Miamian Barbara Garcia had pretty much the best week ever. And we’re crazy jealous of it.
On Sunday, Garcia was having dinner with her friend Jamie at an Outback Steakhouse in Westchester, when she got a call from an unknown number. Now, usually she wouldn’t pick up — but curiosity got the best of her. She answered the call.
It was Hillary Clinton’s campaign. A few weeks prior, she’d whimsically applied to the Hillary Clinton campaign’s nationwide “Win a trip to see Hamilton” contest. And she won. The very next day Garcia was flown to New York to see THE MUSICAL OF THE CENTURY front-row-center.
Oh and she also got to attend a cast wrap party and meet Hillary Clinton AND Lin-Manuel Miranda. NBD.
Even though we were so so so jealous, we had to know everything. We talked to her about the once in a lifetime moment.
This interview has been edited and condensed.
OK you got the call, you were selected as the winner. Then what?
I packed my bags on Sunday night, we flew into New York on Monday and were flying out by Tuesday night because I had to work on Wednesday.
The day started on Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. We headed over to the Edison Hotel to drop off our bags then we went to see the venue where the cast’s wrap party was going to be. We got to see the ballroom while they were putting together. It was amazing. Then they took us over to the Richard Rodgers Theatre. It was gorgeous, it was decorated with beautiful, intricate gold leafs. I was taken aback. This was my first Broadway show.
Had you listened to Hamilton at all before the show?
I hadn’t listened before getting there. I hadn’t even looked to find tickets or anything because I heard it was sold out for the next two years.
Whoah! How were your seats?
I got front row center seats. Who can ask for anything better?
Tell me everything.
The show came on and it was extraordinary. Think about everything you’ve read and heard about it — it’s better than that. It’s very energetic and upbeat. It’s fast … the hip hop and rap goes really fast then they blend it with slow ballads. After the show, Hillary made some remarks to the theater and when she talked about the show she stressed that Alexander Hamilton was an immigrant to the United States and he became passionate about the formation of country. That blended well with Lin-Manuel Miranda’s story who wrote it and stars as Alexander Hamilton. The play is about his life too. To have Hillary come and talk to us about unity and immigration and how we’re stronger together — that just went together so well.’
Somewhere in the middle of her remarks, she called me out by name as the contest winner, and I was just waving at her from the front row. It was like ”Oh my god, this is amazing.” Then after her remarks we went to the wrap party in the Edison Ballroom at the Edison Hotel where I got to meet Hillary and take a picture with her. I also got to meet Lin-Manuel Miranda after the show.
OMG, jealous. What did you say to him?
I told him how extraordinary the show was. I mean, who who reads a biography and turns it into a musical? I don’t think many people have that versatility. It’s an amazing story in song. I just told him how amazing it was and he was just absorbing it.
What did you say to Hillary?
I told her my story. I’m a Cuban-American born in Miami, my parents are Cuban immigrants so this story spoke to my soul. I’d never been able to get through a history book before. It really made me find a kinship with Alexander Hamilton. I told her I’d been a supporter since 2008 and I did what what I could then, and I’m doing whatever I can now to help her seal the deal.
What was your favorite song?
It was one of the opening songs, “My Shot.” It has the lines “I’m young, scrappy, and hungry,” and I loved that message. The message was that I have so much to say and so much I want to express and I’m going to get it done. What better message is there than that? I’m Cuban-American, and with immigrant parents, what better message than to blend that with the American Dream? Alexander Hamilton is the founder of the American Dream.
Why do you think a presidential candidate did this type of campaign?
Right? I thought the same thing. “Why would someone who is running for president make a contest where they’re giving away tickets to a musical on Broadway?” It’s about the message. The message was so amazing — Alexander Hamilton helped found the United States back in 1776. He was this immigrant who wanted to express himself. That’s the story of so many immigrants, and it lines up perfectly with Hillary’s we’re stronger together message. It was beautiful. It was Hamilton’s story, it was Lin-Manuel Miranda’s story, and it was my story. And the story of the unification of the United States. As the day came together, it all made sense.
How does it feel to be one of the only people in Miami to have seen this show?
It’s amazing. I can’t wait to tell more people about it. I found out on Sunday, I was on a plane on Monday and saw it on Tuesday. I went to work and haven’t told any of my friends yet, so I can’t wait to tell more people about it.