For the past two years, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “Hamilton” has taken pop culture by storm, telling the story of an often overlooked founding father through a number of catchy rap songs. Breaking the record for the most Tony Award nominations for a single musical, “Hamilton” has been praised for bringing history to life in a way that is innovative and exciting to a young generation of Americans.
Fans who do not live in New York have previously had to remain satisfied with just listening to the cast album, but the road show of the musical has allowed fans nationwide to experience the musical in a full production. As a part of this tour, “Hamilton” has been running at Hollywood’s Pantages Theater since Aug. 11 and will continue until Dec. 30, and fans who get the opportunity to see it will not be disappointed by stellar performances from the touring cast.
Based on the biography by Ron Chernow, “Hamilton” follows the life of Alexander Hamilton, first as he fights in the Revolutionary War, and later as he serves as Secretary of State under George Washington. Along the way, his reputation is damaged, his ideas are challenged and his pride is hurt, but he constantly proves his ability to rise up and ensure that his legacy lives on for generations to come.
Reviews for the Los Angeles production have been nothing but positive, and it would be an understatement to say that I was excited to watch the show. My expectations were already sky-high, but I was completely blown away by the performance regardless.
As Hamilton, Michael Luwoye was perfect to portray the non-stop and tireless nature of his character. Broadway veteran and multiple Tony Award nominee Joshua Henry captured Aaron Burr’s underlying jealousy of Hamilton’s success through songs such as “Wait for It” and “The Room Where it Happens.”
Another memorable performance came from Jordan Donica, who was energetic and entertaining as Marquis de Lafayette in the first act, and a fitting balance of eccentric and cocky as Thomas Jefferson in the second act. In addition, Rory O’Malley, best known for originating the role of Elder McKinley in the original Broadway production of “The Book of Mormon,” was hilarious as the role of King George, perfectly encapsulating the nuttiness of his character.
Much of the strength of “Hamilton” and what truly sets it apart has been in its diversity of casting, and the tour cast is no different. Most of the lead roles are played by people of color, which serves as a good reminder of what it truly means to embody the spirit of America, especially during a time when the political climate has not favored minorities.
The most impressive part of the live production was seeing the choreography of Andy Blankenbuehler play out. While those who are familiar with the cast recording will find that the auditory elements of the show mostly parallel the album, watching Blankenbuehler’s choreography unfold on the stage was a completely new experience and a unique way of storytelling. Each movement was artfully calculated to express the mood of the scene, and the fluidity of the dancing completely enhanced the overall experience.
Getting tickets for “Hamilton” is, unfortunately, not an easy or cheap task, but if you are given the opportunity, it is definitely an experience of a lifetime. However, for those who do not have the chance to see “Hamilton” live, the cast album is available to all on iTunes, Spotify, and Youtube.
For those who have not listened to it already, I would highly recommend doing so, as it allows you to experience the magic of the story of Alexander Hamilton, and nothing compares to the flawless vocals of the original Broadway cast.