Quote of the Day: The World turned upside down! from Lin-Manuel Miranda’s brilliant work, Hamilton! It truly seems like the world has turned upside down. People are going nuts for theater, for American history, for a shot at seeing this musical live. Does it live up to all that hype? Yes! Absolutely. The score is exciting and fresh, with a driving beat, zillions of words that fly at you fast and furious, and a story this is filled with heartache and passion. The name itself, says Miranda, “Is surprisingly musical.” Alexander Hamilton.
Miranda was still feeling the success of his first Broadway hit In the Heights when he went on vacation and picked up Ron Chernow’s biography on one of our nation’s founding fathers. He was captivated by the story and declared that he’d found the subject of his next musical. Who would have thought that a musical about a little known person in history, from over 200 years ago, would be such an enormous success? Lin-Manuel, that’s who. He somehow cast the same magic that J.K. Rowling did with her wildly popular Harry Potter series. She got 12-year-old boys and girls lugging fat books around, reading them as fast as they could, and waiting in line at midnight for the next one to be released.
Miranda has the world waiting in lines around the world for tickets priced anywhere from $10 to $1000’s to get a shot at seeing this story come to life on stage. It truly is magical.
And, yes, it lives up to all the hype. I was fortunate to get press tickets to Media Night for the U.S. tour stop at the Orpheum Theatre in Minneapolis, MN. The crowd was alive with excitement. As soon as Burr walked on stage, they erupted into applause. Each song and clever phrase received laughs, applause, cheers, sighs, and a few tears. We had listened to the cast recording numerous times, but seeing it performed live with the amazing actors, live music, stunning costumes, set, lighting and all the theatrical effects made it even more entertaining and engaging. When you see the actors perform it live, with their full emotions, and brilliant staging you understand the story even better.
I’m still feeling the afterglow from watching Hamilton. I had amazing seats, Row B, and could see every facial expression and eye twitch – and lots of spit flying! Jon Patrick Walker who played King George was hilarious. I like his songs, and seeing him perform them live made them even funnier and more sarcastic. He really is a nutter!
Joseph Morales became Alexander Hamilton for me. He seemed so much like Miranda, yet, his own person and strength as an actor. It seemed like he often had a smirk playing around his mouth, like he was having the time of his life on stage. He has to draw so much emotion and energy for this part. They all do. This is a fast-paced musical with a driving beat. The ensemble works hard to create fluidity, then freeze into poses that seem to frame the action and main characters. High praise to choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler and Director Thomas Kail. The show moves in a seamless string of song, dance, and storytelling.
Marcus Choi, who plays George Washington, has a strong stage presence and a smooth, strong voice for his vocals. Kyle Scatliffe plays Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson, who seems larger than life, very funny and colorful, and a bit calculating. Nik Walker as Aaron Burr is a bit chilling, a somewhat villainous character, with many regrets. He often chose our area as a focal point, and we felt like he was looking right at us.
One thing I didn’t get from just listening to the cast recording was the importance of the women in this story. It is a telling of the founding fathers, more HIStory. The women in Hamilton are his wife, his sister-in-law who is also in love with him, and his mistress. All other women are in the ensemble (they’re presence and moves are powerful and beautiful). Hearing Ta’Rea Campbell belt out her heartfelt songs melted my heart. Shoba Narayan as Eliza Hamilton was beautiful, loyal, unwavering, and tragic. She sings gorgeous solos that brought tears to my eyes.
Miranda is brave and genius in creating this story. He breaks out of the mold and recreates theater in a way that is inclusive and exciting. I like this quote from our press kit, “The musical features a score that blends hip-hop, jazz, blues, rap, R&B, and Broadway. Hamilton is the story of America then, as told by America now.” The cast is as diverse as the people who populate this vast country. We’re all part of the narrative.
Tickets to Hamilton are hard to come by, but not impossible. Hennepin Theatre Trust says to keep checking their website or Tickemaster (the only official site for ticket sales.) Beware of scammers or places that are selling tickets for exorbitant prices. They may not even be legit. Also, for every performance at the Orpheum in Minneapolis, 40 seats are set aside for the lottery. Go to Hennepin Theatre Trust website for instructions on how to get entered into the lottery for a chance to buy two tickets at $10 each. Hamilton is playing at the Orpheum in Minneapolis, MN through October 7, 2018. Visit the website for the Hamilton U.S. tour for other cities and ticket information.
Go. Create. Inspire!
Journaling Prompt: What have you anticipated and either waited in line for, or went to the extra effort to get?