show, but it won’t become a reality for us. Your daughter is a lucky girl to have such privilege. You made a special memory for her.

  59. Katy says:

    This article made me fork out the money to go see the show! Lovely article!

  60. Sherri Beebe says:

    I devoured this dinner filled with such delicious words. One course after the next. I did not want it to end. Thank you for sharing this with us Mr. Posnanski, if we all had a father such as yourself the world would be a better place.

  61. Brian says:

    Its hayfever.

    I’ll be fine.

    Joe. You wrote it down. You will remember.

    My son. High school. He has been having some magical sports moments, ones I don’t want to forget.

    I started writing them down.

    Just a brief description.

    Oh yea. I remember that catch…

  62. Russell Harris says:


    A lovely story, but ‘a minor Founding Father’? Please read Ron Chernow’s biography before classifying him that way. The book will change your mind. Besides being military hero with so many other accomplishments, he also authored about 2/3 of the Federalist papers.

  63. It was on my second read-through of this unbelievable essay that I saw this “There have been other things, trying things, unforeseen things, a punishing year,” and this “I will forget the details of this difficult but hopeful year.” Yes, sir, that’s it right there, what “Hamilton” has been for us. Why we’re spending an un-whispered amount of money to go in January and foregoing all gifts until then. Why we text each other lyrics in the middle of the day.
    Why when one of us feels like we can’t go on, we know we can if we cue up “Hamilton,” even just one song.

    Thank you.

  64. Ross says:

    Jesus, Joe…beautiful.

  65. Angie Flynn-McIver says:

    Thank you so much for this. My almost 14 year old daughter and I saw Hamilton in March, and so much of what you wrote reflects our experience exactly (especially the obsessive part!) This is a remarkable piece.

  66. Kevin Horner says:

    Isn’t it so hilarious? A teenage girl liking history! That could never happen! Girls only like clothes and shoes and makeup! They can’t like history or math or science! Ha ha! Girls. So dumb, am I right?

    Your message about how great your daughter got lost in the “I’m so great because I liked sports and things other than sports are OK but not as good as sports.” story about YOURSELF. Your story shouldn’t have mentioned you or Cleveland in any way, just your amazing daughter likes history and the interesting way she realized that – through a musical. Guess what – a lot of people get interested in science or history through pop culture (sci-fi and fantasy writing or comic books, in the past).

    “This is all hilarious, of course — a 14-year-old girl utterly fanatical about the Founding Fathers — that is until you realize that it isn’t going away.”

    • murr2825 says:

      I admit I am baffled by your comment, Kevin.

    • Dan says:

      The point of the post, at least as I read it, was to say something about his relationship with his daughter, and that obviously requires reference to himself.

      For myself, I thought Joe comparing his daughter’s passion with his own was a personal and effective way of showing his attempt to relate to her and to show the extent of her obsession. YMMV. I guess if you wanted a clinical, dispassionate tale of a girl liking history and going to see a play, you came to the wrong blog.

      As for your other criticism, you’re missing the forest for the trees, and you invented the trees yourself. Joe doesn’t find it “hilarious” that she likes history in general, and no-one other than you is saying anything about math or science. He does find it hilarious that she’s obsessed with Alexander Hamilton, and you gotta admit – if it wasn’t for the musical, it would be a very unusual thing for anyone at this time to be obsessed with Alexander Hamilton. The same way it would have been unusual for anyone pre-Les Miz think night and day about revolutionary France, or anyone pre-Phantom to be fixated on deformed theater stalkers.

    • Cate says:

      Well, someone is in a snarky mood today. I loved that Joe brought up his own obsessions. He relates to his daughter. It doesn’t mean he made it all about himself.

    • Justin says:

      Man, I bet you’re a ball at parties. “Yeah, but why did you make the story about YOU? It would have been so much more effective told as an allegory or in the third person.”

      Get over yourself. It’s a totally beautiful piece and I’m better for having read it and every comment before this one.

  67. Mark says:

    I saw everybody raving about this story on Twitter, so I bookmarked it and expected it to be all right. Then I sat down to read it and it too lived up to the hype.

  68. Page says:

    FANTASTIC piece, speaks to me on so many levels, complete obsession specifically. Also I may have been there the same night, the Burr laugh warmed my soul.

  69. Dave M says:

    Joe, the experience you describe is one every parent longs to have. Thank you for a brilliant look, not only into the psyche of a middle-aged Father, but also into the innocence of a 14 year old who is fighting to find her individuality. Obviously, Eliza (per her wishes) is seeking to express herself, and yet is struggling every day with that lingering sense that her Father remains an integral part of her life.

