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Silverman: Hamilton offers us the inspiration we need during the coronavirus

We’ve “seen the lights go out on Broadway” until at least 2021. Live theater is gone. Talk about your tragedies. I love a good play, especially a musical.

Hamilton was scheduled to return to Denver’s Buell Theatre this summer. It would have sold out again. 

Alexander Hamilton epitomized the American dream. Our first Treasury Secretary, a lawyer, came up from nothing. He did so by reading and writing. George Washington’s right-hand man fought for America’s freedom.

The world needs to see Hamilton right now. And it can! For a phenomenally low-ticket price. We all just got the best seat ever invented for under $10 on Disney Plus

Craig Silverman

That’s so much less than what it cost to see the Sunday matinee in NYC with my 15-year-old son, Sam, on July 25, 2017. Trish bought us two tickets on the aftermarket. I did not want to know the cost. It might have dampened my enjoyment. I still don’t know, but it was worth every penny.  

I was headed east to broadcast from Washington. Sam and I flew to Reagan International on Saturday afternoon, with a plan to drive north for a great Sunday and Monday in the Big Apple. We would then return for Salem Media events — Tuesday at the White House — and Wednesday at the Capitol. 

On the way to NYC, I gave Sam a preview of the White House area. We were hungry, and I’ve always enjoyed the nearby Old Ebbitt Grill. It was late but the joint was jumping. The food was fantastic. After dinner, and before leaving town, we strolled down America’s inaugural parade route. 

I wanted to show Sam an impressive statue of Ben Franklin. It’s on the corner outside the Old Post Office Pavilion at 12th and Pennsylvania Avenue, just outside the Trump International Hotel. 

While studying the statue, a car pulled up nearby with its window down. A woman shouted toward us, “F*** Trump!!”  Sam and I did a double take before I pointed at the statue and yelled back, “Hey lady, this is Ben Franklin!” As she drove off, she hollered back, “Sorry! I like Ben Franklin.” 

We laughed, and then drove to Delaware for a little shuteye. It was a short drive to NYC and by late Sunday morning, there we were, two Colorado boys driving through the Lincoln Tunnel in my rented Lincoln Continental. 

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We went to our mid-town hotel, walked to StubHub in Times Square, got our tickets, ate some great 8th Avenue NY pizza, and then got in line at the Richard Rodgers Theater. We saw Hamilton. I was blown away.

We then got on Citi Bikes and rode toward the United Nations. We got to the east edge of Manhattan and turned right, to go down the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway bike path to pay our respects at Hamilton’s grave at Trinity Church. It was a spectacular day and night.

Sam loved the play. He knew every lyric. He’d had the soundtrack on his phone for months. On Monday, as we drove back to DC via Philadelphia, we blasted the cast album.  

Hamilton triggers every human emotion. It brings American history to life. And there it was, all laid out for us to see on this incredible trip to NYC, Philly and DC. 

Hamilton is about race even without portraying any black lives. In this masterpiece, people of color play America’s Founding Fathers. The audience accepts that instantly. It works. This play is about humanity, not skin color. Clever lyrics call out that era’s sexism and racism.

My mother-in-law, Diane Bartlett, is in her upper eighties now. She drove to our home this July 4 for a delicious Trishket sandwich Independence Day dinner. We ate outside at a good social distance. It was the first time she’d come over since the pandemic began.

Lordy, did we have something exciting to talk about. A brilliant native New Yorker, my mother-in-law was blown away by watching Hamilton the night before on her computer. She was tickled. For over an hour, we raved about our favorite scenes.

My mother-in-law’s enjoyment of life has been crushed by COVID. But Hamilton provided her some much-needed enjoyment. I’ll never forget the youthful twinkle in her eyes as we talked. 

She loved the great humor, especially Mad King George. Some hip-hop was hard to follow, but she plans to read the lyrics and re-watch several times.  

As for the man, Alexander Hamilton, Diane Bartlett told me, “I was fascinated. I didn’t know Hamilton had a son. There were so many facts about him I did not know.”  

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She forgives Alexander Hamilton for his (spoiler alert) sins, and she loves this American patriot. “He was sorry, and he paid a big price for his indiscretions,” she said. Nana teared up at the sad parts. 

Overall, Hamilton is uplifting and inspirational as we live with the unimaginable. America is born of struggle. We need more Alexander Hamiltons.

Three generations of my family are savoring every scene, every song, and every human emotion in our favorite play. May Hamilton help sustain us all until life returns to normal.


Craig Silverman is a former Denver chief deputy DA who also has worked in the media for decades. Craig is columnist at large for The Colorado Sun. He practices law at the Denver law firm of Springer & Steinberg, P.C. and is host of The Craig Silverman Show podcast.


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