Do you have time off work this week? Are you technically working but your office is a wasteland and you really might as well blast some YouTube videos because no one is there to notice or care? Then here is a present, just for you: Nine years after making its first public appearance at the White House, Hamilton has made its way to the Kennedy Center.
At the 41st annual Kennedy Center Honors earlier this December, Hamilton’s original creative team — writer and star Lin-Manuel Miranda, director Thomas Kail, choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler, and music director Alex Lacamoire — were honored for their contributions to American culture. The team, sometimes jokingly called “the cabinet,” received a special award, handed out in addition to the center’s annual honors for contributions to American culture, for being what the center refers to as “trailblazing creators of a transformative work that defies category.”
And in celebration of their award, the original cast of Hamilton reunited to perform some selections from the show.
The performance happened on December 2, but it finally aired on CBS on Wednesday night. The headlining song was Lin-Manuel Miranda returning as Hamilton (he’s also set to reprise the role in Puerto Rico next month) and Christopher Jackson returning as George Washington for “One Last Time,” which sees Hamilton preparing Washington’s farewell address to the nation and Washington establishing the two-term presidential precedent.
Like most of Hamilton’s political songs, it has picked up some additional poignancy under the Trump administration (imagine, a leader turning away from power willingly!), and Jackson’s voice is as buttery smooth as ever as he riffs on Washington’s final lines, with the Voices of America Youth Choir wailing away on the background harmonies and music director Lacamoire on the piano.
But for my money, the most exciting moment of this Kennedy Center Hamilton reunion came when the original Schuyler Sisters — Phillipa Soo as Eliza, Jasmine Cephas-Jones as Peggy, and Renée Elise Goldsberry as Angelica, the role for which she won a Tony Award — returning for their titular song. Unlike Miranda and Jackson, the Schuyler Sisters sing without their traditional backing chorus from the musical, in a stripped-down arrangement that allows their Destiny’s Child-esque harmonies to shine clean and bright. It’s a performance so infectious that during the audience cutaways, you can see that half the attendees are unconsciously lip-syncing along with them.
And if you’re alone in your office anyway, you can too.
Look around, look around, at how lucky we are to be alive right now.