Michael Luwoye & Isaiah Johnson – HAMILTON National Tour (c) Joan Marcus
–By Jen Cunningham
The best way I could describe Hamilton, would be like meeting the love of your life for the first time. You had lived perfectly fine up to this point, life made sense and then you meet this person who changes how you see, EVERYTHING…ok, so maybe that is slightly exaggerated, but not by much.
I remember the Sunday morning I first learned about the concept of Hamilton. The show was still in its infancy. I think they had a really well received workshop under their belt, when a friend told me about a musical about Alexander Hamilton, but get this, he said “A good portion of it is rap. Its a hip-hop/pop musical about Alexander Hamilton.” I remember giggling, thinking my friend was losing it. “Godspeed! It sounds interesting. We need something fresh.”
Fast forward, circa 2015, the same friend texts in all caps, GUESS WHAT OPENED OFF BROADWAY?? GODSPEED!!!!! I referred to Hamilton as “Godspeed”, until I learned of the premiere. So, suffice to say, sitting in the audience waiting for this masterpiece to open, I was squirmy like an impatient little kid.
Amber Iman, Emmy Raver-Lampman & Hamilton Company – HAMILTON National Tour (c) Joan Marcus
The set, nautical in it’s appearance, adorn with ropes and pulleys, and bigger pieces that transition really easily, was brilliant. David Korins, received a Tony nomination for this design. When you see it, you’ll understand why.
Then just as promised, a spot hit center stage, and out walks a bald Aaron Burr (played by Nicholas Christopher) rapping(ish) the opening lyrics to “Alexander Hamilton.” Joined on stage by Hamilton himself, played by Austin Scott. “Alexander Hamilton”, the opening number, does a great job of prefacing what you are about to see. The phenomenon, five years in the making.
—On a side note, I refuse to turn this into a compare and contrast piece. The original cast will always have a level of magic that seems unattainable. They were the first group to do anything of this magnitude…and lets be honest, I fell in love with Leslie Odom Jr., years ago. (Am I the only one who was completely obsessed with SMASH?)
Hamilton Company – HAMILTON National Tour (c) Joan Marcus
Make no mistake this group of young people completely holds their own. A. Burr (Nicholas Christopher) does so well as the story teller of this show. In so many ways we see this from his perspective. He is often annoyed, yet bites his tongue so well, until he doesn’t.
The man himself, Alexander Hamilton, is played by Austin Scott. His voice and commanding presence served him well as Alexander. Alexander’s multiple love interests really got him into some trouble. He marries Eliza (played by Julia Harriman), although he seemed to be more suited for Angelica(played by Sabrina Sloan) the sister that is more engaged in the politics of the revolution. They both have this insatiable love for what their country can be. The difference in Angelica and Alexander is that she will never betray her sister. The two sisters go off to spend the summer together with Phillip, Alexander and Eliza’s son, when Alexander finds himself in a mess…by mess, I mean Maria Reynolds (Played by Isa Briones) Alexander had an affair with Maria and then ends up get extorted for a good chunk of money.
Mathenee Treco, Jordan Donica, Ruben J. Carbajal & Michael Luwoye – HAMILTON National Tour (c) Joan Marcu
Hmmm…I guess history really does repeat itself.
When Jefferson figures out that Hamilton had paid three large payments to James Reynolds (played by Alexander Ferguson), Maria’s husband, for his quiet cooperation, he blasts him to EVERYONE, and in true “A. Ham” fashion he published a pamphlet, defending himself to all of America, all while dragging Eliza through the mud. Their private life printed for the masses. This is where you get to see Eliza (Julia K. Harriman) really shine. In the serious moments when her heart is bleeding on stage, you really want to cry right along with her.
Solea Pfeiffer, Emmy Raver-Lampman & Amber Iman – HAMILTON National Tour (c) Joan Marcus
So who was my favorite? To answer the 15 messages in my inbox on Facebook…Lafayette/Thomas Jefferson(played by Chris De’ Sean Lee). This character is hilarious. He plays a version of Jefferson that is a total diva. His voice and rap ability is really fantastic too. All of that paired with how well he could dance, made him my top pick for this performance.
Closely followed by King George played by Peter Matthew Smith. King George is portrayed as a snarky, sarcastic and almost petulant at times. His song “You’ll Be Back” will be in your head for days. I still sing it in my sleep. It’s very cheeky.
In all reality, the phenomenon totally lived up to the hype! I was completely geeked out in my Hamilton t-shirt and my hard back copy of Hamilton The Revolution.
This show was absolutely amazing!!! 5 Stars!
The show runs through April 22 but has been sold out for months. Download the Hamilton app! They do a raffle of $10 dollar tickets to every show. You may want to check in with the box office at the Fabulous Fox Theatre as well. I heard they were releasing a few late tickets but I am unsure if that has happened or not.
If you scored tickets early, ENJOY!