  70. Lila Lynch says:

    I bought a ticket to see Hamilton last autumn because a friend told me it was the best musical she had ever seen and she is a frequent theater goer. We are both in our mid-sixties. I was not too sure about how I would like hip hop and discouraged my husband from attending as I thought he would be frustrated by not being able to catch all the rapid fire words. I saw it by myself in March. There were plenty of people older than me in the audience. The music and lyrics are wonderful and obviously appealing to any age. My step granddaughter who is 16 is obsessed with the CD. She and I are both reading the Chernow biography and the book about the evolution of the show. I listen to the CD in the car over and over and am transported. The songs stay in my head to an alarming degree! There is tremendous appeal in the story with its uplifting theme, it’s drama, it’s spirit of rebellion, it’s humor, it’s pathos. Quite an astounding accomplishment. It will inspire interest in musical theater and history as well. Brilliant show and a truly wonderful piece of writing about such a personal and moving experience. The friend who sent me to the show sent me the link to this blog as she is likewise obsessed. I never watch the Tony awards but will this year as I want to see Hamilton clean up!

  71. Rudy Nyhoff says:

    Joe, you’ll have these memories of Elizabeth thanks to this noble, nostalgic, heartwarming piece of reflective, remarkable writing; and thanks to you, I have a piece that I can share with a dear friend with a daughter like yours, whose passion, unfortunately, is self-destructive and ennobling as she suffers from a drug addiction. This piece works the soul and touches the being in us all. I feel it will do this for my friend and hopefully, for her child, Emily.

    Thank you so much for your gift.

    • Rudy Nyhoff says:

      EDIT: Please strike “ennobling” as drug addiction is the polar opposite and totally and spiritually demeaning.

  72. Laura Gold says:

    This piece is beautiful and perfect and made me cry. And that you managed to mention four of my all-time favorites in one paragraph — Hamilton, Bruce Springsteen, the Gettysburg Address (which I just chanted in a Hebrew translation in synagogue this last Shabbat!) and Harry Potter — made your essay even more of a treat. My 12-1/2-year-old daughter and I are absolutely bonkers for Hamilton, though we haven’t seen it yet. Knowing you and your daughter did made me very happy. Thank you for sharing your experience and insights so eloquently.

    • Cathy says:

      Yeah Bruce! I think I love Bruce and Lin has something to do with how good they are at creating a sense of community among their fans.
      Hope you get to see Hamilton. It’s indeed the best.

  73. :) says:

    I’m a teenage girl who loves Hamilton (and gets frequently obsessed with things – I guess it runs in my family, too), and although I’ve never seen it, I think this is lovely. I speak from experience when I say that a lot of times we may differ from our parents in taste, but I always felt so proud when my dad would go with me to concerts, because it showed me that he really loved me. He showed that not by paying for the tickets (I did), but because he went with me and acknowledged how important those things were to me. Even if he didn’t like the band, he still took me.
    That’s the power that parents have. You gave your daughter that. It’s so much more powerful than a lot of people think.

  74. Ian Swanbeck says:

    Awesome. I took my Hamilton obsessed 16 year old daughter in March while on college visits. My one mistake was surprising her with the tickets the day of the show. She wanted the anticipation of seeing the show as much as actually seeing the show.

    You are 100% correct. Hamilton was one of the few events that lived up to the hype. I would happily see it many times over.

  75. invitro says:

    For what it’s worth, I think getting (somewhat) obsessed with things is a healthy part of life for all people, especially teenagers. It’s getting obsessed with people that seems to lead to problems.

  76. Scott says:

    Like others, my first thought was “he’s surpassed Katie the Prefect!” Certainly up there, and as the father of a 5-years-shy-of-14 year old girl, I devour every word. I devour all the sports words too. Makes for a healthy diet.

    For Joe’s regular readers who miss the numbers, here’s a quasi-Sabermetric take on Hamilton (not Josh).

  77. Bob Peterson says:

    I took my 16 year old daughter (she was actually “stuck” on 13 for 5 years) to “Les Miserables” when it was THE THING! It was Christmas time, New York was wearing its best dress and it was exquisite. But I wish I could write about it like this.

    Magnificent, Joe.

  78. Bob Ryan says:

    My daughter sent me this link, and it brought back a flood of memories and a flood of tears. For us, it began with Beauty and the Beast and continued through the Harry Potter books and LOTR movies and a variety of video games (Baldur’s Gate, anyone?), and those Cape Cod summers. Thank you for a wonderful piece.

