Check: Get celebrity autographs

September 12, 2016 — by Caitlin Ju

Senior shares story of watching "Hamilton".

Resale ticket: $1500. As desperately as I wanted to see the musical “Hamilton” while its creator Lin-Manuel Miranda was still performing, $500 is the ticket price I draw the line at (even for Beyoncé). With my first choice “Hamilton” no longer an option for my summer afternoon in New York City, I scrolled through the dozens of Broadway shows with Sunday tickets still available and paused only slightly before selecting “The Color Purple,” which only a week ago had won a Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical.

Though I had read the novel “The Color Purple” by Alice Walker two years ago and was gripped by the main character Celie’s painful struggle against racial prejudice and gender inequality, I was nonetheless unprepared for the cast’s musical and theatrical talent and electrifying energy.

Celie, a 14-year-old African American girl living in rural Georgia in the 1930s, grapples with emotional and physical abuse from her father and husband but eventually transforms into, quite literally, the one wearing the pants with her tailoring business. Heather Headley starred as Celie’s closest friend, the dynamic Shug Avery, who helps Celie break free from her abusive husband, while Danielle Brooks played the tough and sassy Sofia, who refuses to be controlled by a man.

Both Headley and Brookes shone with their powerhouse voices and provided comedic relief, receiving well-deserved standing ovations. Frankly, every cast member’s performance impressed me so much that I wanted to join Broadway myself. After the three hour show, I exited the theatre, only to find a crowd gathered around one of the theatre’s side doors.

Situating myself within the barriered sidewalk, I realized the crowd anticipated the cast’s appearance, as limos and luxury cars waited a short distance from the side door. Still, I expected only the minor cast members to show and sign the first few Playbills they saw.

Within moments, lead Cynthia Erivo, Tony Award winner for her performance as Celie, appeared to autograph Playbills, followed by Grammy-award winning Headley who played my childhood favorite Nala in “The Lion King” musical, and Brooks who also stars as Tasha “Taystee” Jefferson on the binge-worthy Netflix series “Orange is the New Black.” Though my Playbill-holding arm grew tired from extending for 45 minutes, I was impressed that these acclaimed actresses and performers even bothered to sign our Playbills. Headley even personally checked that I had gotten an autograph even though I stood two rows from the front.

Armed with my autograph-filled Playbill, I’ve now checked off one thing from my bucket list. Next up: pet a penguin?