Hamilton debuts in Charlotte in two months, and there’s a lot of excitement. Last week, it took just four hours to sell out its nearly 4-week run uptown. WFAE’s Tommy Tomlinson did not get tickets. But he has some ideas where he – and you – can spend money.
By the time I remembered about “Hamilton” tickets going on sale, it was WAY too late. On Twitter, a friend of mine was saying they were number 66,000 or something in the online queue. I’ve been trying to think if there’s anything worth waiting for in a line 66,000 deep. If Prince descended from heaven for one final concert, maybe. I’d have to find out who was the opening act.
But despite some computer glitches, a lot of people did end up getting “Hamilton” tickets – the Charlotte Observer estimated about 40,000 tickets were sold. But there’s probably an even bigger group of people who wanted to get tickets and didn’t. Maybe you were one of those people who had your “Hamilton” money set aside, all ready to go, and didn’t get to spend it.
Let me help you with that.
Charlotte is a perpetually underrated arts town. Part of it, I think, is that our venues are scattered – if you want to make a night of it, you often have to drive from one place to another. Part of it is our reputation as a business town. If the rest of the world dressed us in one outfit, it would be a charcoal-gray suit.
But if you take two seconds to pay attention, there’s so much going on here. Every night, all over Charlotte and the surrounding area, there’s live music. Galleries full of paintings and sculptures. Writers reading from their latest works. Dancers showing off their steps. And, yes, theater companies putting on plays.
Some of that work is a guaranteed good time. Some of it is experimental and challenging. It might sound like something you would never like. But what if somebody came to you three years ago and said, “There’s this new play in town, I haven’t heard much about it yet … it’s a hip-hop musical about the fifth-most-famous Founding Father.” Would you have lined up to see that play? Or would you have put on your sweatpants and started scrolling through Netflix?
It’s possible that some troupe in a little black box theater in Charlotte is creating its “Hamilton” right now. Or maybe some painter is creating her Sistine Chapel, or some musician is creating his “Purple Rain.” To paraphrase Hamilton by way of Lin-Manuel Miranda, there are lots of artists here who are not throwing away their shot.
So take that money you didn’t get to spend on “Hamilton” and spend it on local art. You’ll probably enjoy it. It might change your life. And I can promise you this: The line won’t be as long.
Editor's note: Tommy will now have a commentary every Monday on WFAE’s Morning Edition.