Quote of the Day: Who lives, who dies, who tells your story? lyrics from the smash-hit musical Hamilton by Lin-Manuel Miranda. I got a media invite to attend the Hamilton North American Tour stop at the Orpheum Theatre in Minneapolis, MN. What a treat. And, it included a couple surprises.
In addition to a spectacular show, we had the surprise of US Senator Amy Klobuchar who came out to introduce the show and talk about the success of her bill “Save Our Stages” Act when theaters and other businesses shut down across the country and world due to the global pandemic. The full house, and nearly sold out performances of Hamilton, shows how much we value the performing arts, to be in the room where it happens. There is no substitute for that energy. Sen. Klobuchar asked who was seeing Hamilton for the first time. Fairly loud applause. Who is seeing it for the second or third time? Louder applause. Then, she was alerted to the fact that some people have seen it over five times. In fact, the gentleman sitting next to us said that this was his 9th time seeing Hamilton! The power of theater, and Miranda’s genius to tell this story of our founding fathers is what gets people young and old excited to go out and be in the audience. The energy was dynamic.
I saw the touring production of Hamilton in the fall of 2018. That was my first time. I was blown away by the energy and talent on stage.
*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.
Each time you see a show, you notice different things. This cast is different and brings something new to the performance. A stand out for this performance was Carvens Lissaint as George Washington. He had command of the stage whenever he spoke or sang. He brought down the house in his final number, One Last Time. I had goosebumps! Of course, Edred Utomi was excellent as Alexander Hamilton. We watch him go from a new immigrant to someone in power of this young country. He writes at an obsessive rate, sparking the lyrics, “Why do you write like you’re running out of time?”
Josh Tower played an excellent over confident, and sometimes jealous, Aaron Burr. David Park was lively, and humorous, as both Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson. He knows how to get a laugh. Tyler Belo also added levity and pizzazz as Hercules Mulligan and James Madison. Jon Viktor Corpuz was delightfully tragic as both Laurens and Philip Hamilton. He shows the right amount of brains and hot-headedness. Bryson Bruce (standby) was hilarious as King George. The audience was enamored with his performance. He played to their laughs and cheers, as any king who loves attention would do.
The Schuyler sisters were delightful. Stephanie Umoh played Angelica, the one who secretly loved Alexander, but introduced him to her sister instead. Yana Perrault plays both Peggy Schuyler and Alexander’s mistress Maria Reynolds. She was especially strong, vocally and stage presence, as Maria. Alysha Deslorieux was a wonderful Eliza. I like it that Miranda ends the show with her singing/talking. She has the last word. She outlived her hot headed, yet brilliant, husband and went on to do great things on her own. As she’s reflecting on her life, the chorus sings the above quote: Who lives? Who dies? Who tells your story?
This is a story about our founding fathers, but the women do have a few things to say. Miranda puts in a line about telling more of their story in the sequel. I’d like to see something that highlights women’s contributions to the world we live in and what they needed to do to get us here.
You can see Hamilton on tour at the historic Orpheum Theatre in Minneapolis, MN through May 6, 2023 (Hennepin Theatre Trust website). Although the shows are nearly sold out, and tickets can be rather expensive, you have an opportunity to enter a lottery to win a pair of tickets for any of the performances for $10 each. I tried for a couple extra tickets so that I could bring my friend and her daughter and friend along, and I won the lottery! There’s no guarantee that you’ll win, or where your seats will be, and it’s possible they might not even be together. We got lucky. The seats were in the third row, middle, together, and the girls had a spectacular view and experience. The genius of this show is that it gets young people excited about history and theater, and it provided us with a memorable night out with friends, young and old. Go to the Hennepin Theatre Trust site for #HAM4HAM tickets to read the rules and sign up.
Go. Create. Inspire!
Journaling Prompt: Have you seen Hamilton? If so, how many times? What gets you excited to get out and experience live performances, or gather with other people?
*Borrowed from my previous review, September 2018, before the world actually did turn upside down from the global pandemic.
Additional info/press release on Senator Amy Klobuchar’s visit to the Orpheum theater and her Save Our Stages Bill.
MINNEAPOLIS (APRIL 6, 2023) — United States Senator Amy Klobuchar took to the historic Orpheum Theatre stage in Minneapolis last night to welcome the musical Hamilton to Minnesota for its five-week run as part of the Bank of America Broadway on Hennepin season in the Hennepin Theatre District.
Senator Klobuchar’s visit highlighted the success of the Save Our Stages Act, a bill introduced by the Senator in 2020 that provided $16 billion in relief for independent venues shuttered by the pandemic. During the pandemic, theatres and stages across the country—including the Orpheum, State and Pantages Theatres—were among the first businesses to close and the last to reopen. Senator Klobuchar authored, introduced and was instrumental in passing the act, ensuring the preservation of the historic theatres’ legacy and their future in Minneapolis.
“I was thrilled to be in the room where it happens to help welcome Hamilton to the Orpheum Theatre stage. This production captures the birth of the great American experiment in democracy and showcases some incredible talent,” said Senator Klobuchar. “Live venues were among the first businesses to close down from the pandemic and the last to reopen, but we decided we couldn’t let arts and culture die. Actors, stagehands, musicians, audiences, and organizations like the Hennepin Theatre Trust rallied behind my bipartisan bill, the Save Our Stages Act, to make the largest investment in the arts in American history and help theaters survive so we can continue to enjoy performances like Hamilton for generations to come.”
Senator Klobuchar has been a dedicated and constant supporter of the arts throughout her career, recognizing the power of creativity and culture to bring people together and drive economic growth. Her attendance is a testament to her ongoing commitment to promoting and supporting the arts in Minnesota.
“We are honored to have Senator Klobuchar open Hamilton’s run at the historic Orpheum Theatre,” said Mark Nerenhausen, president and CEO of Hennepin Theatre Trust. “The Senator’s unwavering support for the arts not only ensured the survival of theater in Minnesota, but it also created a future where theater and the arts are intrinsically linked to our identity as Minnesotans—powering our economy, contributing to our culture and nourishing our wellbeing. We are proud to welcome Senator Klobuchar to our stage, kicking off what is sure to be an incredible five-week long engagement of Hamilton in the historic Hennepin Theatre District.”