    My daughter is 27 now and will be seeing Hamilton this fall with her husband, and that’s wonderful, too.

  79. Richard says:

    Those of you lucky enough to get tickets to see “Hamilton” – or those who aren’t lucky enough (yet) – should probably take a little time out during your visit to NYC to stop by Trinity Church at Broadway and Wall Street. That’s where Hamilton is buried…. Then stroll down Wall Street to Federal Hall, our nation’s first capitol….

  80. Fritz says:

    Funny, you have just perfectly described my trip to see Hamilton, except that my daughter is 27, and wanted to see it as much as she has wanted to do anything since she was 14. I would not trade the magic of that matinee performance for anything.

  81. patglex says:

    There’s not a prayer that I might get to NYC to see the original cast. But the touring company coming to Chicago in the fall, that trip I could make. So I’ve been checking the website for the past 2 months waiting for individual tickets to go on sale. [Nothing yet.] I love musicals, and for some reason I think this one is a generational shift that I need to see.

  82. Brett Barnes says:

    Thank you for capturing my thoughts and feelings so eloquently! HAMILTON was beyond perfection for all the reasons you stated. I actually waited outside the stage door just to snap a photo of the stars as they left. I AM 48!!! Never have I done this with any other show. It is truly a phenomenon…but at this point in our history, we need one! Thanks for your talent…I will be following you now and look forward to reading your other posts.

  83. Chuck Zimmerman says:

    Great article, with one exception: Paris most certainly does not live up to the hype. It is a dirty, smelly place, filled with rude people.

    • Jeanne says:

      I’m sorry you see Paris like that. I’ve been there four times in the last 40 years and continued to be charmed by the city and it’s friendly people.

  84. Daniel Murphy says:

    Blown away by this story. In describing a single night you managed to capture so much more. Magical stuff right here.

  85. Rich says:

    I recently bought tickets to take my obsessed family to see Hamilton later this year. The money was very hard to justify but I think your piece did the trick. Hearing my son try and rap Diggs’ Guns and Ships rap and my own dear daughter singing Dear Theodosia have brought me to love this show as well. I can’t wait until we get to spend our night together seeing it. From the sound of things, we won’t be disappointed.

  86. JJ says:

    For those who, like me, wondered exactly how much those tickets cost, Stubhub has many tickets for between $500 and $1,000, so much less than a trip to Disneyworld.

  87. SL says:

    This is a perfect piece of writing. Thank you so much.

  88. von lmo says:

    OK you saw the show, now man-up & have her read the book.

    • Marc Schneider says:

      Exactly what I was going to say. I just finished Ron Chernow’s bio of Hamilton; it’s interesting but somewhat of a slog. Hamilton was a fascinating figure, but it’s ironic that it took a musical to make him popular given that we live in a society that he largely created.

      I understand this article is more about Joe and his daughter bonding than it is about American history-and, to the extent the musical makes people more interested in their history,that’s great-but, I’m a bit skeptical about learning history from a musical. Does the musical address Hamilton’s affair with Maria Reynolds that resulted in him paying blackmail money?

      • Cathy says:

        Yes. It certainly does. Perhaps you should take a listen. It’s brilliant and entertaining on so many levels.

        • Marc Schneider says:

          I would love to see the musical. (My daughter goes to school in NY but there’s no way to get a ticket, I’m sure, without having to take out a second mortgage.) I’m not opposed to it. But I hope the musical would get people interested in reading American history as well. There are limits to how much you can learn from a play.

  89. B Myregaard says:

    Thank you! Yes, my daughter is 14 and beautifully obsessed with Hamilton. And I did grow up a Browns fan (and Bills fan, being in Jamestown/Buffalo)! And we are going in October (she cried when we told her). And we all will be crying at the show.

  90. PR says:

    Fantastic piece. Thank you. Without a doubt, this is one of the best pieces of writing that I have ever enjoyed.

  91. Ross says:

    Joe, if you can please put the postscript here as well to ensure everyone sees it.
    Loved the story.

  92. Houn says:

    I’m crying. Terrific post.

  93. Kevin Zheng says:

    Being one of the lucky few who have seen the show (resale, if you were wondering, at a price I shall never disclose), I COMPLETELY AGREE with everything you have said in your piece! The truth of the matter is that it’s such a different experience than anything else, and no amount of words or tears could explain how amazing it is.

    Thank you so much for creating this amazing work of writing.

  94. Michelle says:

    Oh, so your DAUGHTER is obsessed with Hamikton? “Ya see it, right?” 😉 I enjoyed this thoroughly.

