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My night with Hamilton

By Darian Elliott

Darian Elliott, RPR, CRR, CRC, from Frederick, Md., has been providing captioning and CART for 23 years — covering church services, news programs, council meetings, theatre performances, sporting events, and her favorite, classes for students. Last October she received a call for a dream assignment: Captioning a performance of Hamilton at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. “How lucky we are,” says Elliott, “doing something we’d do for free if we could.”

Finally I got the call to be in “The Room Where It Happens.” You would have thought I was in the show, I was so excited. I rarely dress up anymore since COVID-19; however, the night before I was trying on dresses, hoping all my late-night munchies wouldn’t cause me a problem, just this one night. Found a dress! Now it was time to prep.

The great thing about theatre is there’s not much prep, as it’s usually completely scripted; however, I love going through the songs and looking through the script where they’ve ad-libbed before and getting all the names in a few different ways, just in case.

All the prep, all the tough jobs no one else wanted to do that got me to this point did not disappoint.

We are the most blessed people in the world to get to a place where we realtime to the realest from Colin Powell to Martin Scorsese — and deliver. Then someone asks us to do the seemingly unimaginable like theatre and we find it’s easy-peasy. How lucky we are doing something we’d do for free if we could.

There’s no way to really see Lin-Manuel Miranda’s brilliance until you’ve read the play, but no way to get to a place where you’re reading the brilliance of Broadway or captioning inaugural events unless you sometimes try the hard thing, the National Institutes of Health meeting, or the medical class you keep rolling your eyes at. Just ask the company for a reporter’s last transcript or for them to record it for you. Captioners are willing and ready to help realtime reporters, and you stay in the game!

Great opportunities await if you dare to prepare and work on your dictionary after every assignment, your settings for CART versus captioning, and your attitude, keeping it all about the consumer all the time.

I was asked to try theatre just because I was certified and available. Second to CART, where you get to learn about everything for free, it’s my favorite part of our profession. Stay with it! Pass on your passion.

Oh, the places you will go. I can’t wait to hear about them!

Darian Elliott, RPR, CRR, CRC, of Frederick, Md., is a senior realtime reporter with the Social Security Administration. She tells the JCR that she loves captioning, its income-earning potential, work-life balance, and the community and support that comes along with it. She is grateful for a profession where she can help deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals attain the same career advancements or even just enjoy a good laugh at a television program the same as a hearing individual. She can be reached at