The Time I Cried At A Hamilton Show


I am one of those freaky artist/empaths who cry at everything. I suck in the feels all the time, to the demise of my mascara…I cried at a Starbucks ad yesterday about a trans boy using his male name for the first time. So, so, so sweet! But the last time I cried at a show was, without question, last fall while seeing Hamilton with my family, during the song “It’s Quiet Uptown”.

This song is desperately beautiful, a mosh of painful loss, regret and yearning for forgiveness. It comes at a point late in the show when Eliza and Alexander have just lost their oldest son while also dealing with the inevitable hurts that happen in long relationships. “It’s Quiet Uptown” is brilliantly written, weaving musical themes from throughout the show, reminding us of the unknowing past and scraping at raw emotions of the present, wondering why, against this new backdrop of unimaginable loss, was I ever so hurtful or hateful? How do I go on? How do we go on?

“There are moments that the words don't reach

There is a grace too powerful to name

We push away what we can never understand

We push away the unimaginable”

I wasn’t alone in choking on tears as I looked down the aisle to my daughter-in-law and my son who shares my overly sensitive nature; my son who a year ago was diagnosed with leukemia. The unimaginable. I try not to obsess over this, but there is a current of darkness trickling under my stream of consciousness that definitely rears its ugly head. Losing a child is unimaginable. The back of my throat swells as I write these words. The concept is terrifying, and is something I don’t plan on facing. He is responding well to chemo, and medical advances and capable personnel overseeing his care alongside his incredible spirit keep hope and faith alive for all of us! But that dark current is resilient…

The musical storytelling of Hamilton was the inspiration for the synth-opera love story “Intuition” I am releasing this month. As I experienced “It’s Quiet Uptown” live, I felt even more conviction to be authentic, truthful, and as harsh or gentle as needed in my writing about the universal experience of connection and love. Our final two songs, “River of Time” and “Rise in Love”, portray very similar passions to “It’s Quiet Uptown”. At their core is that cold current of the unimaginable, but as I, not history, am the storyteller this time, I can alter the ending. We finish with an empowering message: “Together we will rise in love.” If our work brings listeners 1/10 of the goosebumps I had during “It’s Quiet Uptown” I will consider it a great success!
- Rändi Fay, songwriter