No, I did not see “Hamilton”, and no, I do not have tickets. But what I DO have is loads of inspiration after watching “Hamilton’s America” on PBS (which you can stream thru 11/18) last weekend.
I’ll preface the rest of this by saying that I was not immediately sold on “Hamilton”. I thought it was hype, and I didn’t get it. Buuut, then I started seeing lots of people I knew who saw it and they said how great it was, and then he hosted SNL:
…And I was all… ok Lin-Manuel, I SEE you! So when I heard PBS was showing a documentary about the most-successful Broadway musical, I was in. I recorded it, and watched it immediately, as I shoveled takeout noodles into my dropped jaw.
Why? Because what I’d heard previously was true: Lin-Manuel Miranda picked up Ron Chernow’s book, “Alexander Hamilton” in an airport on his way to the beach for vacation, and was inspired to write a hit musical.
The documentary explores the creation of “Hamilton” before most of it was even written – and it took several years to write, given there are 55 songs squeezed into a show that’s less than three hours.
What did I find so cool about this story about a man who wrote a musical on one of our founding fathers? Well, lots of things.
For starters, the fact that Miranda was so inspired by history in this small instant – his vacation – and also that he put a huge twist on it (hip-hop). And then there’s the fact that most people don’t make money on Broadway. Creating a musical based on history was completely a passion project that turned out to be H-U-G-E.
I’m also dazed by the amount of work and research that went into the musical, as Miranda really wanted it to be historically accurate. No wonder it took nearly seven years to make.
I stumbled across an article in Fortune magazine which featured an interview with Miranda and he talks about what he learned from creating “Hamilton”:
You can have good ideas when you take a break from what you’re normally doing and don’t just go 100 miles an hour. Two: Really trusting my gut. I won a Tony with In the Heights. I got offered movie adaptations of musicals. I got offered a lot of Latin-theme stuff. But I had faith that the idea I was chasing with Hamilton would be worthwhile.
It takes years to make a musical. So I’ve got to choose projects knowing that even if they open and close in a day, I will not regret the time I spent on them. And so you can’t choose on what you think is going to be a financial success. You’ve got to pick the idea that excites you and inspires you to write.
I don’t want to give too much away, because you really should just watch the PBS documentary. Here’s the teaser:
So, now I’ve got Ron Chernow’s book on reserve at the library (I think I’m #10 in line), because I want to read the same thing Miranda read and see what’s on the pages. Will I see what he saw? Highly doubtful, because I know basically nothing about Broadway, and not much about musicals other than I wish I lived inside one.
In general, I live for these bits of inspiration. There are things that are likely to inspire us all – stories of rags to riches, those who’ve made something out of nothing. But perhaps there are things that oddly inspire you, which may not inspire the person beside you. Why?
Of course, we are all driven by different things. As a writer, great writing inspires me whether it’s in the form of a great song, an awesome TV show, a good movie, or the perfect book. Sometimes, just the thought of the light at the end of the tunnel inspires me: picturing a lazy Sunday morning when I’m knee-deep in work on a Tuesday helps me realize that the end is coming and I’m working toward those quiet moments.
Sometimes, I’m simply inspired by nature: the changing leaves of fall, every single sunset, a rare sunrise when I’ve dragged myself from the covers in time, flowers, mountains, or even green fields.
I’d love to know what inspires you – and what you do to keep that inspirational juice flowing in order to get things done. I know I’m always looking for more inspiration, and I’d love to know where we can all find it. And with that, I’m just going to leave you with this…
Over the weekend, my friend Jenny treated me to see the new “Ghostbusters” movie. I haven’t seen a movie in awhile, so I was excited, and glad she picked this one, because it’s not one I would have initially picked for myself, but it ended up being pretty funny!
The movie begins with a historically haunted mansion, complete with the green goop the Ghostbusters’ franchise is known for. The ghost sighting reunites a professor, played by Kristen Wiig, and her long-lost scientist friend, played by Melissa McCarthy.
McCarthy has a new researcher in tow, played by Kate McKinnon. The three of them check out the mansion in hopes of capturing the ghost, taking it back to their lab, and studying it.
But of course, their problem quickly becomes much larger than that, and the group recruits a fourth member, a subway operator (Leslie Jones) who sees a ghost among the tracks. They move into a makeshift office/lab above a Chinese restaurant, and hire a secretary. Enter: Mancandy Chris Hemsworth.
His character is dumb as rocks, but for once it’s great to see a guy placed in a flick for the pure drool factor.
Together, the women must catch the ghosts – which are multiplying by the day – while keeping New York City safe, and getting people (including the government) to believe their challenge is real. Decent plot + comedic timing is what makes this movie a win.
You know what else is cool? The fact that most of this cast is from Saturday Night Live (Cecily Strong makes a few appearances, too)! The film received tons of backlash when it announced its mainly-female cast – critics wanted to stick to the original formula of an all-male spirit squad.
Please! It’s about time we had more films that feature female leads; men get them all the time. And besides, the movie does PLENTY to pay homage to the original cast and films. Honestly, I am not a huge fan of the original – so, I can’t say how it compares to that, although I did like this one much better.
I’d say if you’re at all interested in seeing it, you definitely should. I am a huge Kristen Wiig fan, and it was great to see Kate McKinnon in a longer role than just on SNL.
…So, I’ve been drinking out of this coffee mug that I got from a mug swap I participated in many years ago. It was done through a blog – anyone that wanted to participate just sent their address to the main blogger, along with a few fun facts about us, and we got mugs from another blogger, and of course I sent a mug to my assigned blogger.
I’d really like to do something similar – would anyone be interested in participating? We could do a book swap, recipe swap, or perhaps just a $5 care package swap – if you’ve got ideas for another kind of swap, I am open to it – I’d like to keep it something for both women and men, so keep that in mind.
If there’s enough people that would participate – I can get this going next week! Let me know in the comments, or send me an email: Holly@thebitterlemon.com. I hope to hear from you!
Lately, I’ve noticed that I go through crushes pretty quick. My crushes in real life never like me back, so it leaves me to the only alternative: loading up on celeb crushes and hoping one day ONE of these guys will bump into me on the street, fall madly in love with me, and we’ll live happily ever after.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, my new celeb crush (as of last Saturday) is comedian Colin Jost. He does the Weekend Update on Saturday Night Live, and he looks super delish while he does it.
His birthday is really close to mine, so naturally, I’m convinced we were meant to be.
He went to HARVARD (sweating), and started as a writer on SNL, and worked his way up for ten years before taking the co-anchor position on Weekend Update.
He also does standup and has been nominated for five Emmy Awards.
Now, not to take away from Mr. Jost, but in other celeb crush news, tomorrow is a pretty MASSIVE day for Bieber fans, as well as One Direction fans, as both Bieber and One Direction are releasing their new albums… and we’ve all been waiting very anxiously for them.
Don’t worry, The Bitter Lemon will NOT be missing out on the action and I’ll have something really fun right here in celebration of this monumental event.
Don’t miss it! Until then, I’ll be messing around with my Google Cardboard. Know of any cool apps for it? Let me know!