  95. Maggi says:

    I’ve just read this in a Times Square hotel after unwittingly following your lead and taking my daughters (two of them, 11 & 15) to Hamilton last night. My teen also has memorized every word (well, we all have). Thank you for deepening my experience of her experience; sometimes while I’m solo-parenting my girls I fail to properly reflect on their young lives. We are enriched, we are changed, and yes, King George, we’ll be back!

  96. Hugo says:

    Thank you for this. I bought a ticket for my daughter – she went the day after her 17th birthday. I sent her in and waited outside. It was crazy money, but I was so glad I did it. You capture all of this so perfectly.

  97. Kerry Melcher says:


  98. Rob Smith says:

    Although I have boys, who would most likely never be interested in Hamilton (I’m the History geek), it still captures the progression of feelings as kids become teenagers, then young adults. At 14, they still enjoy being with Mom & Dad, but that is the age where the diversion towards other things starts. By the time they’re my “kids” age (19 and 22), it’s very different. They want and need to be independent, and that is what they should be. Trying to hang on is silly and against the natural order. So, we have to let them go and build a different kind of relationship with them. It is definitely hard, but I see so many parents trying to cling to their kids. Often, the kids have to shove them in a ditch to get away from them. Which is sad. But it’s even sadder if they’re successful in holding on and end up subsidizing their kids and letting them live in their basement when they’re 27…. or 30…. or 35. Stunting your kids growth & ability to succeed and fail on their own is the worst thing a parent could do. They NEED to be able to fall on their face & learn how to be an adult that picks themselves up and moves on.

    If we have done a good job as parents, we have to finish the drill and let them go off and build their own lives…. often lives we wouldn’t build for ourselves…. but that’s the point. It’s their lives, not ours.

  99. Gotham_Gal says:

    As the mother of a Hamilton-obsessed 14 year-old daughter, I hope that I will have a similar experience (or that my husband does). We dutifully enter every lottery, only to have our hearts broken daily (sometimes twice a day). We are close to caving in to Stub Hub, if only to put an end to the constant refrain, “if I don’t see ‘Hamilton’ with Lin and Leslie and Renee and Pippa, I’ll die.”

  100. bowerbird says:

    a superlative story, written exquisitely.

    a piece of art.

  101. Joe says:

    I am now 83. After working and traveling much of the world, I returned 25 years ago permanently to the neighborhood where my father, my mother and I were born, in different houses, none more than 5 or 6 blocks apart. I now live in a restored building on the National Register, a block from the small “B” run movie house where my father took 5 year old me to see Snow White in 1938. My first movie.

    The neighborhood has begun gentrifying. That theater was torn down last month to make room for a modern apartment building.

    As I walk past the empty lot I will no longer think of the theater. I am free of that.

    I have now, in a purer, cleaner, more vivid, more real sense, my father. A big, strong, gentle, sweet and caring man who was then in his mid-20’s and surely had more important things to do that day than see a child’s cartoon. I take him with me, as I walk. My right ankle is a little bit loose, just as his was. I would recognize his gait ahead of me on crowded street long before I could see his face. His gait is my gait.

    In many ways.

    • Bob Peterson says:

      Goodness, Joe’s writing and storytelling must be contagious because you have it. I yearn for that and love your sentiments.

  102. Pat M says:

    One week after it opened on Broadway, I saw “Hamilton” with my niece her husband and a dear friend of hers. It was magical, phenomenal, stupendous. I can’t get over the brilliance of Lin Manuel’s work.

    “How lucky we are to be alive right now!”

  103. Mary Ellen says:

    The way you describe the small moments of life that live with you forever, reminded me of what Thornton Wilder said in “Our Town”

  104. Scott Berchman says:

    “One of the enduring curiosities of parenthood is that you have no idea what moments will endure.”

    Thanks for that line, Joe. It can be so very difficult to make moments that matter for your kids when your mind isn’t the right place. That line is a great reminder to make it all matter.

  105. abigailriley says:

    […] Hamilton By Joe Posnanski […]

  106. RSKC says:

    Ah, me. This is so lovely and so true. My mother surprised my sister and myself with tickets to see Hamilton on Valentine’s Day. We are both in our mid to late 40’s, both work in theater and both have been lucky enough to see many Broadway shows over our lives. But I was pretty sure we’d never get to see this one. Then, my mother lost her mind a bit and gave us the tickets. Like you, she “just knew” that it was something important we needed to see.

