Hamilton: A Review

*This includes mild spoilers from the play Hamilton by Lin Manuel Miranda.

The curtains are drawn and a new world awaits.

In Philadelphia, the Philip cast is performing Hamilton.

The box office sells tickets the day of the show on a first come first serve basis for those willing to tempt fate.

She proved to be a gracious onlooker, favoring those with cash in hand, landing us four tickets a few rows behind the orchestra, at $35 apiece.

(Talking less and smiling more works well one might say.)

Being a self-proclaimed Hamilton enthusiast, loosely defined as being able to recal 80% of the songs’ lyrics, and having only listened to the soundtrack I was ready for my first visual Hamilton experience.

To avoid writing too many pages for any man to understand I’ll cut to the chase: the hype did not disappoint.

Overall, I was impressed by:

  • How each actor personalized their character. King George had so many hilarious mannerisms and unique deliveries that added new meaning to the songs and his character. Even side characters like Samuel Seabury became a highlight becase of a few touches of humor in the delivery and character interaction.
  • The choreography is lightning fast and very smooth. A moving stage adds another demension of spell binding magic.
  • The live music, sharp sound of the bell, clear notes of the triangle, and excellent lighting showcased fantastic cross team collaboration.
  • If you were to have put me in the shoes of the director for the dual scenes, I’m not sure I would have come up with such a creative solution as having a person act as a visual for the bullet. Nor would I have thought of the placement of the actor to get closer and closer throughout the play to Hamilton cullminating at his death.
  • The foils, contrast between characters, was delightful.
  • These actors have performed this exact play a multitiude of times. How do you avoid becoming robotic and keep a genuine and fresh delivery? I’m not sure, but somehow these actors managed to do it and in many ways proved to me that they were some of the best I’d seen.

Something I didn’t expect is how the original cast and recording served as a blessing and curse. It’s beautiful to listen to but deeply preconditions the listener to expect certain elements, cues, and phrases where if there’s a deviation it can feel like it’s “wrong” because of preconceived notions.

Because I had just recently re-read Creativity, Inc I couldn’t help but wonder if similiar to Pixars’ onsite trips to France for films like Ratatoui to get into character, if the cast had explored the historic sites in Philadelphia to gather more insight.

And how does compensation work considering not all actors are equally involved? If their work hours are in the evening do they know the best restaurants and spots around town from being able to explore?

Thankfully I was wearing a mask so no one could see me mouthing along but I simply could not help myself when “Satisfied” and “Dear Theodosia” were played.

If you love Hamilton, or consider yourself a theater buff, it’s worth the watch.

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