Fourteen-year-old Hannah’s obsession with Hamilton was a little unexpected.
She wasn’t particularly into musical theater. She had other interests. She loves being outside, although her cancer limits her time outdoors. She likes to read, watch YouTube videos and watch movies. Hannah also loves history.
One fateful day, a friend of Hannah’s played the Hamilton soundtrack for her. She. Was. Hooked. An instant fan was born. She received the CD for her birthday and plays it all the time. Hannah’s mom and siblings agree. She really does play it all the time. Now she is consumed with all things Hamilton.
Hannah has been battling chordoma, a spinal cord tumor, since she was 10. Spinal cord tumors can be very painful and often require surgery and radiation or a combination of the two. Hannah has undergone multiple surgeries, spinal fusions and radiation treatment. She has been brave in her fight against chordoma.
In early 2018, Hannah learned she was eligible for a wish. She knew instantly what her wish would be. She had to get to New York City to see Hamilton on Broadway. She told her wish granters that she wanted to see the show and maybe meet a few cast members. While in NYC, she also wanted to make sure to take in the sights. To satisfy her history-loving heart, she especially wanted to see the Statue of Liberty and the American Museum of Natural History. Hannah decided NYC at Christmastime would be the icing on the cake!
Leading up to Hannah’s wish, one of her volunteers (who happened to work for the Tennessee Performance Arts Center) arranged for Hannah and her family to attend Peter Pan and Tinker Bell: A Pirate’s Christmas and meet the cast backstage. That was a fun experience, but the real treat of the night was a special recording of “Hannah McIntosh,” a remake of “Alexander Hamilton” with information about Hannah!
Hannah admitted that she was nervous, but mostly excited, leading up to her trip.
Hannah’s trip began with surprises before she ever left Tennessee. On the morning of her trip, Hannah answered the door to find her grandpa standing there with his luggage in his hand. Her mother had arranged for Poppy to accompany Hannah, her mother and her siblings. On the heels of the special travel companion, a limo arrived to take the family to the airport. This was everyone’s first limo ride!
After an easy airplane ride, the family checked into their hotel and began exploring. Christmas Eve brought a visit the American Museum of Natural History. Hannah dressed the part in her Jurassic Park t-shirt. The family had a great time exploring the exhibits and taking photos with dinosaur fossils.
The next day, Hannah and her family were able to spend Christmas in the Big Apple!
The day after Christmas was the big day! They were scheduled for the Wednesday matinee and they arrived in style. After a limo ride to the theater, the family was able to skip to the front of the line and quickly grabbed some Hamilton merch before settling in for the show.
Lori, Hannah’s mom, said it was heartwarming to see Hannah mouthing the words as the actors sang them. Hannah said it was everything she hoped it would be. When the show was over, the family made their way backstage to meet some of the cast members. Hannah took along her new program book and sweatshirt to get autographs.
There was one more day before the family made their way back to Tennessee. In what could only be described as their third dose of American history (after the Museum and Hamilton) they spent the day visiting the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. They were able to once again skip the line and get right to their tour.
When they returned home Hannah and her mom expressed how wonderful their visit was. Hannah’s face lit up and her smile reached from ear to ear when she talked about their trip. They both said the entire experience was great.