    My sister and I sat there and wept and clutched each other’s arms and wept some more. I sometimes think I’d still be there, weeping, if we hadn’t had somewhere else to be that night.

    We will definitely remember that day forever and I can’t wait to take my boys (6 and 11) When the tour finally hits Seattle. And when that day comes, I might spend more of the performance watching them than watching the stage. Just like my mother did when she took us to our first Broadway show in 1982. It was 42nd Street. And she knew about a surprising moment that happened right at the top of the show, so instead of watching the stage, she watched me and my sister be *literally* blown back in our seats by this surprise. She said it was her favorite part.

  107. Tess says:

    My daughter, age 26, will be married in a few weeks. No matter that she’s lived with her fiancé for four years, it’s still ….married. So her father treated her and I to a girls weekend in NYC. He tagged along, paid the bills, and mostly lounged about the hotel. We shopped, went out to eat….and we went to Hamilton. That was what the weekend was really all about. When I purchased the tickets, my finger hovered over that “buy” key as I, like you, paid a truly astonishing amount of money for our tickets. But then we were there. Waiting outside. In our seats. And it was exactly as yo described. The magic was real. It was a story and a night we will never forget. Seeing that show. In that theatre. With that cast. A unique time, a unique place, unique and crazily talented people performing a totally unique show based on a story that we knew. It was magic that will last a lifetime.

  108. Jennifer says:

    She will remember, I promise. I know because I remember. I remember sitting next to my dad in the theatre, so many wonderful times, witnessing something miraculous. I remember singing showtunes in the car together on the way to elementary school and later laughing when he told me I was the only 20-something he’d ever met that wanted to go on vacation with their dad (NYC for 4-days, 5-shows, the best weekends of my life).

    My dad has passed now, he won’t be with me when I see Hamilton. And frankly, that sucks. But reading your blog today, filled me with such joy and brought back so many happy memories, that I needed to say Thank You. And to tell you that I know, she will remember.

  109. Becky Filer says:

    And that is why I’m taking my 12 year old in October. Perfectly written,. Thank you!

  110. Dayna says:

    She is lucky to have you as a Dad.

  111. The tickets were more than my first car. I would pay more— I wanted to throw more money on the stage. I took my 45 year old daughter & it was similar to your daughter. She kept looking at me saying I can’t believe this, OMG, this is unbelievable! I told her it’s the best show I’ve ever ever seen in my life! And I’ve seen Pavorotti sing, Rudolph Nureyev dance. I saw the King and I with Yul Brynner! Oh, I cried thinking I wish I were around 20 years from now when she talks about this night! HER Luis!

  112. Kathy says:

    I am going to see Hamilton for the second time in four months with my boys. I will cherish every single moment and am thankful to share the story with them yet again. We are going to RISE UP and always remember these precious, meaningful, emotional, motivational, historical, and amaaazing moments together. Hamilton has allowed this to happen to so many of us – thanks for the reminder.

  113. […] Exhibit A: The Father who took his daughter to Hamilton […]

  114. Linda Lederer says:

    As parents of 14 year old twins girls, we are going through so many similar situations as your family. We have a Hamilton obsession here to but what really helped me was your description of being the parent of a 14 year old girl. It has been quite a year for us to and I’m glad to hear we are not alone in our ups and downs. The tweet from Lin-Manual was spot on. Thank you.

  115. Hclogan says:

    Joe – I just took my 14 year old daughter to see Hamilton in March for the very same reasons and had so many similar experiences, right down to the tear filled eyes when saying ‘I can’t believe we’re here’. Reading your beautifully written story brought it all back. I feel like we are more lucky than our daughters as we were in the room where it happened for them. Thank you for putting it all into words.

  116. Linda Piotrowski says:

    I don’t regularly read your blog. I confess I read it when I saw “Hamilton” on the Facebook page where it was posted. Although I do love sports: Golden State, the Packers, the Giants. I had the same experience your had with your daughter when my daughter, granddaughter and I saw Hamilton back in February. Our granddaughter cried when she opened the tickets on Christmas. My husband surprised all of us with the tickets. They were purchased in November 2015 for a February 2016 show. Even at that I coughed when I learned what he paid. You captured so well the experience of being presenting the theater. I cried during the show. At its end all three of us were crying. The three of us walked out of the theater in a kind of daze. What pure genius we had experienced. Your article helped me to enjoy it all over again. I read your article aloud to my husband in hopes that he would be able to catch some of the magic and understand a bit better what he did for us by gifting us with the tickets. Thanks for recapturing such a special moment. Aren’t we all so fortunate? By the way, we are people who become obsessed with things, too. Things like Hamilton, Harry Potter, etc. Isn’t life grand?)

