The surprise reunion is an uplifting glimpse into our country's post-corona future
Coronavirus has made internet content a source of resentment and rage. It makes my blood pressure rise to read about Donald Trump’s stupidity and inability to care for the greater good of the United States, Jeff Bezos allowing his employees to work in unsafe conditions and asking the public to help them when he’s the richest man in the world, and the nepotism that pushed Jared Kushner to captain Trump’s Coronavirus Task Force and expose his cluelessness at the White House press briefing room podium. It leaves me in tears to read about the countless lives lost, the racial injustices that are leading minorities to die at a higher rate, the essential employees and healthcare workers on the frontlines who are putting their lives at risk. Following the constant stream of media about coronavirus induces insomnia and anxiety.
Lighthearted memes—hello Tiger King and “Wood”—have provided much-needed comic relief over the last month since I’ve been stuck in my apartment. But the second episode of SomeGoodNews, John Krasinski’s new YouTube show, made me feel so good on so many different levels. Not only did it remind me of the strength of the human spirit and that good people and good deeds exist, it told the story of an underdog, who against all odds, survived. It warmed my heart, lifted my spirits, and made me want to beat this pandemic. It showed me that no matter how bad things get, it’s still possible to triumph.
After uplifting segments on parents who have become teachers, community actions and a weather report by Robert De Niro, Krasinski introduced Aubrey, a 9-year-old from Florida who missed out on seeing Hamilton for her birthday because of coronavirus, according to this Tweet from her mother:
@Lin_Manuel We were supposed to see Hamilton in Jacksonville tonight—DD’s 9th bday present (seeing Hamilton has been her dream since she saw her 1st Broadway show last year), but we’re home watching Mary Poppins Returns instead. At least we’re safe & healthy.
— MAB (@mabauman) March 21, 2020
Krasinski presented Aubrey, his de facto heartbreak correspondent, with the ultimate consolation prize: a trip to New York with her mother to see Hamilton on Broadway when the country goes back to its regularly scheduled programming. Then, he brought out another treat: Mary Poppins, who is played by his real-life wife, Emily Blunt. But that wasn’t all; Lin-Manuel Miranda, Blunt’s co-star in Mary Poppins Returns and the composer behind Hamilton, Zoom-bombed the whole thing, leaving Audrey speechless. “I think we can top that right now,” Miranda told Krasinski and Blunt, and then they did. The young Hamilton fan noticed a bunch of people crashing the Zoom meeting, as Miranda started playing “Alexander Hamilton,” the musical’s opening number and Aubrey’s favorite. The entire original cast of Hamilton then reunited to sing the number from their homes through Zoom.
“Alexander Hamilton” is a song that resonates with the current state of America. Even though I’ve never seen Hamilton, the song’s narrative, about the rise of the underdog statesman, parallels the pandemic’s wrath. Hamilton and his mother Rachel both fell victims to another viral infection, yellow fever, which eventually took Rachel’s life in 1768. “You gotta fend for yourself,” went the lyrics, just like many of us are doing against coronavirus right now. Hamilton’s perseverance through his plight for survival is similar to what America is going through as it struggles to extinguish coronavirus. It also highlights a possible future for the country once it overcomes Covid-19 with lines like “In New York, you can be a new man,” and “Will they know what you overcame?” Like Hamilton, must also be fighters. Hamilton’s story reminded me of the original—and in many ways, failed—ideals upon which this country was founded, that we could all amount to something if we worked hard enough together.
The Zoom performance of “Alexander Hamilton” is exactly what the world needs right now. It served as a reminder that good things still exist in this dismal world, and as an inspiration to those in despair from losing their jobs, battling coronavirus, or being stir crazy in their homes. It brought tears to my eyes, but the good kind. I’ve had it on repeat and play it each time I start to feel sad. It’s brought joy in the past few days, not just to me, but to the 8 million plus people who have viewed the performance on YouTube. Hamilton’s original cast sang a telling phrase that also applies in the time of coronavirus: “The world will never be the same.” Indeed it won’t, but that might be a good thing. As the song goes, “Just you wait…”