Dear Lin-Manuel Miranda,
I'm still not exactly clear on how you wrote Hamilton (a musical that has influenced my life and countless others' lives), but I do know that it is a masterpiece. You have changed the way we think about life and the theatre, and my gratefulness for this knows no bounds. You have taken history and made it light up in the world's understanding. (As a history nerd, THANK YOU SO MUCH.)
Thank you for the way you have written Hamilton to be about everything in life -- whether that is love, or conflict, or things that really just appeal to my sense of humor. People really are the same throughout the ages, and thank you for reminding us that people that have long been dead were nothing more than human. They have flaws and faults and sins, just like we do. But they also have virtues and have done marvelous things, just like we have.
Thank you for the complex way you write characters. I am in constant awe of how simple it is to understand their motivations and yet how difficult at the same time. I catch something new every time I listen to Hamilton and that is good storytelling. Good stories have influenced nearly my whole life, and Hamilton quickly became a new favorite.
Thank you for the motivation that "My Shot" has given me over the last months. It has reminded me that only hard work will permit us to achieve our goals. On the days I feel like quitting, it has given me a shove of self-motivation. As an artist, I'm sure you have felt that feeling of utter tiredness of what you love. It's these moments that "My Shot" has helped me through.
Thank you for giving us all a gift,
Dear Phillipa Soo,
Thank you for your grace-filled performances of Eliza. You have filled me with a thankfulness I cannot describe for bringing to life a woman that I can relate to on a deep level. You have struck a chord with me in Eliza's paradoxical mix of fierceness and gentleness. I wish I knew how you manage to portray Eliza's emotional layers. If I knew, I would have far more skill than I currently possess.
You have reminded me that there is a place for soft-hearted girls out there in the world -- and the women who have the most compassion and love in their hearts are often the strongest. It's so refreshing to find characters that I connect to, and I cannot thank you enough for bringing Eliza to life. Eliza's enthusiasm and love is inspiring for me, and her gentleness is humbling.
Thank you for giving us your all every day in your performances. You have inspired me to work hard to accomplish what I want to in life, and you have reminded me to work hard at my art. Just from listening to you sing, I can tell that you love what you do, and I hope that is something that comes across when people meet me in the future as well.
Thank you again, from the bottom of my heart,
Dear Leslie Odom Jr.,
Thank you for your sensitive and deep portrayal of one of the most infamous men in American history. Throughout your performance, I learned who Aaron Burr was, where he went wrong, and how fundamentally different from Alexander he was. He had flaws, but so did Alexander. Neither of them were even close to perfect, and I think that's what makes this story so fascinating and real.
Thank you for giving us one of the most beautiful vocal performances I've ever heard. "Dear Theodosia" especially has touched me (even though I'm not a parent), because it helps me understand what love is truly about -- putting the other person before yourself. There are so many truths in your performance and that means so much to me.
Thank you for pouring all of yourself into this role. We see everything in Aaron Burr -- his hesitancy, his ambition, his intelligence. That's why it hurts so much. Through you, we can see his ambition taking a hold of him and dragging him down to a place he will never fully recover from. We can empathize with a man who shot Hamilton, a character that we love.
Thank you for helping us to understand a man who is so often misunderstood,