  117. Gage Hamilton says:

    Wow. This is one of the best things I’ve ever read. Joe, I didn’t know your work before but I will now. This brought up so many powerful things that seem impossible to begin to explain. Thank you.

  118. Dane says:

    Substitute a nearly 13 year old and 16 year old daughter (s) and you have us pegged… Seriously, it is scary and reassuring to know that others are experiencing ( obsessing) this phenomenon in the same way… The magic and wonder of being in the theater and knowing that yes, it is going to surpass every expectation.

  119. Scott Anderson says:

    Wow, what a beautifully written piece; thank you Joe. As the father of a 7-year-old girl, who is the center of my universe, it just made me think of what I have to look forward to – and also what I’m going to lose. Thank you again.

  120. You opened my head, scooped out my thoughts, obsessions and personal history and printed it. I should sue. It’s all here. Grew up in Brook Park. Browns sufferer. Now in NJ and taking my Hamilton-obsessed 14-year old daughter to the show next Saturday. Paid more for tix than someone in my income bracket should’ve but…hey, you understand.

  121. Kim O'Quinn says:

    Back in March, we too bit the bullet and paid scalper fees to take our 14-year old son to see Hamilton (his 1st Broadway show). Worth. Every. Penny. Even as the crowd clapped, stomped and cheered, it didn’t feel like what we were giving back to the cast was equal to what they had just given us. Applause was simply not enough. I don’t know what the magic elixir is for this show. I just know that it moves you in a way that is pretty indescribable – and I feel blessed that we were able to share this experience as a family.

  122. […] also enjoyed this piece by Joe Posnanski, which is redundant because I love everything written by Joe Posnanski. He is a […]

  123. David Rodriguez says:

    First off amazing article I loved every bit of it. I would love to see this play.

    But to get off topic, you said your mother was obsessed with computer programming and she made a profit from it. That line for some reason had me spend all afternoon on looking at computer programming.

    Just hoping you can elaberate on it any way you can

  124. Teri Liebowitz says:

    Oh Joe, this brought me to tears! You see, we surprised my daughter with a NY Broadway trip for her 13th birthday and well it’s all happening next week!! She bawled when we told her, I thought she would scream from the roof tops, but all she could do was bawl uncontrollably. Pure raw emotion and it was beautiful!! I’ve been holding out for weeks trying to get some face value tickets, I mean we live in LA and well everybody has a connection, right? Wrong!!! Not for this show!! I knew I had to make her dream come true and well after stumbling along your beautiful story I took the plunge this am and finally bought 2 tickets for next week. At this point the price doesn’t matter, the memories she will have forever are priceless. Thank you for giving my the push to do so and thank you for your words, it brought tears to both my eyes and my daughters. Elizabeth, (oops I mean Eliza) is one lucky girl and she will forever remember this moment. I can’t wait to create one similar with my Sage!

  125. Barbara says:

    Thank you for this lovely piece! I took my 14 year old son to Hamilton and we had nearly the same experience. I brought him after seeing it at the show at the Public with my husband. Immediately got tickets before they went to Broadway! Astonishing how we are all connected by this experience. Lin is amazing. The entire family breaks out in one Hamilton song or another, depending on the situation or emotion. It’s just that good!

  126. Lori says:

    For five days now, I have tried to put into words what now seems I have just read, my daughter and I are just returned from a very similar journey. I have been moved in synchrony to many a pieces penned by your hand, however, maybe it is the KC roots, maybe it is the birth year, but this show, this obsession, this amazing work that has transfixed my home for going on almost a year now, has been such a journey, in which has raptured so many of us as parents, and as people, likely yearning for more beauty, more inspiration, and more genius in not only our lives, but the world our daughters are watching around them. Feeling so blessed to have had the chance to cry those same tears and held a hand so tight, and try to always remember what it felt like that night. I can only wonder if LMM, cast, and crew will ever know, beyond the hype and the crowds how deeply the experience has been shared.

  127. David Hendrickson says:

    You’ve outdone yourself, Joe. This was just beautiful and perfect and touching and worthy of the world of Hamilton and LMM. I’m still weeping with joy as I write this — though surely with just barely 1% as much joy as Elizabeth felt, and is probably still feeling.

