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Coffee Talk
Business Observer Friday, Sep. 9, 2016 2 years ago

A day on Broadway

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In summer 2015, prominent Fort Myers public relations executive Tina McCain Matte faced a messaging problem while on vacation with her significant other and her two daughters: They were about to buy tickets to the Broadway show “Hamilton,” which uses a combination of hip-hop, rap and rhythm and blues to tell a story about American Founding Father Alexander Hamilton.

In summer 2015, prominent Fort Myers public relations executive Tina McCain Matte faced a messaging problem while on vacation with her significant other and her two daughters: They were about to buy tickets to the Broadway show “Hamilton,” which uses a combination of hip-hop, rap and rhythm and blues to tell a story about American Founding Father Alexander Hamilton.

“I'm afraid the girls will shoot us if we take them to a show about American History,” quipped Matte to her companion, Naples attorney Laird Lile. But the family gave it a shot, and bought tickets way up top. At intermission, they all looked at each other in stunned silence about how incredible the show was. “It was amazing,” Matte tells Coffee Talk. “It was so powerful.”

A partner at Gravina, Smith Matte & Arnold, Matte was hooked on “Hamilton” from that show on, just like thousands of others, given the Tony-winning Broadway show has become a pop-culture hit. So hooked she has now seen it five times on Broadway, including one where she met “Hamilton” creator and star Lin-Manuel Miranda.

Matte was also there for the famous July 9 performance — the last show where Miranda played Hamilton. Her celebrity sightings that night include U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, “Breaking Bad” star Aaron Paul and Jane Fonda. Says Matte: “The energy in that room that night could lift a rocket ship.”

Matte's Hamilton obsession is multifaceted. It's not just the songs, lyrics and story, all of which she loves. It's also the creative genius Miranda has in creating such a unique show. Matte reads magazine articles and books about Miranda and the show and YouTube binges anything Hamilton she can. “I'm totally geeked out about it,” she says. “I can't get enough.”

Her passion shines through, especially in chats with someone not familiar with the show or someone who can't grasp how hip-hop and American history jive. “Anytime I talk to someone who doesn't get it, I will get them the soundtrack,” she says. “I've probably gifted the soundtrack 25 times.”

Her goal is to go see the show with Lile, another raving fan, at least once a quarter, taking people who haven't seen it. The tickets aren't cheap, but Matte is OK with the expense for the payoff. She's become something of an expert on finding tickets on Ticketmaster's resale site.

“We don't golf. We don't go boating,” she says. “But now we have this shared passion, and it's our thing.”

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