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Just a Girl, Standing in Front of a Theater, Hoping for Tickets to Hamilton

WILL WALKEY, HOST: For the next installment in our commentary series, reporter Janmaris Perez wishes life could be more like the movies.

JANMARIS PEREZ, BYLINE: I’ve never seen “The Notebook” or “Sleepless in Seattle.” Romantic movies just aren’t my thing. It’s really hard to hide my constant scoffing and eye rolling. I’m supposed to believe that someone with that many abs is that emotionally available? What is the fascination with professing true love in public places? It’s not that I don’t believe in love, but my first love wasn’t exactly a Hollywood blockbuster. I met him at a history club meeting. After school burger dates turned into going away to college together, and four years later I was sending him screenshots from the Pinterest board I made – of 18K Gold Entwined Halo Diamond Ring. That’s what you were supposed to do. But then I had an unexpected Cinderella moment. My boyfriend and I were going to a wedding in New York. (I know, there’s always a wedding in these kinds of stories.) But I had one goal in mind: to see “Hamilton.” I fell in love with the Tony-award winning musical the first time I heard it. A history musical and the lead was a fellow Latino from Washington Heights? I was sold. I kept the soundtrack on repeat, which means my poor boyfriend had no choice but become a fan, too. There was just one problem. Tickets were already sold out. But I didn’t panic. Instead, I made a plan. I set the alarm for 7am that December morning. We joined a group of eager fans waiting in the cancellation line at the stage door, hoping for a pair of last minute tickets. We waited in line for more than 7 hours. We took turns wrapping ourselves in a red, fleece blanket from the Duane Reade down the street. I shivered in line as we inched forward. By 6pm, an hour before curtain, we were next in line and I was praying for two more tickets. It was 6:30. People who actually had tickets were lining up for the show. I felt defeated. I made a list of all the other things we could’ve done instead with a day in New York City. At 6:50, a man asked me what I was in line for. When I told him how long we’d been waiting, he was impressed. Then he did something unexpected - he offered me an extra ticket if I sang a Hamilton song, right there on the street. Okay….. I was skeptical. But I belted my little Broadway heart out. The rest of the line joined in. For a moment, it felt like one of those cheesy, musical numbers in some movie I’d probably roll my eyes at. And then this fairy godfather actually handed me an extra ticket. His friend wasn’t going to be able to make it and he wanted the ticket to go to a real fan. I had not planned for this. It was 5 minutes to curtain. I looked over at my boyfriend, and the one ticket. I told him I wouldn’t go if he didn’t want me to. He gave me his blessing, I chucked that blanket, and I raced to my seat. The lights flashed. The curtains came up. It was happening. ((SOUND: Alexander Hamilton - Hamilton Soundtrack)) My boyfriend waited outside that theater for three hours. You might think I married him. But living by the book doesn’t guarantee a happy ending. In real life, people grow up, they grow apart, like my boyfriend and I eventually did. I probably still won’t watch “The Notebook.” But now I know Hollywood magic is possible. Maybe not in the perfect love story, but in an impromptu street performance and the generosity of a stranger.

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