    Elizabeth is getting nigh on to thinking about college. As an alumnus (Class of ’72), I am undoubtedly biased on this topic — but you and she should really consider her going to Hamilton College in Clinton, NY ( I could go on and on about the Hamilton experience (and, believe me, it is truly an unforgettable 4-year experience). Suffice it to say one of the things I am most proud of — in my life — is being a graduate of that truly wonderful college. And speaking things I will never, ever forget, there is the statue of Alexander Hamilton in the center of the original campus.

    You owe it to Elizabeth (and yourself) to check it out. You’ll both be glad you did.

    David Hendrickson
    New York, NY
    Hamilton ’72

  128. carolyn egle says:

    This sure makes me miss you even more in The KC Star, but glad I stumbled upon your blog. I suspect you would be a bit surprised to discover a link to this post on a fashion blog, the GFY girls are great sports and Hamilton fans.

  129. Billie Parker says:

    I stand with you and Elizabeth. It was beyond compelling to be In The Room Where It Happened. And I too noted the electricity in the lobby before the show that crackled with each entering viewer. This play is transforming theatrically and socially and could not, I contend, have happened during any other presidency. History indeed has its eyes on us. All of us. And Hamilton presents a phenomenal, multi-dimensional dance through the American experiment. So privileged to have witnessed LMM’s masterpiece.
    Thank you for your perfect portrayal.

  130. Ashlee House says:

    How completely wonderful and magical! Well done Dad.


  131. Daybreaq says:

    Of course, she will remember that night because it was “first obsession” but mostly, she’ll remember because her awesome dad took her. She’ll forever associate “Hamilton” with her father’s love. That’s pretty damned cool. More parents should honor their children’s “obsessions.”

    • Mark D Colone says:

      My wife, Susan, read this story reprinted in Sunday’s Charlotte Observer. She asked, “Isn’t that the Joe that you love?” And, all I could say was, “Yes.” And, she said, that was a beautiful piece. Joe. You. Really. Do. Complete. Us.

  132. […] you have (or hope to have children), read this piece by Joe Posnanski of NBC Sports. It’s truly […]

  133. […] you have (or hope to have children), read this piece by Joe Posnanski of NBC Sports. It’s truly […]

  134. […] you have (or hope to have children), read this piece by Joe Posnanski of NBC Sports. It’s truly […]

  135. […] you have (or hope to have children), read this piece by Joe Posnanski of NBC Sports. It’s truly […]

  136. […] you have (or hope to have children), read this piece by Joe Posnanski of NBC Sports. It’s truly […]

  137. […] you have (or hope to have children), read this piece by Joe Posnanski of NBC Sports. It’s truly […]

  138. […] Hamilton – America these days is obsessed with Hamilton ( the play ) and for this I have to say kudos to Lin-Manuel Miranda the author, creator and star of the play. He did a great job with this one. But even when I read this article I still can’t even begin to understand it. It may be a cultural thing or maybe it’s just me. Anyway, this was still a great read, greatly written. […]

  139. Alexander Hamilton says:

    A “relatively minor Founding Father”? You parade your ignorance. I was the most lastingly-influential of the Founding Fathers. Today’s America is closer to my vision for it than it is to any of the other Founders’.

  140. […] The Story of Tonight […]

  141. Magdalane says:


  142. Scooter says:

    The good news is, my wife knows by now that if I send her a Posnanski piece about his family, she is going to cry. You got us both with this one.

  143. Alan Fein says:

    Wow. I am outside counsel to the Miami Heat, Chairman of Miami’s Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, and my wife runs a theater in Miami. My life revolves around sports and theater. Tomorrow, I fly to NYC to see Hamilton for the second time. Joe, you captured everything about the dynamic of greatness and love and family. I loved reading this. Thanks.

  144. This is such a great story, Joe. I so want to see Hamilton, but I was more struck by your relationship with your daughter. My dad is a good guy, better than I give him credit for, but we have always had an interesting relationship. I’m much closer to my mom, but my dad and I have done some fun things. He’s taken me to see Kathy Griffin, Book of Mormon, and shopping at Neiman Marcus. He does it all with a smile on his face, and while I doubt he remembers these things well, I do, and they were incredible experiences not just because of what they were but because I did them with him.

