By Zara Quiter, TIWP Afterschool Program, Age 9
I could see Lin-Manuel Miranda standing on the stage watching President Obama and Michelle Obama. I got there just in time for Lin’s first rap of “Alexander Hamilton.” It was cool – watching Lin and President Obama together.
And then just like that, I was on stage with thousands of people watching. Wait a minute, why am in the Eliza gown? And where is Phillipa Soo? Wait. Oh no. This can’t be happening!
Then suddenly something popped in my brain – all the moves, lines and thoughts Eliza needed, which was good because Eliza was starting to sing right now!
My intuition told me to walk to the front of the stage. It felt like someone else was there doing it for me. I sang as though I’d done it a million times.
When the song was over I went backstage. I had to be ready for “The Schuyler Sisters.”
Wait! I thought. First I had to meet everyone. Angelica came to my mind. I found her in a dressing room.
“Hi,” she said cooly. “Ready for ‘Schuyler Sisters?’”
“Yes.” I walked to a spot where my mind told me to go. There I watched the show until…
I did it. Another scene had passed. Near the end of the song I didn’t have my mind do it for me. I did the show for myself.
When “The Schuyler Sisters” was over, I slid off-stage seamlessly, and I watched all the songs until it was time for me to go back on for “A Winter’s Ball” and “Helpless.” I was a little nervous but I had already survived “Alexander Hamilton” and “Schuyler Sisters” so I bet I could do it.
“A Winter’s Ball” was easy. I swept my body into the groove and just as quickly as it had come, it was over.
Time for my song. I gulped. But then the song started. I opened my mouth and blurted my first line. It worked just as perfectly as the real Eliza.
My favorite part was Lin. He was not just rapping, but rapping at me. Me. Of all people. It was the best feeling I ever felt.
Once it was done we went to “Satisfied.” I watched Angelica do that song. I love Angelica and everything she does, but I was so glad I wasn’t Angelica for this song. Lin actually quoted that “Satisfied” is THE HARDEST song in the play.
When “Satisfied” was done, I walked off the stage the way I had done before. I had a long break until “Stay Alive,” and then I only had a few off-stage lines. I grabbed some water and headed to the balcony. Once “Stay Alive” was over I started to get ready for “That Would Be Enough,” one of my biggest numbers.
Lin walked on and looked at me the way he had before. I sang the song as though I didn’t need my mind to tell me what to do. I had this song perfectly memorized. After I finished, I walked off the stage. I was excited. “Guns and Ships” was starting. I was more excited than ever. I was sad when the song finished but it didn’t affect my calm attitude.I waited until “Tomorrow There’ll Be More Of Us.” I didn’t know that song well. I walked on and let my mind do it. It worked. I sang it but the words were not mine. Lin still looked at me that way. It made me more confident.
And then it was “Non-Stop.” Wow.
I did it. I knew it. It happened. That was good. I finished the longest song in the play. I did it! The first half!
The audience emptied and I walked backstage. 15 minutes of freeness. Talking to the actors – that was the best.
15 minutes went by quickly. I waited until “Take A Break.” I liked that song and it wasn’t that hard. Singing with Renee Elise Goldsberry felt good. I was sad to end the song but it had to happen.
But that fun feeling was over.
Lin. Was. Looking. At. Someone. Else. Like. The. Way. He. Looked. At. Me. I wanted to run on the stage and change places with her, but I waited for her song to finish.
That was the hardest.
I waited until “Schuyler Defeated” was on. It was simple. Easy, actually.
I waited all the way until “Burn,” the song that I was really nervous about performing. I went onto the stage and saw a bucket of water. I started the song and burned one letter and dumped it in the water so it looked like I was throwing it away.
The song was over, but I was not ready for “Blow us All Away.” Because when that song was over I had to do “Stay Alive Reprise.” I dreaded crying on stage. (I actually do.) But this time it was easy to cry. Seeing Lin cry made everyone backstage cry. It was the worst.
I ran on stage crying. The song was dreadful.
But worse was “It’s Quiet Uptown.” They actually had to record it because everyone was still crying. That was worse than “Burn.”
Finally, the song was over, and I felt so relieved. I never thought I would dislike being in Hamilton but I actually didn’t like this part.
The songs up to “Best of Wives Best of Women” passed by quickly. I easily finished that song except for the part where I wanted to tell him not to go because it’s a death trap.
I didn’t watch “When the World Was Wide Enough.” Too much. But I did have to sing “Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story.” I felt like crying. I was singing to people about Lin dying. That was really hard.
When the show was over we bowed. I felt amazing. Lin told me I did a good job and then he kissed me on the cheek. “Grrooooosss,” I wanted to say, but I didn’t. Just like that I turned invisible. The real Phillipa Soo appeared. I started spinning back to my bedroom, just in time for my birthday breakfast…