  145. […] night walking into the theatre, I could hardly contain myself. Joe Posnanski wrote a lovely column recently explaining the energy of Hamilton, and he’s spot-on. Everyone […]

  146. Michelle says:

    Hello, I never heard of you until today. I googled “Lin-Manual Miranda” and somehow came upon this BEAUTIFUL article about you taking your daughter to see Hamilton. I freaking LOVE it!! It made me cry. It’s beautiful in every way. Whatever you paid for the tickets, it’s worth it!! 🙂 What a special, magical night. Thank you SO MUCH for writing about it. I love how you describe your daughter and the caring bond you have with her. I love how you describe the WONDER in the theater before the play even begins. This is one of the best articles I have ever read. Thank you!! 🙂

  147. […] Hamilton: This is the most lovely thing I’ve read all week. It’s about a father taking his teenage daughter to see Hamilton, a hit Broadway musical, but also about so much more than that. […]

  148. Liz Tailor says:

    WOW!!! This is a beautiful story! I, like Elizabeth, am completely obsessed with Hamilton. So I fully understand! And only wish that I could muster the money to go and see it.

  149. […] Countless people have beat me to reflecting on its brilliance as both an educational tool and an unparalleled cultural experience. Having made it through about 20% of the Hamilton biography and listened to the cast album upwards […]

  150. Lisa says:

    This is a great story. When I was in NYC, I won the lotto to sit front row center with my Hamilton obsessed 11 year old daughter. We kept squeezing each others arms and tearing up. I felt so happy to be able to give her such a memorable experience. Leslie Odom focused on her several times pushing the joy meter to 1 million for her. I loved the show just as much as she did. Your article brought it all back, and it only happened in May 🙂 Thanks!

  151. Teal says:

    So so perfect.

  152. […] how Joe Posnanski described Hamilton by saying it’s one of the few things that lives up to the hype?  Vin Scully […]

  153. Bob Peterson says:

    Really too bad the cast and writers decided to treat newly-elected Vice President poorly. I was so impressed with Joe’s assessment of the experience, I was hoping for the best. But they are aligned with those who don’t know respect and seem to endorse ugly behavior. Sad.

    • steven Williamson says:

      Perhaps if the Vice President elect was a more tolerant person, more kind to people who are different than he is…perhaps if a fellow GOP leader hadn’t heckled a sitting President during a State of the Union speech…Perhaps of the vise president elect hadn’t tried to turn back te rights of women and people of color in his home state…perhaps if the Vice president elect hadn’t run on a platform of fear and division. Perhaps if his running mate hadn’t disrespected minorities, Mexicans, people of Mexican decent, the disabled, women, Muslims, the media…Perhaps if the two of them hadn’t run a completely disrespectful and ugly campaign, people would be cheering him. But they didn’t so chalk it up t0 free speech, there Bob.

      • Joe Harkins says:

        Bob said, “Really too bad the cast and writers decided to treat newly-elected Vice President poorly.”

        A statement like this must be challenged. It is not an exaggeration. It is absolutely untrue. The cast and crew treated him and addressed him with respect.

        Before repeating such an untruth, please watch the entire incident and then let’s hear your opinion as to how public addressing of a public figure is poor treatment.

        • MikeN says:

          “We’re scared of how you are going to treat us as a leader” is not exactly exemplary behavior. It is true they did not reach to Rosie ODonnell levels.

  154. […] Hamilton | Joe Posnanski – Joe Posnanski writes about sports for a living, particularly baseball. Here, he writes about sports and also Springsteen, Hamilton, Harry Potter, iPads … […]

  155. Dustin says:

    Happy New Year to you and your family! I wanted to thank you for sharing your thoughts on sports and music and family and avoiding politics this past year. What a fantastic gift you share with us. All for free. You should really write a book. I would love to read your thoughts on the magic of Houdini.

  156. shagster says:

    Must be some show. My 9 year old neighbor hasn’t seen it. But seems to know by memory and note the entire soundtrack. Repeat. Has not seen. Word for word. On the note. How does one learn these things about neighbors? Long holiday weekend. Families split kids into cars by age. I’m ferrying the girls. Stuck in conga line of cars in a mountain pass. In the back seat my daughter and friend. Mine kept up with her for first 1- 2 songs (I had no idea she knew these two). Then fell away as Hamilton soundtrack’s own ‘Jesse Owens’ sang past. And kept going. And going. And going … . I’m guessing we’ll see Hamilton this year. BTW. If you’re binge watching shows, tune in to ‘Turn’.

  157. invitro says:

    Proggy sportswriters must be feeling very torn… on one hand, of them are saying 2016 = “best sports year ever” (pretty obviously this is just hype to sell their mags and newspapers but anyway)… but then they have those annoying *elections* to think about… 🙁

  158. […] Posnanski said in his recent post, “Hamilton”, when thinking about what memories his daughter, Elizabeth, will remember from her […]

  159. […] Posnanski had quite the parenting moment with his teenage daughter, and it happened on Broadway. Thanks, […]

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